I don't remember where I first encountered Wake by Amanda Hocking - but I think it was on one of those "must read fantasy" lists. Amanda Hocking is weI don't remember where I first encountered Wake by Amanda Hocking - but I think it was on one of those "must read fantasy" lists. Amanda Hocking is well known for selling, well ... quite a few self-published novels, but having not read any of them, I wasn't quite sure what to expect with Wake, the first book of a new trilogy.
I'm touch and go on stories with mermaids/selkies/sirens. They are so awkward to write about, to try to figure out logistics and such. I mean - it's not like you can actually be sexy with a fin for your lower half, right? So while I think Hocking did an admirable job trying to make this strange, mystifying race alluring, I think it all kind of got lost in a strange loops.
Because, honestly, I finished the book yesterday and here's what I remember about it: girl swims, girl falls for guy, sister falls for guy, girl swims, something bad, the end. Oh, and let's not forget: .
Was I entertained while reading Wake? Sure. I mean, I wanted to finish the book, it wasn't difficult to read, but it was a sort of morbid curiosity that ultimately led to me finishing it. I won't be picking up book 2, not because I hated Wake, but rather.. because I'm just disinterested in the story and frankly, I'm tired of cliffhangers which exist solely to sell books....more
House of Shadows began beautifully for me. Rachel Neumeier, I've heard, is a master of beautiful description and world-building, and she did not disapHouse of Shadows began beautifully for me. Rachel Neumeier, I've heard, is a master of beautiful description and world-building, and she did not disappoint with this story of eight sisters. Within just a few paragraphs I was enchanted by the story and excited to see it unfold. I even made the comment, 25% in, about how enchanted I was and broadcasted it to the world.
I should have waited a bit longer.
You see, while I loved certain aspects of this story, the politics of it all got too heavy for me. Instead of reading about what the story seemed to promise from the start, the education of both Karah and Nemienne, that foreign bard in the description of the story seems to step in and take over the bulk of the story. And with him, he brings politics and strangeness.
Unlike another fantasy I recently put down, unable to finish, however - I did manage to finish this one. My eyes glazed over once or twice as things got very, very complicated (and not explained well enough to salve that complication), but I was interested enough in both Karah and Nemienne to want to learn where their story would end up.
Another thing I did appreciate about House of Shadows was the lack of cliffhanger. As far as I can tell, this is a stand-alone fantasy. It's a beautifully written one - but with the level of detail Rachel Neumeier was trying to go into, it might have been better as a 2 book set....more
Ever had a case of the Monday's? Well, Julie Bourbeau explores that theme with a slight twist. In The Wednesdays, Max's village is stuck with a huge cEver had a case of the Monday's? Well, Julie Bourbeau explores that theme with a slight twist. In The Wednesdays, Max's village is stuck with a huge case of the Wednesdays - on Wednesday of course! Anything and everything goes wrong one day of the week... so in order to avoid those things happening the entire town shuts down and everyone hides. After all, you don't want to let a Wednesday into your house!
So what happens when Max peeks out of the window and lets a Wednesday in? Well.. that's the story, isn't it?
I was completely delighted by this middle-grade adventure. It had mystery, fantastic secondary characters, and riddles galore. I don't often pick up middle-grade level books, but when I do I make sure that they have something unique about them, and The Wednesdays did not disappoint on that level. It was charming, full of fun, and definitely something I'll be recommending to my nieces and nephews to read.
For you parents out there: this is a great book filled with a lot of action and adventure. I could not find anything to object to in the story for first graders on, but there is a bit of scary stuff toward the end of the book. I'd recommend a read-through first if that worries you. And even though the book seems long, I flew through it in just a few hours. Very easy to check out first....more
I was excited to pick up Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas for two reasons: 1. It's fantasy, and I love me a good fantasy, and 2. It was referred to inI was excited to pick up Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas for two reasons: 1. It's fantasy, and I love me a good fantasy, and 2. It was referred to in several places as "Game of Thrones for Teens."
