Member Reviews

This book had everything I love in a beautifully written package.
-Fantasy Setting with Fairy Tale Elements
-Romance
-Wolf Shifters
-Fated Mates
-A Strong Main Character with bravery and brains
-Found Family
-Self-Discovery

I was instantly drawn to this reimagining of Sleeping Beauty. Twin heirs in hiding, waiting for their chance to reclaim their stolen throne. Briar is whispered about, known only as the Crimson Princess. Calla is a secret, very few know that the Queen Rose Marriel gave birth to another child before she dies. Protected by their mother's dying wish, the two are about to step into an unknown world of Wolf politics and intrigue.

Prince Grae is their only friend and ally in their new court. He is betrothed to Briar, but Calla can't help but feel drawn to him. The night of the wedding, the sorceress Sawyn returns to curse the Crimson Princess, just like she cursed the Queen Rose years before. Determined to fight for their sister-and their kingdom-Calla sets out alone to defeat Sawyn.

Calla's quest is not only for their sister. The journey across the land is mirrored by a journey of self-discovery as Calla learns that they do not have to fit into a pre-defined role. This book is powerful and moving. And I loved every second of it. Calla feels like a part of me that I was waiting to find. They are strong and smart in a way that felt believable because of their vulnerabilities.

The writing was beautiful but so were the characters. I rarely annotate, but I found myself creating highlight after highlight as I read. There were so many powerful passages that spoke to my soul that I wanted to keep so I could find them again. Calla was my favorite character, but Grae was a close second and nearly everything I highlighted was something one or the other of them said.

This book was the perfect blend of fantasy and romance. I didn't feel like either was sacrificed in service of the other. The pacing was excellent with both adventure and quiet moments. I really can not recommend this book enough. It is one I know I'll be reading again.

Thank you to Avon, Harper Voyager, and NetGalley for the ARC. All opinions are my own.

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I have yet to read a book by AK Mulford that I didn’t love! They do such a good job at adding real social issues within a fantasy setting to give these concerns a new perspective to be seen in.
This story is a coming of age/journey to self discovery for the main character Calla. Not only do they have to save their kingdom, but also the fate of their sister lies in the balance. Through the journey back to their kingdom, Calla discovers their true self and uses this self discovery to unite people who were forced apart by years of oppressive rulers. This book features LGBTQ+ and disabled characters.
I would recommend to all who are looking for a low fantasy series and who love inclusivity. The world building in minimal and the magic/fantasy system is basic.

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Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for ARC. I received my copy in exchange of an honest review.

A River of Golden Bone is the first book in The Golden Court series by A. K. Mulford. It's a Sleeping Beauty retelling set in a world that Werewolves are in charge!
Well, that was enough for me to fell in love with this book so I requested an ARC. Now let me just say: thank GOD and NetGalley and Publisher for approving my request!
Calla, the main character, is Briar's secret twin, who is the Olmdar's heir. Calla always lived in shadows and no one-not really no one though!- knows about her. But when Sawyn, a wicked sorcerer that curse Calla and Briar's mother some years before, gets back and puts the same Sleeping Curse on Briar, Calla must come out of the shadows and do the one thing that could break Briar's curse; defeating Sawyn and taking back the Olmdare's throne once again.
This book was one of the best fantasy novels with a spicy romance that I read this year.
Calla's journey for saving Briar and Golden Throne was full of excitements. And that self-discovery part was one of the best parts in this book. I liked the way that Calla met Ora, How they connected and How Ora guides Calla to self-discovery.
And about the romance! Yeah!!! I loved our main couple. They're beautiful and sexy and everything I want a main couple to be.
I liked side characters, too. Sadi, Hector, Navin, Ora, Mina and Malou and their friendships with calla. How they supported each other and how they formed a pack of Werewolves and humens to fight together for a better world besides all of their differences.
Actually, I can't remember any other Werewolf books that I liked. So I'm happy that finally we have a fantasy series that focuses on them, not Vampires and Faes and Dragons who are Over-Fucused these days!
I really need book 2 now, specially with that plot twist about Sawyn and the cliffhanger wich makes me restless for next book.

