#BlackFridaySale Subject A36 (The Colony #1) $/£0.99 #YA #scifi #dystopian

If you’re shopping for Black Friday deals, take this opportunity to snatch up Subject A36 for only $0.99 US or £0.99 UK!

Amazon US

Amazon UK

As an added bonus, you can go to my publisher’s website HERE and use promo code TURKEY35 to get 35% off any currently released Black Rose Writing title. Happy Shopping!

If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it?

Residents of the Colony would. And do.

Only the Insurgents can stop them.

Seventeen-year-old Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies.

He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to.

Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war.

Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him.

The Luminaries (The Luminaries #1) by Susan Dennard #bookreview #YA #darkfantasy

Hemlock Falls isn’t like other towns. You won’t find it on a map, your phone won’t work here, and the forest outside town might just kill you.

Winnie Wednesday wants nothing more than to join the Luminaries, the ancient order that protects Winnie’s town—and the rest of humanity—from the monsters and nightmares that rise in the forest of Hemlock Falls every night.

Ever since her father was exposed as a witch and a traitor, Winnie and her family have been shunned. But on her sixteenth birthday, she can take the deadly Luminary hunter trials and prove herself true and loyal—and restore her family’s good name. Or die trying.

But in order to survive, Winnie enlists the help of the one person who can help her train: Jay Friday, resident bad boy and Winnie’s ex-best friend. While Jay might be the most promising new hunter in Hemlock Falls, he also seems to know more about the nightmares of the forest than he should. Together, he and Winnie will discover a danger lurking in the forest no one in Hemlock Falls is prepared for.

Not all monsters can be slain, and not all nightmares are confined to the dark.

I tried this author’s Witchland series, but it just wasn’t for me. But this book? I couldn’t wait for its release. Everything about its description called my name.

Although set in the modern world, Hemlock Falls is kind of its own world. They’re a pretty closed society, and outsiders have to be vetted before their admittance. Why? Because the town is protected by Luminaries (hunters) from the monsters and nightmares that rise in the forest every night. You’ve got your garden variety creatures (basilisks, werewolves, kelpies) plus others the author created. It’s a highly dangerous job, and not everyone makes it to retirement. Winnie comes from a long line of hunters and has wanted to continue the tradition as long as she can remember. After it’s discovered her father is a traitor, Winnie, her mother, and brother are shunned and lose their standing in the community for ten years. Winnie thinks her dream is lost until she finds a loophole that allows her to still compete in the Luminary hunter trials. All she wants is acceptance for her family and for things to be the way they were.

Winnie is such an easy character to root for. She’s plucky, brave, and family is her top priority. She’s determined to show everyone they aren’t responsible for her father’s mistakes. Luckily, she has the support of a few friends who stuck by her over the past few years, unlike Jay, her former best friend and now one of the society’s best hunters. Jay piqued my curiosity. There’s something going on there, and he’s definitely holding onto secrets. I’m anxious to learn more about him in the next book.

Besides Jay’s secrets, something’s also afoot in the forest – something that has even the regular monsters running. Winnie saw it (she’s still not sure exactly what it is), but no one believes her, and town leaders reassure the citizens that everything’s under control. It’s not.

I loved the author’s note about the origin of this story – it began as a choose your own adventure Twitter serial. How cool is that? Dark fantasy is one of my preferred genres, and my head was buried in this book from beginning to end. I was annoyed when I had to put it down. I’m anxious to learn the secrets this forest and a certain character are hiding, so the second book can’t get here soon enough.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove by Rati Mehrotra #bookreview #YA #fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

To learn what she can become, she must first discover who she is.

Katyani’s role in the kingdom of Chandela has always been clear: becoming an advisor and protector of the crown prince, Ayan, when he ascends to the throne. Bound to the Queen of Chandela through a forbidden soul bond that saved her when she was a child, Katyani has grown up in the royal family and become the best guardswoman the Garuda has ever seen. But when a series of assassination attempts threatens the royals, Katyani is shipped off to the gurukul of the famous Acharya Mahavir as an escort to Ayan and his cousin, Bhairav, to protect them as they hone the skills needed to be the next leaders of the kingdom. Nothing could annoy Katyani more than being stuck in a monastic school in the middle of a forest, except her run-ins with Daksh, the Acharya’s son, who can’t stop going on about the rules and whose gaze makes her feel like he can see into her soul.

