Book Review: The Tangleroot Palace: Stories by Marjorie M. Liu

The Tangleroot Palace: Stories by Marjorie M. Lui is the authors debut story collection that includes six previously released stories and one new novella that has dangerous magic and even more dangerous women. That tag line was what got me interested in this collection as the only other thing that I’ve read by Marjorie Liu is the Monstress graphic novel series. However, this collection is also about hope and making your own destiny. Each story made me fall in love with the characters and world and though I would love more each story had a satisfyingly ending. I received a review copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The stories included are:

Sympathy for the Bones which focuses on a young woman Martha who works for the old witch in town that uses bone magic to hurt people and grant others wishes. Martha can’t escape because the witch owns her soul but she finds a way to make her own way in life though that freedom does cost her. This is a very creepy story that sucked me in and made me keep reading.

The Briar and The Rose is a take on Sleeping Beauty but in this world the witch has taken over the body of a young woman name Rose. The witch has a Duelist in her service who finds out what the witch has done, meets and falls in love with Rose. The story is about their love and women saving each other.

Call Her Savage is a Chinese inspired steampunk story where the main character Xing, who is considered a hero though she doesn’t want to be any more, ends up fighting an old friend to try and stop the march of war. This story throws you into the action but gives you just enough world building to understand the setting and the stakes for the characters. I would love there to be more stories in this world but the ending felt right.

The Last Dignity of Man the follows a rich man named Alexander Lutheran who in many way emulates Lex Luthor from the Superman comics as he believes that maybe if theirs a supervillain a superhero has to come out to save the day. However, its clear that Alexander knows that its not real he also knows that if he’s the one ding these not great things he might be able to stop someone worse. Though that’s the main plot of the story its more about loneliness and hope that there is love out there for everyone.

Where the Heart Lives is the most fairytale like of all these stories. We follow Lucy who is sent to work for Miss Lindsay who maintains a property in the woods where many people come to bury their loved ones. However, the forest is inhabited by “ghost” that try to steal other way. It turns out that its the fairy queen of the forest that takes them. The story itself is mostly about heart break and how love and family make people vulnerable and stronger. This story is also an early prequel to the Dirk & Steele paranormal romance series but you don’t need to know anything about the series to read this story.

After the Blood is about a world where plague has killed off most of the world and forest grew up around the old cities but are not natural as magic is involved though many don’t want to believe it. The communities that have survived are mostly the Amish and those who grew up around them. In this world some people have been turned into vampires and zombie like creatures attack the settlements. The story follows Amanda who due to the nature of her blood can use it to protect land and building from these creatures. After her friend Steven is found out to be a vampire they save what is left of his family and decided that they end to move from this settlement. This is a possible future for the Dirk & Steele series but again you don’t need to know anything about the series to read and understand this story.

Tangleroot Palace is the new novella for this collection. We follow Sally who is a princess about to be forced to marry a fearsome warlord to help protect her fathers kingdom. She doesn’t want to marry and goes on a journey to find answers in the Tangleroot Forest and is full of magic and can trap people. Along the way she meets a traveling band of performers led by Mickel Thorn and Sally realizes that she is starting to fall in love with Mickel but still wants to find her answers. Sally ends up in the forest and confronts the queen that is trapped there who tries to force Sally to free her. In the end Sally saves herself and Mickel, who turns out to be the warlord but all of his actions are just stories.

Overall, I loved this story collection. A few I felt where better than others but I liked everything. If you like any of Marjorie Liu’s other work or if the description of this collection sounds like something you would like then I would recommend that you read it. Currently its scheduled to release in June 2021.

January 2021 Fairyloot

Fairyloot is a Young Adult book subscription box focusing on fantasy based out of the UK. Each month you receive a new Young Adult hardback book and 5-6 bookish goodies. Like most book boxes the hardback are special editions and the items are a combination of both practical things and more decorative items. January’s theme is Greek Mythology.

The bookish items included this month are a trinket dish, a book sleeve inspired by Circe, an enamel bookmark, a wooden spatula with a quote on it, an iron on print, and the monthly art print. Each box also come with two tarot cards with character art on them.