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I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC from the beautiful author. I am a huge fan of AK’s other books so I could not wait for this new series. And my god it did not disappoint. A River of Golden Bones follows Grae (swoon) and Princess/wolf shifter Calla as she embarks on a mission to save her sister and their people from an evil sorceress, while coming to terms with their genderfluidity and exploring their own identity.

This is a spoiler free review so I’ll try to keep this vague, but there were so many tropes in this book that I adore.
- Childhood best friends to lovers
- Flirting by holding a knife to someone’s throat
- Twin sisters who love and support each other even though they are so different
- Queer women being cute and in love with each other
- Wolf shifters and pack dynamics
- Fated mates with telepathic connections
- “Who did this to you?”
- Only one bed, need to share for body heat!
- Found family
- Touch her and die

Top Quotes:
“I was sick of waiting for the promises of men.”
“It hurts not to touch you.”
“I just don’t know that woman is the right word for what I am.”

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Imagine every version of sleeping beauty combined into one (but especially the earliest version, The Sun The Moon and Talia), but the nobles are wolf shifters and fated mates exist.

Everything A. K. Mulford writes is exquisite and this is no exception. The representation, the self discovery, it’s all immaculate. I do think that the villain was killed a little too easily, but I’m looking forward to more of the political scheming in book 2.

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An enchanting, immersive, and fast-paced story! The River of Golden Bones is one of my top romantic fantasy reads of 2023. Lovers of Fourth Wing and Sarah J Maas are going to adore this novel!

I absolutely DEVOURED this book and was so enamored with it that I lost all sense of time and space while doing so. The writing is superb and fast-paced throughout. A.K Mulford does a phenomenal job of providing immersive world-building without dragging the story out or creating any slow/boring parts in the book. Our main character is a badass, gender-fluid, wolf shifter queen who finds their place in the world while on a mission to reclaim their homeland from a wicked sorceress. I found myself relating to them often - their struggles with feeling out of place in the world and not knowing who they truly were (outside of who everyone else wanted them to be) hit home for me.

This book HAS IT ALL - childhood friends to lovers, fated mates, touch her and you die, a hint of fairytale retelling, found family, ample amounts of suspense and SPICE, and so much more! I promise you won't regret picking this one up.

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I received this eARC from NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased opinion. This was a Romantasy with werewolves. I had such a difficult time getting into this book. It’s started out very confusing from the first paragraph. The pacing, descriptions, characters were just… confusing. It didn’t flow which was such a disappointment as I’ve been really looking forward to reading. Thank you for the opportunity.

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I received a free e-arc through NetGalley and this is my honest opinion of the story.
2.75/5

It is a sleeping beauty retelling. I love fairy tell retellings and loved high mountain court so this would be a big win for me. Not really, I found this way to fast paced that I didnt really have any attachment to the "sisterly" bond (which is the drive of the story) or the main character. I found MC annoying and naive with no real growth throughout the book. MC comes off as a "Rapunzel" but angry and stabby more so than happy and care free. But MC naive to the world around and it's suppose to be about the "growth" and adjustment to the world. The side characters that are constant are a fun read but again it doesn't seem as well developed. By the time I got to about the 70% mark of the book I lost interest and started skimming the book to find out the ending. The overall plot seemed really good but just seemed to lack a lot with the characters.

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3.5 rounded up.

I enjoyed this book thoroughly throughout the first 45%! It is well-written, and the main character, Calla, is a FANTASTIC representation as someone who is not meant for the skin they were born to be in. That being said, the entire middle of the book was a dredge to get through. I almost would've preferred it to be written as YA instead of the multiple pages of "I want to make you mine - but not here and now" over and over. I also wish the spat with Grae would've been different than almost the same exact spat they had in the beginning of the book. It felt redundant.

Pros:
- The representation in this book is beautifully written. You truly feel for Calla, and understand her inner crisis with not feeling like the "girl" she's been pigeon-holed as. The found family that she meets along the way that helps foster her awakening was so emotional, the support that she's given at multiple points throughout the book is palpable.
- Calla is an MC that you can't help but love. Even while internally battling herself and mourning, she's still strong and fierce.
- It truly reads like a fairytale. Obviously as a loose Sleeping Beauty retelling that would be almost given, but it felt like a TRUE fairytale. Just magical and mythical and immersive.