I'm here to tell you right now, if you are picking up this book for the latter reason, please be warned that this is not the case. George R.R. Martin's epic fantasy is filled with complex writing, relationships, and world-building and, although I understand that Sarah Maas tried hard to create a solid, strong female lead, she's nothing like those in GRRM's books. Rather, this book is very, very "Fantasy-lite."
What do I mean by that term? I've used it before to refer to a few books and it's not necessarily a bad thing. It means that the world is easy to grasp, there are no strange terms, that the characters seem a lot like people we would know in real life, and that the magic concepts (if any) are very simplistic. This is fantasy for people who have never read fantasy before. Like I said, not a bad thing - but definitely not what I expected after being told it was like GRRM's books.. which are hardcore fantasy.
Now, all that aside, there were a few other issues I had with Throne of Glass. The main character, Celaena, was beyond cocky. One of the most important things I've learned in writing courses (which seems to be the basic rule of writing) is to show and not tell things. Sarah Maas did an awful lot of telling and, as a result, Celaena came off as cocky, proud, and generally unlikeable. I was confused by the love triangle, but I think a lot of that was because I was confused by Celaena herself. I wanted to like her, but she was so off-putting that I just couldn't get myself to care that much.
Was I entertained? Sure - the story is filled with action, moves at a fast pace, and had a bit of a mystery that I wanted to get to the bottom of - but the potential was there for so much more. In fact, this book reminded me a lot of a sub-par Poison Study (by Maria V. Snyder). I just wish that Celaena could have gotten her butt handed to her a few times to teach her some humility....more
When offered the chance to read and review The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern, I'm not going to lie - I squealed a little bit. You see, Cecelia AheWhen offered the chance to read and review The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern, I'm not going to lie - I squealed a little bit. You see, Cecelia Ahern is one of my guilty pleasure authors. I read her books when I want to cry a little bit and she became my go-to gal when I outgrew Nicholas Sparks.
That's what makes this review so hard to write.
I'm going to go a little off-topic, but stick with me - it'll make sense soon. When I was a kid, I remember getting on a ride at DisneyWorld - the people mover one. You know - the one that you just ride around in an open monorail type thing and listen to facts about the park? Well, I thought that was just the beginning of the ride and it would end up top where those rockets were because I really wanted to ride those rockets (I never got to ride those rockets. I don't think I would fit in them now.) But instead, we just twisted and turned and moved slowly and instead of listening to what was being said and enjoying the view and the rest for my feet, I twisted my hands and wiggled and whined and complained and then... the ride was over and it was time to go stand in another 2 hour line. You see, I was so caught up in the anticipation of something happening, something I expected to happen, that I didn't enjoy the breeze, or the view, or the time with my family. I wanted more, I craved more... but I never got it.
That's what The Book of Tomorrow reminded me of. I read, and then I read some more, and then I read more and I was teased and given glimpses of those fantastic rockets and I (metaphorically) wiggled and twisted in anticipation but... I never got what I wanted. However, unlike DisneyWorld and my parents (who never told me the rockets were at the end, it was my imagination that betrayed me), I expected more from Cecelia Ahern because in her previous books - she gave me more.
So that is why I was disappointed in The Book of Tomorrow. I expected a character that would seduce me, but instead I got Tamara Goodwin, a snarky, bratty, horrible girl who had me wanting to smack her down more than a few dozen times. Her mother, her aunt, and her uncle were.. quirky and strange, sure - but I never cared two bits about them because, frankly, I was teased and teased but never given anything to help me understand. Instead, like those rockets, they lingered out of reach and never materialized in front of me.
Then there was the "mystery" and "gothic" nature of the book. It didn't work for me. The ruins sounded well.. dirty and not mysterious. I don't know if they weren't described well enough or there wasn't enough background given on the characters, or what the deal was but the story there felt unfinished and haphazard.
The only thing I liked about this book was seeing the end, because then I took my huge dose of reality, closed the book, swallowed the bitterness and sat down to write this review.