But when Katyani and the princes are hurriedly summoned back to Chandela before their training is complete, tragedy strikes and Katyani is torn from the only life she has ever known. Alone and betrayed in a land infested by monsters, Katyani must find answers from her past to save all she loves and forge her own destiny. Bonds can be broken, but debts must be repaid.

It didn’t take me long to fall into this book and its incredible world-building. After the first few pages, I couldn’t read fast enough.

Orphaned Katyani nearly dies as a child, but is saved by the queen’s magic. Consequently, a forbidden soul bond develops between them, and Katya, now a strong guardsman, acts as the queen’s bodyguard. But she’s also a part of royal family and grows up considering the crown prince and his two cousins her siblings. As a fan of the found family trope, I loved this aspect. When a horrible tragedy strikes, everything Katya holds dear is ripped from her, and she’s betrayed in the worst way. I wanted to scream with her at the unjustness of her situation.

With forests filled with monsters and spirits, strong magic, and a medieval India setting, the world-building is immersive and complex. Seriously, the author should get a gold star for creating this world. The action scenes are well-choreographed and easy to picture as they play out. And did I mention the tension during these scenes? I gasped out loud more than once. The way Katya teases a serious-minded and stoic Daksh made me laugh – I enjoyed seeing his emotionless mask drop occasionally. They share a romantic relationship, but more importantly the two of them support each other when it’s needed most.

Shocking deaths, political schemes, and a quest for vindication make this a captivating read. I also like that it’s a standalone, but I certainly wouldn’t mind spending more time with these characters in this world. Highly recommend to fantasy fans.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

School Visit, DNA, and Thanksgiving

Back in August, a librarian at a local high school asked if I’d visit her class, and I immediately accepted. They were working on a unit dealing with fear and what makes a nightmare, and she asked if I’d discusss my books and writing process. The visit was scheduled for the week before Halloween – a perfect time to discuss fear and nightmares. The problem? It’s been several years since I’ve done any kind of public speaking – more like a couple decades when I did HR training at a hospital – so saying I was nervous is an understatement. But I told myself it was a group of teenagers, and I’d be discussing books. Honestly, I could talk to just about anyone when it comes to books. Several days before the visit, I began working on my presentation. I emailed the teacher and asked about the number of students – thinking I might take some bookmarks to hand out – and figured the number would be somewhere around thirty. Wrong. Two hundred fifty-six. The whole sophomore class. I wish I’d had a picture of my face when I read that email – no doubt it was a look of sheer terror.

I prepped and prepped that week – then threw out 80% of my presentation and started over the day before the visit. But guess what – the dread of speaking to that many people was worse than actually doing it. Since we were talking about fear, I confessed up front how nervous I was speaking to them. Afterwards, four students who were genuinely interested in writing came up and asked me questions. I was thrilled to speak to them one on one about books and writing. It turned into a fun day, and I’m glad I set aside my fear of public speaking and did it.

A couple months ago, I mentioned Son #2 and I did the Ancestry DNA test and promised to update you. Our results came in, and some were pretty surprising. Fifty percent of mine was England and Northwestern Europe, which I’d expected, but 28% was Scottish. Didn’t see that one coming. My son’s showed both of those, but the surprise was the 26% Sweden and Denmark that came from hubby’s side. He had no idea. My MIL has claimed for years there was Italian on her side, but it sure didn’t show up in the DNA. I know over time these percentages can change, but we had fun doing this. If you’d like to try it, Ancestry regularly has the kits on sale.

We’ll have both sons and a couple friends who we consider family here for Thanksgiving on Thursday. Hubby always fries a turkey – if you’ve never tried it, I strongly recommend correcting that oversight ASAP. To all my American friends, hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

She’s Gone by David Bell #bookreview #YA #thriller

When a girl disappears, who do you suspect?