Cons:
- I believe it was too long for the story itself. The entire middle could've been cut in half and I wouldn't have been known the wiser
- The points made by the main villain felt convoluted. She wanted to be able to keep her throne as a woman, and wants other women to be able to rule, but also fiercely defends archaic wolf traditions and mocks Calla for not identifying as a girl. It felt very backwards.

Overall I think this book was a good read! The colors of the genderfluid/bi flag on the (STUNNING) cover is a fantastic nod to the book's contents.

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I think this was the perfect romantasy to fill a void left by others. It has quite a few refreshing takes that aren’t as popular right now and it made me enjoy it even more. While the middle of the book lagged off a bit slow I think the pacing in every other aspect really shined. The wolf-shifters, queer representation, world building, and political intrigue had me flipping through the pages ready to devour more. You should definitely give this one a try!

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Thank you to NetGalley and HarperVoyager for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

3.5 Stars, that I have rounded up to four, and I will tell you why. Overall, this was a tough review for me! I kept flip-flopping on how I felt about the novel as I read— at times being extremely engaged with the stories and characters, almost to the point of tears, and at other times literally rolling my eyes at the prose. However, The reason I have given this book 3.5, rounded up to 4 stars, is because I think that the issues I had with the novel were mostly personal. The novel was technically sound, the writing was strong, and it told a good story that I thoroughly enjoyed. It had court intrigue and politics, family drama, warring kingdoms, an evil sorceress, and super cool and unique take on werewolves/wolf shifters.

[SPOILERS FROM HERE]

BUT, I personally, cannot STAND the “fated mates” trope. I’ve disliked it in other books (looking at you SJM) and I dislike it here. Which is a shame because I really like the characters! I think they could have gotten together naturally and Calla’s sister could have just had the only fated bond, which would have been enough to screw up the betrothal. Calla and Grae had enough history, and traveling together would have drawn them close. I just wish it had gotten to happen more naturally.

[END OF SPOILERS]

In addition to the above, this book is S P I C Y! I know many people really enjoy that in a fantasy novel. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. That’s just a personal preference, no fault of the author at all, but it did decrease my enjoyment of the book by a slight margin.

What *improved* my enjoyment, was Calla’s journey to understanding and learning about gender outside of rigid Wolf society. I don’t want to put any more spoilers in this review than I already have, but I think that plot line was written well and very strongly— and I hope there’s more of it in coming books. I worry that there’s a potential for it to fall by the wayside given how much Plot is going to be coming up in the next books, but I sincerely hope that is not the case.

In general I would say that I enjoyed this book, and I think many other folks will too. The characters are strong and well-defined, the story is engaging, and, I mean, it’s got queer werewolves. Honestly what more could you ask for?

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Thank you NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

The world building was strong and didn’t feel difficult to follow. The pacing did slow down a bit towards the middle. I love the representation in this book and how it was written. Overall I thought it was interested and I’m curious about the next one.

Things to expect:
- Fated mates
- LGTBT representation
- Wolf shifters
- Political intrigue
- Sleeping beauty retelling
- Spice 🌶️🌶️

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The cover was the initial reason this book caught my eye - it's gorgeous. I also really enjoyed the inside of the book; fated mates isn't always something I enjoy reading, but it worked here. I did wish that a bit more of the story had been dedicated to the MCs backstory - it would've been fun to get a bit of them growing up together. It was interesting to go through the MCs journey of self-discovery with themselves, and I liked that Ora was there as a supportive character to help the self-discovery process.

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"A River of Golden Bones" by A.K. Mulford is a captivating and enchanting start to the Golden Court romantasy trilogy. This novel seamlessly weaves together elements of fantasy, romance, and adventure to create a compelling narrative that will leave readers eager for more.

The story revolves around twins Calla and Briar, who have lived their lives in hiding from a powerful sorceress. As Wolves with a hidden heritage, each twin has a distinct role to play in the fate of their kingdom. Calla's character is particularly intriguing as she navigates her dual identity and her connection with Prince Grae. When a new sleeping curse threatens their kingdom and their sister, Calla is forced to step out of the shadows and embrace her true self.