All Fairyloot books come with exclusive covers and are signed by the author. The box also includes an author letter for each book. This months book is Lore by Alexandra Braken which also has sprayed and stenciled edges, art work on the revers of the dust jacket, and foiling on the front and back of the hardback. Lore is a young adult fantasy novel inspired by Greek Mythology where every seven years different Greek gods are forced to walk the earth and are hunted down. Those who kill the gods gain their power and now Lore who fled this brutal hunt must stop the rise of a new god.

February’s theme is What the Future Holds.

January 2021 Wrap Up

In January I read seven books including one comic and three manga. I also watched the Doctor Who New Years special and the LifeTime Mini Movie A Recipe in Seduction.


Beneath the Moon by Yoshi Yoshitani is a collection of retellings of different myths, legends, and stories from different culture that also come with beautiful illustrations. All of the art work was use for the Tarot of the Divine Deck. I loved the art and the stories but I wished some of them where a little longer.

Star Wars: Darth Vader Volume One is the fist volume in a comic book series following Darth Vader’s adventures working for the Empire and attempting to catch the Rebels while investigating the Emperor’s secrets following the events of A New Hope. I thought that I would like this comic series as I like most of the other Star Wars books that I’ve read. However, I like the premise of the story more then the story itself. Mostly I just found this boring.

Museum Mercenary: A Handbook for Independent Museum Professional by Rebecca Migdal is a nonfiction museum book focusing on how to be an independent professional/contractor in the museum field. I read museumology books to expand my know of the field and this would be a good resource for anyone in the field. This book contained plenty of useful information and made me realize that I don’t want to run my own business in this field.

Fullmetal Alchemist Fullmetal Edition Volumes 3 and 4 by Hiromu Arakawa. I’m collecting these editions and rereading the series at the same time. Volume 3 finishes off the Lab Five arc which ends in the death of one of my favorite characters but shows that there are bigger things at play then our main characters know. Volume 4 has the brothers going to see their teacher and confessing that they attempted to bring their mother back from the dead. Most of this volume is told in flashback but gives us more background on the Eric Brothers and why they did what they did.

Saiyuki Resurrected Edition volume one by Kazuya Minekura is the first volume of the collected editions of the Saiyuki manga. I’ve read all of the Saiyuki manga before but when I saw these editions I knew that I wanted them and decided to reread the series as I buy them. Saiyuki follows Sanzo, Goku, Gojyo, and Hakkai as they travel west to find out why the demons are attacking humans and to stop the resurrection of the demon king Gyumaoh. This story is based on the Chinese novel Journey to the West but as the author states “is the most ‘monkeyed’ around with” version. This first volume is mostly setting up the world and the characters through singular contained stories that only give hints to the larger plot and conflict the characters will encounter. I love this series and plan to continue rereading and collecting these editions.

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff is the second book in the Nevernight Trilogy which follows Mia learning to become an assassin and getting revenge on those who destroyed her family. This only focused mainly on Mia learning how the Red Church was involved in the death of her father and becoming a gladiatorial combatant to kill one of the men responsible. Though this book took awhile for me to read I loved where the story went and the ending made me so glad that I don’t have to wait for the next book and plan to read it soon. I have a full review posted as well.


A Recipe for Seduction is a LifeTime Mini Movie that was sponsored by KFC where Mario Lopez stars as Colonel Sanders. This is only 16 minutes long but still contains all the drama of a LifeTime romance movie. Colonel Sanders is hired as the new chef to this rich family that is in debt and the daughter who doesn’t like her current boyfriend falls in love with the chef. I watched this because the idea and commercial was something that I never though would exist. Its not a bad movie though a little cheesy, the acting is good but the plot moves so fast that you end up going what did I watch. If it sounds interesting I would suggest watching just because its so short.