When 17-year-old Hunter Gifford wakes in the hospital on the night of homecoming, he’s shocked to learn he and his girlfriend, Chloe Summers, have been in a terrible car accident. Hunter has no memory of the crash, and his shock turns to horror when he is told Chloe’s blood has been found in the car―but she has disappeared.

Back at school, his fellow students taunt him, and his former best friend starts making a true-crime documentary about the case―one that points the finger directly at Hunter. And just when things can’t get any worse, Chloe’s mother stands in front of the entire town at a candlelight vigil and accuses Hunter of murder.

Under mounting pressure from the police, Hunter takes matters into his own hands by questioning anyone who might know the truth and posting videos to prove his innocence. When Hunter learns he and Chloe were seen arguing loudly outside the dance, he faces a sickening possibility. Was he angry enough to kill the person he loved?

I’ve read several of Bell’s adult novels and was anxious to read his young adult debut. I’m hoping this won’t be his last novel in this genre.

My heart immediately went out to Hunter. After learning he and his girlfriend were in a horrible car accident, she’s now missing, most of the night is a blank, and there’s no shortage of people who blame him for her disappearance. I was so frustrated when the detective repeatedly told him to confess, tell the truth, and they’d go easier on him. Besides handling the grief and devastation over Chloe’s disappearance, he’s taunted at school by fellow students, and then called out by Chloe’s mother at a candlelight vigil. Fortunately, he has the support of a few friends, his father, and his powerhouse of a sister, Livvy. She’s willing to take on anyone who says a negative word about her brother – and even punches a lacrosse player in the face in defense of Hunter. Hunter makes some questionable decisions during the story, but rational thought goes out the window in his desperation to find his girlfriend.

I felt pretty confident I knew who was behind Chloe’s disappearance, and I was partly correct. But then there’s an added twist that caught me by surprise. The plot moves along at a brisk pace, and the short chapters made it easy for me to say “just one more” – and then a couple hours had passed.

If you’re a fan of thrillers, mystery, suspense, or true crime, She’s Gone will keep you turning the pages long after you should have been sleeping.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Witch Hunt (The Witch Haven #2) by Sasha Peyton Smith #bookreview #YA #fantasy

The lush and pulse-pounding sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Witch Haven follows Frances and her fellow witches to the streets of Paris where family secrets, lost loves, and dangerous magic await.

Months after the devastating battle between the Sons of St. Druon and the witches of Haxahaven, Frances has built a quiet, safe life for herself, teaching young witches and tending the garden within the walls of Haxahaven Academy. But one thing nags; her magic has begun to act strangely. When an opportunity to visit Paris arises, Frances jumps at the chance to go, longing for adventure and seeking answers about her own power.

Once she and her classmates Maxine and Lena reach the vibrant streets of France, Frances learns that the spell she used to speak to her dead brother has had terrible consequences—the veil between the living and the dead has been torn by her recklessness, and a group of magicians are using the rift for their own gain at a horrifying cost.

To right this wrong, and save lives and her own magical powers, Frances must hunt down answers in the parlors of Parisian secret societies, the halls of the Louvre, and the tunnels of the catacombs. Her only choice is to team up with the person she swore she’d never trust again, risking further betrayal and her own life in the process. 

It’s not often that I like a sequel better than the first book, but it happened with The Witch Hunt.

I wasn’t crazy about main character Frances in The Witch Haven. She seemed to have no problem asking others to take risks without considering the consequences for them. In this followup, months have passed, Frances has matured, and now she’s worried more about her friends than herself. When her magic begins acting strangely, Frances is naturally very concerned – especially since she teaches at a school for witches. When an opportunity to visit Paris presents itself, she jumps at the chance. Besides finding a solution to the problems with her powers, she has a more personal reason for the journey.

The strong friendship between Frances, Lena, and Maxine was one of my favorite things about the first novel, and it continues to top the list with this sequel. Maxine stole my heart with her snarky comments. Oliver, Frances’s boyfriend, has been attending school in Paris, so she’s also excited to be reunited with him. And he’s such a sweetie – totally supportive of Frances in every way.

