Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Title: Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adyemi
Age Level: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Part of a Series?: This is a debut novel, but it has a subtitle of “The Orisha Legacy”, so I am guessing it is meant to be the first in a series

*I was provided an electronic copy of the first six chapters of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:
This novel features a strong-willed heroine in a world where magic used to exist but disappeared. Non-magic users have great fear and hatred of the should-be-magic users (diviners). As a result, the non-magic users have created a society where diviners are less than human. The racial tensions and hatred in the first six chapters are clear, well-done, and very appropriate for our current world climate. The magic aspects of the book are mentioned in passing and appear to be diverse, but have not really been a part of the preview file I received.

Overall Impressions:
The tension in this book is well-done. The book starts out with a bang and keeps rolling at a steady clip for the entire length of this preview. I most definitely hope to read the rest of this book at some point.

The Nitty Gritty:
The characters in this book are magnetic and emotional: all of the main characters and many of the supporting characters (as best as I can guess based on six chapters, anyway) elicited visceral reactions from me. I was rooting for them, mentally jeering at their actions, or mourning for the way racism was impacting their lives. I am eager to find out how their personalities and lives develop over the course of however long the author writes this world.

The one concern I have–and it may be fixed by being able to read the entire book–is the ambiguity of the visual details. There are several creatures mentioned, all evidently large, but I was unable to clearly understand how big they were in relation to each other. Even when they were given a size reference–trees–there was no frame of reference for how big the trees were. There was enough there that I had a sense of it being a rich, full world in the author’s mind, but not quiet enough for me to feel as if I were actually seeing it.

Special Parenting Concerns:
The themes of this book–racism and hatred–are heavy and dark. It is important for parents to be aware of this. The first six chapters handled it well, and I believe that if the rest of the book maintains this tone and skill in handling it, this book could provide excellent opportunities for dialogue on these topics. Each parent is the best judge of their children, but for the most part, as long as parents are aware and ready to discuss these issues with their children, this is an excellent approach to the topics. In fact, it could be a great book for parents and children to read together.

You Will Like This If…:

  • You like books featuring magic
  • You want an accessible and approachable way to explore, learn about, and expand your thinking on racism

My Rating: 4 Stars

I am giving this “only” 4 stars because it is only a partial review; I don’t know exactly how the plot will work out or which of the book’s drawbacks will get straightened out. If nothing changed, however, the book would receive 4 stars. It’s exciting, fast-moving, and emotional. And that’s just in the first six chapters. I even found myself entangled with multiple characters, including ones I am guessing are going to have a smaller role in the overall novel. Some of the language felt “purposefully elevated”, rather than natural, as if the author were trying to enhance the historical feel of the world. But then some of the language also produced goose-bumps. This is certainly a book I hope to finish and, I am fairly certain the chances are high that my rating would go up once I have the entire book to read.

*this partial book review is also posted on Goodreads and NetGalley

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Blood Promise by Danielle Rose

Title: Blood Promise
Author: Danielle Rose
Age Level: New Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Part of a Series?: Yes (the Blood Books series, Book Three)

*I was provided an electronic copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:
In this final installment of the Blood Books series, Avah Taylor is faced with having to fight for the life she never wanted in the first place. As she works to defend her new reality, she will travel around the world and, eventually come full circle to once again face the question of what makes a family a family and whether destiny is indeed an immovable force.

Overall Impressions:
As has become the pattern for Ms. Rose, this was a fast-paced, quick read that I didn’t want to put down once I started. More than that, it is one of the most satisfying end caps to a trilogy I have ever read: closure and potential for more were both present and well-balanced. Something I have rarely seen in a series.

The Nitty Gritty:
This will probably be one of my shortest, least specific reviews. As the conclusion of a series, there isn’t much I could quote for you as a potential reader that wouldn’t give some aspect of the plot of this book away. And while there were many, many sentences and scenes I would love to quote, discuss, and entice you with, I am not willing to take away the joy of surprise and discovery that comes with reading this book “blindly”.