So do I stick with Cecelia Ahern? I'll give her next book a shot, because one sour book isn't enough to put me off. But I think she needs to stick with what she knows best - relationships and character-building... leave the fantasy and gothic stories to people who invest themselves well in them....more
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman is making a splash in the book world, and every bit of that splash is well-deserved. This is a story for children and adulSeraphina by Rachel Hartman is making a splash in the book world, and every bit of that splash is well-deserved. This is a story for children and adults alike - with dragons, politics, war, intrigue, mystery, murder, and love.
I admit, I went into the book a bit biased toward loving it. The beautiful cover, the typeface, the idea of humanized dragons and a forbidden romance was enough to hook me - but once the story got moving Rachel Hartman's astonishing writing and the complexity of what I was reading took me over. You see, it was so complex it was almost simple. I thoroughly enjoyed the Seraphina's story as an adult and was able to appreciate the messages of acceptance, honesty, and forgiveness ... but at the same time I know my nine year old nephew would love the action and the idea of old knights who speak of times when dragon fighting was the norm, and hidden secrets by a young girl who doesn't know what to do with her life and the gifts she's been given.
At the end of the book there is a page which details what influenced Rachel Hartman while writing this book and with the listing of polyphony, irish music, and more, it all began to make sense. There's magic in this story. Dragons are treated here unlike any other fantasy I've read. At first I worried that it might come across dorky - like some mermaid books I've had the misfortune to read, but my worries were put to rest quickly.
This is a tastefully done fantasy, filled with everything one could hope for. If you try to steer clear of the hype on books, I advise you to ignore it and pick this one up on its own merit. If hype gets you, then trust me when I say the hype on this one is not wrong....more
Okay, I'm going to confess. I succumbed to an incredible amount of cover pressure when it comes to Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter. There were a nOkay, I'm going to confess. I succumbed to an incredible amount of cover pressure when it comes to Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter. There were a number of reasons why I shouldn't have picked this book up (and liked it!).
First, I'm almost always disappointed by covers like this - well, not by the cover but the content inside. Secondly, I haven't read the first book of the Goddess Test series, and picking up book two first is a big nono for me. Third .. it's a young adult romance and I've had it with them.
Those reasons said, there was one huge reason I picked up the book in spite of all of my instincts screaming NO! I had just read a really dark, intense book and I wanted something light and fluffy and I love, love, love Greek mythology. So I gave it a go.
Folks - I DEVOURED this book. I read it in one straight sitting and I could not tear myself away from it. I was thirsty for the last 10% of the book! But could I be bothered to get a drink? No.. because I needed to know!
Even though this was the second book in the series, the story is not so complicated that I couldn't get into it and get the gist of what happened in book 1 - and I'm glad I started with book 2 because I think book 1 might have turned me off when it comes to the series. As it was ... I still wanted to smack Kate around a little bit, but I still, I was hugely entertained and had a lot of fun seeing the Greek myths come to life and interact with one another.
Final result - surprised me (and I rated it well as a result), hugely entertaining, and the perfect read for a day on the beach....more
Fairies and Kansas. Not a combination you would think would work - but it did in Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel.
Before I get into the review I'm going toFairies and Kansas. Not a combination you would think would work - but it did in Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel.
Before I get into the review I'm going to be completely honest with you - I started reading this book three times. The first time I could not get past the first few pages. The second time I made it about 20 pages in, and it wasn't until I saw a very positive review of Dust Girl that I managed to finally pick the book up and dive in, fully committed.
Once I pushed past those first 20 pages I finally started to get the appeal. You see, Dust Girl is unlike the typical fantasy young adult books I've read - and mostly that's because of setting. It's stuck in this strange, in-between place between Urban Fantasy and High Fantasy. It's filled with Seelie and Unseelie, post-apocolyptic settings, and the midwest. The closest I've come to reading something like that would be Steampunkish novels or western-fantasy. So once I managed to get my head wrapped around the strangeness, I began to thoroughly enjoy myself.