It’s no secret that Finn is reintroduced. He betrayed Frances in a horrible way, but still believes they’ll be together and he can persuade her to forgive him. Honestly, he had some pretty good moments, and it wouldn’t be the first time a “villain” redeems himself. Turns out the spell Finn and Frances cast to talk to her dead brother in the prior book had some serious repercussions. The veil between the living and the dead is open, strange things are afoot, and power-hungry people are taking advantage of it. Someone has to close the veil, and it’s not going to be easy – or accomplished without a few dead bodies along the way.

I really enjoyed the 1913 Paris setting – I love this time period, and the high stakes kept me flipping the pages. Although some reviewers aren’t happy with the ending, it felt right to me. But I admit to thinking about it a couple days before I decided.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

After Dark with Roxie Clark by Brooke Lauren Davis #bookreview #mystery #ghosts

From the author of The Hollow Inside comes a twisty, thought-provoking YA thriller about grief, family, and what happens when true crime hits a little too close to home.

Roxie Clark has seen more dead bodies than your average seventeen-year-old. As a member of the supposedly-cursed Clark family, most of her ancestors have met tragic ends, including her own mother. Instead of fearing the curse, however, Roxie has combined her flair for performance and her gruesome family history into a successful ghost tour. But her tour never covers the most recent body she’s seen-her sister Skylar’s boyfriend, Colin Riley, found murdered in a cornfield.

A year after the murder, Roxie’s desperate to help Skylar find closure and start to heal. Instead, Skylar becomes fixated on finding the killer. As the sisters dig into what really happened, they discover that more than one person has been lying about that night. And the closer they get to the truth, the more Roxie starts to wonder if some scary stories might be better left untold. Brooke Lauren Davis offers another thought-provoking and eerily satisfying tale, perfect for fans of Kara Thomas and Cruel Summer.

A teen who turns her gruesome family history into a ghost tour? As someone who’s been on several, I couldn’t get my hands on this book fast enough.

With her love of all things spooky and creepy (the girl has a real talent for decorations), Roxie immediately captured my heart. The women in the Clark family seem to be cursed (it goes back for generations) and have met untimely and sometimes brutal demises. As a history lover, Roxie does her research and turns these stories into a popular ghost tour. Maybe she occasionally embellishes a tad, but it only adds to the intrigue. She has a tough outer shell, but I loved how her vulnerabilities are gradually revealed, which only makes it easier to relate to her character.

Roxie’s best friend Travis is also a bit of an outcast – his personality isn’t exactly the warm and fuzzy kind. His brother Riley was the boyfriend of Roxie’s sister, Skylar, and Riley was found brutally murdered a year ago. Roxie has tried being supportive, but she and Skylar are polar opposites and see the world in completely different ways. As a result, their relationship is all kinds of messy and can alternate between loving and combative in the blink of an eye. Skylar is withdrawn and still grieving, but an unexpected discovery inspires her to launch her own investigation into Riley’s death. And it soon reveals wave after wave of secrets and surprises. Even though most of the clues were right in front of me, the mystery kept me guessing. I even yelled at the book at one point because I didn’t want to believe a revelation, and I plowed through it in less than two days.

Charmingly campy at times, occasionally amusing, and heavily atmospheric, this was a perfect Halloween read. I’d take Roxie’s ghost tour anytime.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Jackal by Erin E. Adams and The Sacrifice by Rin Chupeco #bookreview #suspense #horror #TuesdayBookBlog

I’m still catching up on posting book reviews after Bad Moon Rising, so today I have a double feature that should please the horror fans out there (looking at you, Priscilla).

A young Black girl goes missing in the woods outside her white Rust Belt town. But she’s not the first—and she may not be the last. . . .

It’s watching.

Liz Rocher is coming home . . . reluctantly. As a Black woman, Liz doesn’t exactly have fond memories of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a predominantly white town. But her best friend is getting married, so she braces herself for a weekend of awkward and passive-aggressive reunions. Liz has grown, though; she can handle whatever awaits her. But on the day of the wedding, somewhere between dancing and dessert, the bride’s daughter, Caroline, goes missing—and the only thing left behind is a piece of white fabric covered in blood.

It’s taking.