That said, I will point out several positive aspects of the book: character development and growth (both as individual characters and in regards to relationships between characters) continued depending and growing. Plot moved forward with questions answered and new mysteries revealed. The reality of the world Ms. Rose has created expanded to encompass locations such as Russia and England, showing that she has truly created an entire world for this series, not just a small section of the world. The very few new characters introduced were multi-dimensional, catchy, and added to the novel on more than one level. And there was some truly beautiful, heart-touching, soul-touching lines and imagery in this book.

Special Parenting Concerns:
Sex Scenes: This book has more sex and intimacy in it than either of the previous two books, but considering the fact that the characters are facing life and death situations this entire book, it makes sense that they would be holding onto every moment they can have together.

Violence: This book’s plot centers around the culmination of a war between witches and vampires. Fighting, blood, and death occur more than once in this book. The difference in this book, however, is that they tend to be more isolated to single moments in time for the characters (rather than long stretches of fights), while being more long-lasting in impact (more life-changing, in other words).

Language: No (or very, very little) swearing.

Book Club Chatter:
For this book, I would probably focus on how it works as an end to the trilogy, looking at things like over-all character arcs, what the characters may have learned about family, racism, destiny, etc. The end of the book also raises the questions of duty and expectations  against the desire to live and enjoy life. Should a person do what is expected of them, even at the expense of time with family and friends, should you focus on family and friends, or is there a way to balance the two (and what does that look like)?

You Will Like This If…:

  • You liked Blood Rose and Blood Magic (at this point, if you have read the first two, reading Blood Promise is quite close to a necessity of life! 😉 )
  • You like Twilight, Chosen, or Blue Bloods
  • Authors such as Marjorie Liu and Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • Books that blend more than one genre: this is a paranormal action romance, blending vampires AND witches, action AND romance.
  • As a New Adult novel, this book could appeal to those who love Young Adult, New Adult, and traditional Paranormal Romances

Goodreads’s Rating: 4.94 Stars (18 Ratings)
Amazon’s Rating: 4.9 Stars (11 Reviews)
My Rating: 5 Stars

Exciting, fast-moving, and emotional. I could have used a bit more tension and breath-holding in the climax (the pace kept it from being as uncertain as I would have liked, personally), but the racing heart was certainly well-done and still satisfying. There was a beautiful ending to the story. Very satisfying. I’d be happy to see more, but I feel enough closure I am not mad there won’t be. Until/unless Ms. Rose changes her mind, at which point I will happily snatch up any other books in this series or even “just” this universe.

*this book review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

My other reviews of Ms. Rose’s work:
Blood Rose (Blood Books book 1)
Blood Magic (Blood Books book 2)
Daemon Academy (Short Story)

Blood Magic by Danielle Rose

Title: Blood Magic
Author: Danielle Rose
Age Level: New Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Part of a Series?: Yes (the Blood Books series, Book Two)

*I was provided an advanced reading copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:
Avah Taylor thought she had already faced the worst: as her coven’s chosen one, destined to receive a power that could kill her, she was forced to make the ultimate sacrifice when she gave up her mortal life to become a vampire, the witches’ greatest enemy. But just when she begins to adjust to her new life, even as she falls in love with her sire, the high priestess of her new coven is seized by Rogue vampires.

Guided by Avah’s visions of the past, present, and future, Avah and the other vampires set out to rescue their priestess, but their journey leads Avah to the discovery that the conspiracy behind her power runs deeper than she ever imagined, a secret that forces her to reconsider, once again, who she can trust.

With her abilities as both witch and vampire, Avah may be the only one who can locate her coven’s high priestess. But as her visions grow increasingly terrifying, and her life is threatened by both enemies and those she once loved most, Avah begins to wonder if she may not have a future at all.

Overall Impressions:
As with the previous book, Blood Rose (which I reviewed here), once I cracked open Blood Magic, I didn’t want to stop until I had reached the end. It was exciting, fast paced, and did a great job of moving the story forward.