That's not to say the story was without flaws. I was upset that the entire book seemed to be a prelude for something. You know how people complained about the second to last Harry Potter movie by saying, "they camped here, then they camped there, then they camped here..." and so on? Well, this book was a lot of traveling. There was a movement here, then there, then another place and very little resolution. In fact, just as I felt as if answers would finally come my way the book ended, so that was that. I'll leave my rant for cliffhangers and the inability of most authors to write a single, standing novel for another time - but I do firmly believe each installment of a trilogy or quartet should have some resolution of its own, and I did not find that in Dust Girl. If that affects you as it does me, I'd recommend waiting until all the books are out - but if you simply cannot wait, or are looking for something different in the fantasy genre to read right now, this is a contender for an entertaining read.
.... Once you get past the first 20 pages, that is....more
I've been book-lusting after Crewel since the moment I saw it on the list as a book promoted at BEA this past June. The cover grabbed me first, then rI've been book-lusting after Crewel since the moment I saw it on the list as a book promoted at BEA this past June. The cover grabbed me first, then reading the description sent me into a tizzy and I tried every way I could think of to get my hands on a copy. (People, it releases on my birthday and I did not want to wait that long!)
So when NetGalley showed it on their recent additions I squealed and may have cried a little bit in relief. In just a minute or so that coveted approval landed in my inbox and I downloaded the book, the only thing standing in my way just my scheduled reading.
So last night, with a sigh of relief, I opened it up and fell into one of the most imaginative stories I've ever experienced. People, this book is a breath of fresh air. Not really dystopian, not really post-apocalyptic - more a blend of fantasy and sci-fi, it boasts a strong heroine who does not waver on her beliefs, two male counterparts that also manage to stay strong (and not wimp out in the face of her strength), and some beautiful world-building. Gennifer Albin does not err on the side of caution, treating her characters with the harsh brush that needs to be used in order to further the storyline, and it's very appreciated by this reader.
My only complaint, and the only thing that left a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth, is the character of Pyranna. She, like Adelice, was one of the chosen to begin training as a spinster, and her character is the only one not fully developed. Her changes in attitude and actions were a little too far-fetched, and it was apparent she was placed into the story as a mere tool to keep things moving. I think she had potential to be more, and I was disappointed by her place in the story.
But overall - this is a great, great story and one that impressed me with it's uniqueness. I'll be still purchasing this (or maybe receiving it as a present?) to place on my shelves and loan out - and cannot wait to get my hands on the actual, physical copy....more
If ever there is a case of book cover lust, it definitely would strike hard for a book like Ironskin. The first time I saw this cover I knew... I hadIf ever there is a case of book cover lust, it definitely would strike hard for a book like Ironskin. The first time I saw this cover I knew... I had to read this book - I didn't even care that it was described as a "Steampunk Beauty and the Beast" novel. I didn't care that, once I began reading, that Tina Connolly had openly ripped off Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre (even to the point of giving her characters remarkably similar names) and just infused the story with magic and fae and dwarves. But soon, I couldn't ignore those very things.
Quite frankly, I was more excited by the cover than I was by the story. I was interested, but it didn't grab me. I was curious, but not burning up with curiosity. More than once, I put the book down, confused, because the story seemed to me like a bunch of puzzle pieces that all just didn't quite fit.
So while I will probably keep this book on my shelf for the sheer pretty factor, I don't know that I'll steer anyone toward it - unless they, like me, wish to give it a shot and see if it can hold up its end of the bargain.
I've been trying to figure out over the last few days what could have made this work more. I think different name choices (there's no need to beat your readers over the head with the fact that you are writing a Jane Eyre spin-off) would help. A more developed relationship between Jane and her sister would have worked well as well as more development of the relationships in the manor. And Connolly's version of Mr. Rochester had me all sorts of confused - was he a good guy? a bad guy? And what about these Fae wars? What went on there. In short, I felt as if I was thrown into the middle of a story that had me turned around and completely confused by the time I was two chapters in.