As a frantic search begins, with the police combing the trees for Caroline, Liz is the only one who notices a pattern: a summer night. A missing girl. A party in the woods. She’s seen this before. Keisha Woodson, the only other Black girl in school, walked into the woods with a mysterious man and was later found with her chest cavity ripped open and her heart missing. Liz shudders at the thought that it could have been her, and now, with Caroline missing, it can’t be a coincidence. As Liz starts to dig through the town’s history, she uncovers a horrifying secret about the place she once called home. Children have been going missing in these woods for years. All of them Black. All of them girls.

It’s your turn.

With the evil in the forest creeping closer, Liz knows what she must do: find Caroline, or be entirely consumed by the darkness.

Liz bid good riddance to her small hometown several years ago, moved to NYC, and never looked back. Now several years later, she and her fiance have recently split up, and she’s returning home to be a bridesmaid in best friend Mel’s wedding. Let’s just say Liz isn’t looking forward to the visit and plans to stay only a couple days. The relationship with her mother is strained at times, especially when she mentions Liz’s weight gain and presses her to talk about the breakup – she blames Liz. The nightmare begins at the wedding reception when Mel’s daughter/Liz’s goddaughter goes missing while Liz was supposed to be watching her.

It gets off to a slow start, but initially the story presents as a mystery – who took Caroline? Soon it’s revealed that for years young Black girls have gone missing at the same time every year. But every death has been declared an accident, runaway, troubled youth, etc. It was maddening that no one noticed the pattern even when the missing girls’ families complained and pleaded with law enforcement to do more. Small town racism is alive and well in Johnstown. And then it’s not just a missing persons story – something evil is behind the abductions.

Early on I honestly thought I’d pegged the culprit and decided I’d be pretty disappointed if it was that easy. I was wrong, but my suspicions continued until almost the end. The first part of the novel captivated me and made putting down the book nearly impossible, but the last twenty percent confused me at certain points. I wasn’t sure what was real, but I won’t go into it for spoilery reasons.

Judging by other reviews, readers either give Jackal enthusiastic thumbs up or a meh. The ending didn’t work as well for me, but the mystery itself is compelling. Be warned – you may never go into the woods again after reading this novel.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

An island oasis turns deadly when a terrifying legend threatens to kill off visitors one by one in this haunting novel from the highly acclaimed author of The Girl from the Well and the Bone Witch trilogy.

Pristine beaches, lush greenery, and perfect weather, the island of Kisapmata would be the vacation destination…if not for the curse. The Philippine locals speak of it in hushed voices and refuse to step foot on the island. They know the lives it has claimed. They won’t be next.

A Hollywood film crew won’t be dissuaded. Legend claims a Dreamer god sleeps, waiting to grant unimaginable powers in exchange for eight sacrifices. The producers are determined to document the evidence. And they convince Alon, a local teen, to be their guide.

Within minutes of their arrival, a giant sinkhole appears, revealing a giant balete tree with a mummified corpse entwined in its gnarled branches. And the crew start seeing strange visions. Alon knows they are falling victim to the island’s curse. If Alon can’t convince them to leave, there is no telling who will survive. Or how much the Dreamer god will destroy…

I’ve read other hair-raising horror novels by Chupeco, so I knew I was in for another chilling read with The Sacrifice.

Don’t let this beautiful island setting fool you. It’s an alluring disguise for the dangers that await these characters. The island reminded me a bit of the TV series Lost with its mysterious happenings, disembodied voices, and unsettling visions, all of which delighted me. Five lives have been claimed here, and folklore says three more deaths will follow. When a Hollywood film crew arrives, most of them hold no respect for local legends and beliefs, and the Phillipine locals refuse to talk to them. Only Alon agrees to work with them, mostly for their own protection.

Bizarre happenings occur almost immediately, and although it slows in some spots, pacing is pretty even. Once the bodies start dropping, you may wonder why the crew didn’t leave the island. It’s not that simple – the island keeps a firm grip on them. The setting isn’t the only culprit. Ambitious Hollywood execs who believe they hold the power soon find they’ve grossly miscalculated. I always love when Karma plays a part.