The world-building in the novel is rich and immersive, with Mulford introducing readers to a realm filled with magical creatures, treacherous kingdoms, and unexpected allies. The exploration of gender identity adds depth to Calla's character, and the themes of self-discovery and acceptance resonate throughout the story.

The romance between Calla and Prince Grae is a central element of the plot, adding a layer of emotional intensity to the narrative. Their connection is both heartwarming and complex, as they navigate their feelings while also dealing with the challenges of their world.

"A River of Golden Bones" is a tale of courage, resilience, and the transformative power of embracing one's true self. Mulford's writing is engaging and evocative, drawing readers into a world filled with magic, mystery, and intriguing characters. This book sets the stage for an epic journey of adventure and self-discovery, making it a must-read for fans of romantic fantasy. As the first book in the trilogy, it leaves readers excited to continue following Calla's journey as she navigates the complexities of her destiny and the world around her.

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DNF | Unfortunately, I’m sending this book back to its little stay-cation in my kindle library after reading through the first chapter.

I was happily sold on what other early-reviewers called a fresh Sleeping Beauty retelling from a non-binary POV character until the first ten pages hit me with so many red-flags that I had to expedite this book straight into DNF-land.

Some misses from me: The romance between the two main characters (not a spoiler!) is feeling super insta-lovely and flat, the flashbacks and allusions to wolf pack dynamics are already making me uncomfortable—like, I don’t even want to think of the possibilities for what directions that might be developed in—, and the tone/language feels a bit on the younger side of the YA books I typically enjoy.

I honestly rarely ever DNF books, so if you think I’ve made a mistake with passing this one up, please please please (!) let me know! I love a good second-chance comeback read.

✨ Thank you to NetGalley and Harper/Avon for sending me an eArc in exchange for an honest review! ✨

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A River of Golden Bones was a good read, a story of the Murriel twins, the last Gold Wolves who were in hiding after a sorceress attack. These lost princesses were due to start their lives with the Silver Wolf pack due to a marriage alliance. It follows Calla on her journey to get her revenge, set things to rights and explores her path with gender identity going from she to they. The gender identity topic grows and is the main forefront of the last half of the book. There is diversity through the characters, with a lot of human rights references. There is wolf/human racism, humans treated as lesser, sign language representation, sapphic pairing. This isn’t like any other book I’ve read, so I applaud the author for being creative and adding diversity to fantasy romance.

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I really enjoyed how good this romantasy book was, I was hooked from the cover and enjoyed that the book was so well written. The characters had a strong feel in this world and worked as the introduction to the Golden Court series. I enjoyed how well A.K. Mulford wrote this and look forward to the sequel.

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A River of Gold Bones is about Calla, the twin princess who wasn't supposed to be that now has to fight to save not only their sister but their throne from an evil sorceress. Along the way they have adventures that help them learn who they are.

This story started off very strong. I enjoyed the plot of the shadow twin having to go off to rescue the sister that fell under a curse. There was a lot of character development along the way which was sweet. I loved seeing how all the characters evolved. This book was cute and had amazing potential!

However I felt like as the story went on it became slow. At times I feel like we got away from the main plot line of the book. Anything Calla and Grae needed along the way seemed to fall right into their lap and made things too easy. There are spicy scenes. If it wasn't for those I would have rated this more of a YA book. You were also left with an ending that could have been a standalone book but still hinted towards what was going to happen.

This book did keep me interested enough that I do plan on reading the next book in the series to see where it goes from here!

Thank you NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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So there are many things I could say about this novel, let’s start off with wow. The spice build up. So good. The love for these people. ( I can’t even say characters) Calla, Briar, Grae. The moon goddess, she was definitely one to thank. I can’t wait for more in The Golden Court. Thanks to NetGalley, Avonbooks & Harpervoyage.

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Thank you so much to HarperCollins and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

This was a delightful found family story with great LGBTQ+ representation.

Things I especially enjoyed:
-Calla exploring their identity
- the world-building

There was a end-of-book twist that I think more could be done to hide. I'd also love to see more of the development of relationship between Calla and Briar as well as with their love interest

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