So, in short - great cover, interesting premise, and a failure to follow through for this one....more
In just three short days I plowed through The Belgariad series and emerged, happy (and a bit melancholy to leave them behind). As much as I loved theIn just three short days I plowed through The Belgariad series and emerged, happy (and a bit melancholy to leave them behind). As much as I loved the series, wept at certain deaths, rejoiced as characters got everything and more than they could have dreamed of, I have only one small criticism to offer now that I've finished my first David Eddings series.
I think authors such as Brandon Sanderson and Mickey Zucker Reichart have spoiled me when it comes to battle scenes. Take for example, Reichart's Renshai series - the swordplay is so beautifully described it makes me want to weep thinking about reading it again. Every motion came alive in my imagination. In contrast, David Eddings struggled with putting into words the action taking place in these books. Villains died quickly and neatly, which robbed me, as a reader, of a need to see them get their "just desserts."
That said, I still loved the direction of the story, the way all the pieces fit neatly together, the growth of the characters and uniting of the world, and that little bit that left the story open to grow more....more
Just when I thought things were going to comet to some sort of conclusion.. David Eddings throws me for a spin with the ending of this book.
But I getJust when I thought things were going to comet to some sort of conclusion.. David Eddings throws me for a spin with the ending of this book.
But I get ahead of myself -
In Castle of Wizardry Belgarion finally comes into his own - sort of. The prophecy peaks, things we, as readers, have known since the first and second book are revealed (and the characters are surprised by them? Really?). I suppose it would have helped, also, to have the prophecy revealed at the start of each book so we could see the pieces coming together as well - but that isn't how it's to be, so we really don't know just how explicit it is.
This book and The Magician's Gambit suffer a bit from "middle-child syndrome", all things said. It's obvious that the story is hurtling toward a grand finish, but first we have to get through all of the revelations and traveling - and there is a LOT of traveling. That said, I'm looking forward to seeing what the end brings and have thoroughly enjoyed a weekend completely absorbed in this world created by David Eddings....more
This is the first book of Edding's Belgariad series that has earned less than a 5 star rating from me. Don't get me wrong - I'm still enjoying the worThis is the first book of Edding's Belgariad series that has earned less than a 5 star rating from me. Don't get me wrong - I'm still enjoying the world, the setting, the progression .. but the addition of some characters (Relg is just weird, folks)and the darkness of the world as the progression is happening really made it easier for me to put the book down and do other things less important, like play Bejeweled.
That said, let me talk about what I did like in the book - I enjoyed finally seeing Garion start to come into his own. I enjoyed the humor - laughed out loud in several places, and I enjoyed seeing the budding relationship happening between Garion and Ce'Nedra (who is one of my favorites).
But now let me talk about some other favorites of mine:
1. Durnik. I love the common, peasant, strong but tenderhearted character. You know - the ones that don't need special powers or abilities to show they are special? That's what Durnik is. Add in the conflict with his emotions for a certain beautiful lady and you have a well-rounded, incredibly likeable man.
2. Mandorallen. I have a feeling this is not a popular character to like - but honestly, his coping method with fear won me over. I adore this character for all his high-brow speech and noble theatrics. As much as I love Durnik for his simplicity, Mandorallen provides me with the perfect compliment in character. Some of my favorite scenes involve this knight, and I cannot wait to see how he will change in the upcoming books.
I read the first three books of the Belgariad in a single volume and it took me less than 24 hours to do so. That's how engrossing this story is. If you are a fantasy lover and, like me, have not read these books in the past I urge you to give them a shot. There is something in there for everyone....more
I'm always a little apprehensive when approaching the middle book of a trilogy. The questions in my mind are usually: How will people I've come to lovI'm always a little apprehensive when approaching the middle book of a trilogy. The questions in my mind are usually: How will people I've come to love in the first book be treated? Will the main character (especially since he's a child in this case) grow annoying and hard to relate to? Who else will be introduced? How will the story move toward a conclusion in the third book?
David Eddings did a fantastic job with putting me at ease regarding each and every one of those questions. New villains were introduced, and they are colorful and amazing. Old enemies were put to rest, moving the story forward in a way that was unexpected and fantastic. And new friends were brought into the mix - in this case a young, 15 year old girl who had me roaring with laughter.