The Nitty Gritty:
Blood Magic is the second book in Danielle Rose’s Blood Books series. One of my special concerns when reading a series is how it ties in with the previous book or books. Blood Magic does an excellent job dealing with both the previous readers and the possibility of new readers starting with Blood Magic instead of Blood Rose: the world is reestablished in one of two precisely written paragraphs, and then the action moves forward in a quick and fulfilling manner. As a returning reader I was neither bored by the recap nor made to wait long for new material. Ms. Rose struck an excellent balance.

And how was that new material? The short version is that it was entertaining and emotional. While there was a good variety of up and down beats, it was primarily a heart-pounding adventure akin to a super hero movie. The action started on page two and never really stopped. Even the pauses were page-turning pacing. My eyes widened, my pulse raced, I laughed out loud, there were events that surprised me, and I cried both happy and sad tears.

As for the new material, I was pleased to find that it added tension to the existing storyline, developed character, and added more depth to the world Ms. Rose has created for this series. It was skillfully done; everything in this book did double-duty.

Special Parenting Concerns:
Sex Scenes: Avah is a bit older (in life experiences, anyway) in this book, and her relationship has moved into a phase of deeper connection. This has (very naturally) led to more exploration of the sexual side of her relationship. Consequently, there are two sex scenes (rather than the one in Blood Rose) and they are more detailed than they were in the first book as well.

Violence: This book’s plot centers around a war between witches and vampires. There are vampires of varying degrees of violence. Fighting, blood, and death occur more than once in this book. However, there is never violence just for violence’s sake, nor is there a great deal of detail put in to the gore. The coven Avah belongs to does not hunt for their blood. Instead, they get their blood from willing donors via blood bag. However, there are special circumstances in this book that result in facing the need to get blood from other sources.

Language: No (or very, very little) swearing.

Book Club Chatter:
This book can open the door for a variety of discussions between parents and their high school and older children (or your book club!):

  1. This book does a good job of really highlighting how things such as racism, sexism, sexuality, etc (differences between people, in other words), can separate us–and how needless that separation is. What differences are in your life (or your child’s life) that have caused anger, distrust, or other negative emotions to reign? Why did this happen? How can we get around these differences, working with them and working to understand them rather than allowing them to separate us?
  2. What is courage? Is it the absence of fear or facing it? What are good ways to deal with fears?
  3. With two books (of three) read, it is possible to begin looking for foreshadowing and making hypotheses about what will happen in the third book.
  4. Now that you know them better, which characters are you favorite? Who do you identify with? Why do you like him/her/them?
  5. Pick a favorite scene or two and discuss: a) how you would have handled it if you where a character, b) what writing elements cause this scene to really sing for you, c) what you wish had been differently–and how you think that would impact the remainder of the story.

You Will Like This If…:

  • You liked Blood Rose (although that may be a little obvious 😉 )
  • You like Twilight, Chosen, or Blue Bloods
  • Authors such as Marjorie Liu and Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • Books that blend more than one genre: this is a paranormal action romance, blending vampires AND witches, action AND romance.
  • As a New Adult novel, this book could appeal to those who love Young Adult, New Adult, and traditional Paranormal Romances

Goodreads’s Rating: 4.56 Stars (34 Ratings)
Amazon’s Rating: 4.6 Stars (24 Ratings)
My Rating: 5 Stars

It is an exciting book and I am glad to have a copy of it; I am confident I will read it again in the future. I do wish that there had been more development in the character relationships–I feel a bit too much of it was done off-stage, in the short amount of time that occurred between books–but this is minor. To have spent more time in this arena would, I think, have drastically slowed down the pace of the book. And that is not something I am sure would have improved the story or experience overall.  The bottom line: I can’t wait to read the next one and am very grateful that it released on June 28th!

*this book review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

My other reviews of Ms. Rose’s work:
Blood Rose (Blood Books book 1)
Daemon Academy (Short Story)