Tag Archives: book reveiw

Gods of jade and shadow

Book Review: Gods of Jade and Shadow, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

As fate would have it, I ended up with two copies of Silvia Moreno-Garcia‘s Gods of Jade and Shadows. I won an ARC through Goodreads initially, and then someone left a copy in the Little Free Library.
gods of jade and shadow

The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore.

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.

Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.

my review

Oh, I thought this was marvelous. And I don’t even think I realized, as I was reading it, how much I loved it. It is after all a bit on the slow side, with quite a lot of exposition. It was only in finishing it and looking back at the journey as a whole that I sighed in true contentment.

We’re given a strong, competent heroine who gets everything she wished for—if not in the way she imagined it—by doing the right thing in difficult situations. We have a villain who is recognizable and realistic. We have two gods and a whole cosmos of divinity that are inhumane but relatable. They are, after all, gods, not humans. We have a subtle romance based in the heart, not the loins. And the whole thing is steeped in shades and tones of oral history, as if this is a myth being told.

True, the sudden shift in Hun-Kame and Vucub-Kame’s attitudes at the end are jarring and hard to believe. But, as the book repeatedly reinforces, symbolism and myth-making are important. And the inner workings of gods, when influenced by the imagination of man is beyond the mundane.

And lastly, my favorite part is right at the end. I just need a chance to vocalize it because I’m having all the feel about it. But it’s a spoiler, so skip this paragraph if you haven’t read the book yet. Hun-Kame sent Casiopea a final gift, ostensibly the bag of black pearls he’d promised her. But I don’t actually think the pearls were the gift. He sent them via Loray and I think he’s the unspoken gift—a companion, someone worldly and open to usher and assist her in finding her feet in her new free world. And there is just something wonderful about that.

Found at sea

Book Review: Found at Sea, by Jaclyn Osborn

I picked up a copy of Jaclyn Osborn‘s Found at Sea (Tales of Fate #1) as a freebie on Amazon.

Kellan
They call me the demon of the sea. A pirate captain so cruel that not even death will claim me. They aren’t wrong.

Any humanity I once had is gone. I’m cursed. A curse that will someday consume me, unless I find the key to breaking it. Just when I’m beginning to lose hope, I meet an auburn-haired beauty in a tavern who captivates me like no other, and my cold heart starts to beat again.

He’s innocent. Pure. And I’m so very wicked. But I still crave him.

Fletcher
I crave adventure. Listening to sailors weave tales of their exploits makes me long to see the world as they have. But my life is ordinary. Then, pirates enter the tavern one night and press-gang me to join the crew.

I’m both afraid and excited by what awaits me aboard the legendary pirate ship. Captain Kellan Flynn is dangerous. However, he awakens a desire I’ve never felt before. The cold, hard stare he gives others softens when he looks at me.

If he’s as horrible as they say, why do I feel so drawn to him?

*Found at Sea is a fantasy romance featuring a grumpy pirate, sexy times in the captain’s cabin, and swashbuckling adventure. HEA guaranteed.*

my review

I quite enjoyed this. It wasn’t flawless. The writing gets a little jinky at times (the descriptors in the sex scenes seemed to especially make me cringe), it’s super sappy, and the plot is really predictable. Plus, there’s the disconnect between the DREADED PIRATE and the fact that the character is actually really sweet. I realize that his growth from a bad man to a good man is one of the primary plots of the book, but he kind of feels like he starts as a good man. So, I never really believed him as this blood-thirsty, horrible, feared pirate.

Having said all that, I just enjoyed reading the story. I liked the characters. I liked the platonic friendships and that there were straight, bi, and gay characters. I’m curious enough to see what happens to Alek to seek out the next book. And doesn’t that really say more than anything else? I’m ready for more.