Although Garion whined and wallowed a bit, it was comforting to see David Eddings address that head on, and in the process provide his readers with hope that it will change. If anything - it reminded me that Garion is still just a boy (as evidenced by a rather hilarious scene regarding learning to shave).
Great story movement, fantastic characters, a huge amount of fantastic world building - this series is living up to every good thing I've been told about it....more
Shadow and Bone is pure, unadulterated, guilty pleasure. I seriously devoured this book in just a few hours. It's fantasy, but fantasy that appeals toShadow and Bone is pure, unadulterated, guilty pleasure. I seriously devoured this book in just a few hours. It's fantasy, but fantasy that appeals to the little girl inside of me - fantasy that has my toes tingling and my imagination whirling with images, ideas, and romance.
Alina and Mal are orphans, tested early while under the protection of a good Duke, for Grisha abilities. Grisha's are a sort of sorcerer - each has an ability they are fantastic at, and they are separated according to those abilities.
The orphans and the Grisha's are thrown together to create a story that is compelling and interesting. This is easily a book I'd throw into the "book crack" category along with several other well-known titles, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it catch on with other readers and bloggers.
That all said, it's not meant to be taken seriously. After all, this is fantasy, folks. The stereotyping can get a little annoying, but it wasn't enough to pull me from the strength of the story, and I don't know enough about Russian culture to catch any flaws. That said, I did thoroughly enjoy seeing a fantasy that was set in a type of country different than the normal (Hi King Arthur throwbacks).
This book is being released the early part of June, and I only recommend you pick it up if you have the time to devote to it - because you might just find yourself, like me, unable to put it down....more
It's an amazing thing to be a book lover these days. Not only because of the massive amount of books available for purchase, loan, and lending, but alIt's an amazing thing to be a book lover these days. Not only because of the massive amount of books available for purchase, loan, and lending, but also because of the ease of access the internet and reading devices have provided. It works that way for authors as well. Now instead of suffering through the endless rejections, authors have the ability to self-publish through mega-corporation engines, like Amazon, and be heard in ways that were not possible a decade ago.
This has good and bad sides to it. Several months ago, when I went back to school, I made the decision to no longer accept self-published works simply because my time was valuable and I needed to choose my reading wisely. I had been burned, no only by bad writing (which I can deal with) but also by plot-less story-lines and inane drivel which covered anything from political rants to wild and steamy fantasies which made me feel uncomfortable.
But every once in a while a book appears on the radar which has that glimmer of hope.
I will admit, first off, that I know Luna Lindsey. She is dear to close friends of mine, but she and I do not know each other that well. She knew I review books and requested that I read and review her book, Emerald City Dreamer, and I will admit to agreeing with a bit of trepidation. I'm not one to pull punches when I review books, but she's accepted that about me and, with that said, I finished Emerald City Dreamer tonight and have feedback that should please and challenge her.
Lindsey's book takes place in a fantastic city and one that's ripe for an urban-paranormal book. Seattle is quirky, artistic, and if there's any place that could be filled with the Fae it definitely is top of the list. The first thing that came to mind upon finishing this story, however, is that Lindsey may have bitten off more than she can chew with her first novel in this series. I was overwhelmed by the number of characters and events taking place. As I tried to absorb everything what I consistently was thinking was how, if she'd split it into two novels, things would have been both simple and more complex.
For example: Jina. Jina was the center point of Emerald City Dreamer, but I never connected to her - and I think that's because the character of Jina was lukewarm. She was defined by labels, but never really exhibited those labels in a passionate way - unlike Ezra who was, by far, my favorite character and one of the most conflicted characters I've read in urban-paranormal stories. Jina, however, lacked conviction and she never really came into her own voice. I got the impression that she was being held back by the same labels that should have freed her. Jina is bisexual, yet the sex scenes (well, what passed for a sex scene) in Emerald City Dreamer lacked the steaminess that I've grown used to seeing in these types of stories. She is poly, yet very little focus is given to her emotions with regard to one of her partners. Instead, I got the feeling that Jina was just a bit of a playgirl and unable to commit to anyone, which was strange considering how quickly she "falls in love." These contradictions made it difficult for me to focus on the story, because without a strong character, the story struggles.