I also watched this month the Doctor Who New Years Special Revolution of the Daleks. The past several years I’ve not been the biggest fan of Doctor Who and while I think this special was better I still had some issues with it. I do love any time they bring back Captain Jack Harkness and I loved his interactions is all the companions specifically Yaz. I also loved how Ryan and Graham’s story and character arcs came full circle. However, my two biggest problems was the politics and the Dalek story itself. Personally, I use movies, TV, and books to not have to think about politics and what’s happening in the world so I’m just not a fan when its added in. Especially with characters that feel like many of the politicians in power or have been in power recently. However, my bigger problem was with the Dalek story. I get that not all characters in Doctor Who, especially side ones, would know what a Dalek is by name but how do people not recognize them when they been on Earth so many times not even counting times is Classic Who. Also I not a fan of the “they will help/be good for security story” when I personally have trouble that people would accept things that look like a Dalek doing that. Overall, not a bad episode but not great. I hope the new season will be better and I wonder where Doctor Who as there are rumors that Jodie Whittaker will be leaving and I hope they get new writers.

January 2021 OwlCrate

Owl Crate is a young adult book subscription box where every month you receive one new hardcover book and an assortment of bookish goodies connected to the monthly theme. Some of these items are very practical and some are better suited as décor or for a pin/bulletin board. January’s theme is From Olympus with Love.

Each box includes different bookish goodies that fit the theme of the month and are connected to other books. This months items include a letter board with a zipper pouch for the letters, a Lunar Calendar Tapestry, a new pin banner, Nectar of the Gods loose leaf tea from Riddle’s Tea Shoppe, and a double sided wooden bookmark.

Every month Owl Crate has a new young adult hardback book that has an exclusive cover, is signed and comes with a letter from the author. The enamel pin that is in every box is also inspired by that months book. This months book is Lore by Alexandra Bracken. In Lore the Greek Gods are forced to walk the earth as mortal and are hunted down by the descendants of different blood lines.

February’s theme is Magic Unleashed.

Book Review: Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff (The Nevernight Chronicles #2)

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff is the second book in the Nevernight Trilogy. We follow Mia Corvere in the months after the ending of the first book where she became a Blade of the Red Church though many don’t think she has earned her place. When Mia hears that the men who destroyed her family will be at the last gladiatorial games held in Godsgrave she hatches a plan to kill them even though the Red Church has told her that Consul Scaeva is off limits.

For the first 100 pages or so of the book there are flashbacks to four months ago where Mia is working for the Red Church assassinating those she is order to and ends up running into Ash who tried to kill her in the last book. When Ash tells her that the Red Church was involved in the death of Mia’s father, they plan with Mercurio to kill Julius Scaeva behind the Churches back. Most of the story focuses on Mia working her way into the gladiatorial arena and becoming a champion to get a chance to kill those she wants revenge on. However, she is put into situations that question the lengths she will go to and is that changing her.

Though this book took me three months to finish I ended up loving it. Tough I really like Jay Kristoff’s writing and style the flashbacks happen at the begging of most of the chapters for first part of the book caused me to never feel an urge to pick the book up when I had put it down. However, about half way through this changed and I didn’t want to put the book down. I loved Mia interactions with the other gladiatorial combatants and the new information we gained about her family with the fact that what Mia knows might not be completely right.

The ending was amazing and I’m so glad that I don’t have to wait to finish the series if I don’t want to.

December 2020 FaeCrate

Fae Crate is a primarily young adult fantasy subscription box with several box options each month. I’ve purchased from this box multiple times and I find the monthly boxes very hit or miss. However, their special edition boxes are generally very good and they sometimes have very beautiful exclusive book editions. Like most book boxes the items are a mix of useful and decorative items. Though I’ve found that Fae Crate often has more art and paper items then other boxes.

December’s theme was Hunted. The bookish items included were a house of night iron on patch, A Darker Shade of Magic enamel phone grip/pop socket, a Star Daughter inspired note pad, a Raybearer inspired candle, a Vortex Visions beanie, and the monthly polaroid.

The book included this month was A Deal with the Elf King by Elise Kova. In this world the Elves take a woman from Luella’s village to be their queen. She escaped this fate when she was younger but now the king has come to take her away. This edition has an exclusive design with foiling on the hardback, silver sprayed edges, and comes with a signed book plate. Also Fae Crate includes an ebook download of another book with each box. This months is Darkwind by R. Dugan.