If you’re in the mood for macabre imagery, a cursed island, and tension-filled scenes, The Sacrifice nicely checks all those boxes.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Yallfest and #AmWatching

Happy Monday! With Bad Moon Rising, it’s been more than a minute since we’ve caught up. So let’s get started.

This past Friday and Saturday, a friend and I attended Yallfest in Charleston, SC. We really lucked out with the weather considering they caught remnants of Nicole – the rain held off (other than a few sprinkles) Friday, and Saturday was beautiful. I’d hoped to get five books signed, but settled for four. Maggie Stiefvater’s line went on for days, and if I’d waited I’d have missed three other authors. I met her at another bookfest in Nashville several years ago and got a signed copy then, so I figured it was a fair tradeoff. She was only scheduled to sign for one hour, but she stayed until she had to leave for a panel and wound up signing for over two hours (her poor hands). Since I skipped her line, I got signed books from TJ Klune (an absolute delight – he loves talking to readers), Gina Chen (her morally ambiguous main characters made me ridicuously happy), and Neal Shusterman (his Arc of a Scythe series blew me away). On Friday I got a signed copy of Children of Ragnarok by Cinda Williams Chima. We attended a couple of the same writing retreats before the pandemic, and it was nice to see her again.

I left mid seventies weather to come home (a 6:20 am flight) to below freezing temps in KY on Sunday. Hubby was also out of town, so no one was there to turn on the heat – the house was fifty degrees. Brrr! I turned on both the heat and the gas fireplace, and Bond immediately curled up under a blanket with me.

Who’s watching Interview with the Vampire? I was ecstatic when I learned AMC was making a series and was so nervous about the casting. I shouldn’t have been. Sam Reid (where’s this guy been hiding?) and Jacob Anderson (loved him in Game of Thrones) have mesmerized me, and the adaptation is outstanding.

The Empress of Time (The Keeper of Night #2) by Kylie Lee Baker #bookreview #YA #fantasy

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami Ren Scarborough is no longer the girl who was chased out of England—she is the Goddess of Death ruling Japan’s underworld. But her problems have never been greater. Her Shinigami see her as a foreigner on the throne. Her brother, Neven, is gone, lost in the deep darkness. And her fiancé, Hiro, has been killed by her own hand.

Then Ren receives the most troubling news yet—Reapers have been spotted in Japan, and it’s only a matter of time before Ivy, now Britain’s Death Goddess, comes to claim her revenge.

Ren’s last hope is to appeal to the god of storms and seas, who can turn the tides to send Ivy’s ship away from Japan’s shores. But he’ll help Ren only if she finds a sword lost thousands of years ago—an impossible demand.

Together with the moon god Tsukuyomi, who shares an uncanny resemblance to his brother Hiro, Ren ventures across the country in a race against time. As her journey thrusts her into the middle of scheming gods and dangerous Yokai demons, Ren will have to learn who she can truly trust—and the fate of Japan hangs in the balance.

With it’s dark storyline and morally gray main character, I became an instant fan of the first book in this duology. The shocking ending left me anxious to see what the future held for these characters.

This sequel begins ten years after the first book, and I admit the time gap surprised me. Ren is now the Goddess of Death, a position you’d think comes with a healthy dose of authority and fear – not so in this case. Ren’s history includes being abandoned by her father, rejected by her British peers, and bullied by her fellow reapers, and now even her own Shinigami don’t respect her. She finally has the power of a goddess and still has to constantly prove herself. When she learns that an old nemesis/bully, who is now in a position of power, is coming to claim her revenge, Ren knows allies are needed if she hopes to survive. Her journey to find them turns into a quest, and I easily fell into this immersive story filled with Japanese mythology.

With the Goddess of Death as a main character your expectations of this novel should surely include death. And there’s quite a bit of it that’s bloody, brutal, and gory – but it’s not done for shock value. It goes along with this harsh world and all the challenges Ren faces. She encounters other powerful gods and goddesses in her quest, and also deals with an unexpected traitor that surprised me. Moon God Tsukuyomi is a welcome addition to the story and quickly became one of my favorite characters. The Empress of Time is a solid conclusion to this dark, gritty duology, and I enjoyed every page.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.