The added stories of Ezra's past and Jett's past also seemed haphazardly thrown into the story. Each of these stories deserves something more than just mere mentions and assumptions that the reader is able to grasp everything that is happening. Instead of being enthralled by their stories, I felt put off by them - instead wanting to focus on the here and now.
I think it's a common thing when writing to be worried about tension in a story - after all, we've been taught that every story needs tension. But tension is not built in setting a scene and describing every item of clothing for characters who barely exist in the overall story - it's set in dialogue, movement forward, relationships between people. I felt very little tension between Jett and Jina - yet they proclaim their love for each other without a second thought.
The best advice I have for Luna as she works on her second book in this story is to examine the relationships between characters, and to look deep into the characters of Sandy, Jett, and Jina and figure out just how strong each of their voices should be. The strongest voice in this book was Ezra's and, I think with some examination, Sandy, Jett, and Jina could have just as strong a voice - just don't be afraid to show it to us. Forget the labels - write the actions....more
Cayla Kluver has written a world that is complex, interesting, filled with great characters and tension and I'm astonisheI'm in love with this series.
Cayla Kluver has written a world that is complex, interesting, filled with great characters and tension and I'm astonished that she was able to do this at her age in a way that was not at all noticeable.
In my review of Legacy, I mentioned that I read the story before I knew anything about this author, but I found in reading Allegiance that even knowing what I do know about Kluver now, it didn't make an ounce of different. Instead, I found myself completely lost in a world that I would have loved to be the creator of.
My biggest issue with these stories, and I do think this is a youth thing, is the lack of feminine power held by Alera - but it's balanced by the opposing kingdom - the Cokyrians. It's hard to explain - just.. trust me, even if the book starts to annoy you with its lack of feminine power keep giving it a shot, because the ending will not disappoint....more
Recently there's been a lot of fairy-tale hype happening. Turn on the TV and you'll see advertisements for Grimm and Once Upon a Time. The theater thiRecently there's been a lot of fairy-tale hype happening. Turn on the TV and you'll see advertisements for Grimm and Once Upon a Time. The theater this year will have two, yes two movies centering on Snow White. We've had recent movies re-telling Beauty and the Best and Red Riding Hood and this fairy tale uprising, I believe, is just getting started.
I recently took a class that focused on uncanny literature from Continental European authors. These stories were included in the reading for that class and I will not sugarcoat this - some of them were strange, disturbing, and outright freaky. But that makes it all the more fun to read, right?
Between poor Casper and Annie and all this business about beheading to Eckbert and that business about the incest, these fairy tales are accessable - so much so I forgot I was reading for class at some points and just enjoyed reading fairy tales that I was very unfamiliar with.
So if you are a fan of Grimms Fairy Tales and want to experience a little more on the uncanny side, this is a volume of stories that will sit proudly on your shelf. It's a book of pure fun (and grossness)....more
There are times a girl just needs to have some mindless fun. When those times hit me I head straight for this series.
Beginning with The Fairy GodmothThere are times a girl just needs to have some mindless fun. When those times hit me I head straight for this series.
Beginning with The Fairy Godmother and working all the way through various fairy tales these books by Mercedes Lackey never fail to make me laugh, coo a little bit in romantic bliss, and feel as if I've done something that is decadently delicious when I close the cover. These aren't serious literature and that's a good thing. I've read the Grimm's Fairy Tales and the Romantic Fairy Tales by Teick, Fouque, and Brentano. So when I picked up Beauty and the Werewolf, I delighted in the fact that I was about to dive into complete silliness and fun.
And I wasn't disappointed. While Beauty wasn't my favorite of the series (One Good Knight holds that honor), I still thoroughly enjoyed the book. Honestly, I think I'd enjoy any book in this series as long as it contains my beloved unicorns, which had me snorting with laughter yet again.
This is a great series to give, or to read, or both! Perfect for the people in your life that you want to introduce to fantasy, and perfect for those days when you need just a little pick-me-up. ...more
I desperately wanted to love it. Why? Because A.S. Byatt has a grasp of the English language that I lust for - it's sensuousI am so torn on this book.
I desperately wanted to love it. Why? Because A.S. Byatt has a grasp of the English language that I lust for - it's sensuous and beautiful and haunting and every amazing word you can come up with to describe words ... but it's so dang difficult to read.
The tiniest little thing would distract me as I read this one. I love learning about Norse mythology, so there wasn't a lot new in that respect for me - but the story of this girl in wartime, and her favorite book - I wanted it to drag me into the story and make it come alive for me. But it didn't.
Instead, I felt as if I was reading something beautifully written, but very clinical (? I think that's the word I want to use). Instead of feeling like the pages were letting me indulge in chocolate, I felt like maybe I was eating fat-free candy instead. It's hard to describe, because I really, really admire Byatt's writing skills, but I think the storytelling was a bit lacking. However - I also don't know if this was intended to actually BE a storytelling book, or if it was instead a frame for education on the mythology.
Anyways - if you are a fan of Byatt, I'm sure you will love this one. If you have lots of time and enjoy the feeling of rolling beautifully crafted sentences around in your mouth, then do what I did and just enjoy this one for that sensation....more
I don’t do pure negative reviews very often – usually there’s some sort of saving grace in a book, a storyline I like, a chOriginal review posted here
I don’t do pure negative reviews very often – usually there’s some sort of saving grace in a book, a storyline I like, a character I admired, something I can pull from the book, but I can’t do it here.
Let’s look at the list of things that got to me:
1. Reverse racism. Foyt tried an experiment and, in my opinion, failed. Something that is a basic cornerstone of good writing is show, don’t tell. Don’t include a word and then reference it as being a “racist” term, in those exact words! There’s no need to turn history around to prove a point either. White-face bands? Reverse slavery/abuse? The whole idea just rubbed me the wrong way – especially since the idea for her earth was actually a good one, and so much could have been done with it that was fresh and new.
2. Beastiality. Have we gotten to the point that we’re angel/demon/vampire/werewolf/witch/mermaid/fairy -’d out? Do we really need to turn to beastial creatures to get that hot, romance-y, steam fix? I cannot tell you how much times “tail” was mentioned that seemed to get Eden all hot and bothered, and oh my goodness, it gave me the heebie-jeebies.
3. Plot. I couldn’t really find one. I mean, I could find a spoiled brat of a girl, but .. was the plot her intention to actually get away? or was it that she protests too much? or was it that.. you know, I don’t know. If you read this book, and like it, please tell me what the plot was? 75% in, I was talking about this book to a friend, and she asked what the plot was and it blew me away that I couldn’t articulate it.
I love dystopia books, I love science fiction, I love a good story with racial tension in it, it gets my mind working (Go read Tankborn by Karen Sandler). But, other than a spark of what could have been, I just didn’t find much of anything to like in this story....more
Sherwood Smith, why oh why are your covers so horrifically bad? Because girl… you can write oh so good. Seriously, as I reaOriginal review posted here
Sherwood Smith, why oh why are your covers so horrifically bad? Because girl… you can write oh so good. Seriously, as I read this fantastic gem of a young adult fantasy duo I felt like pumping my fist and shouting GIRL POWER quite happily. Because this girl, this Meliara, she knocked my socks off.
So basically this story starts with an impoverished member of the court and his two kids, a boy and a girl. The girl has been left to her own devices, she’s run wild, and she does not have a good impression of the finery and snobbery of the court off in the distance. But now.. her father is dying and the duchy is left to both girl and boy. And to make matters worse – it appears they are going to war.
Meliara is gutsy in a very good way. She doesn’t have magical powers that allow her to pick up a sword and kick some butt, she’s too petite for that, and Sherwood realistically portrays that weakness. Instead, she sneaks, she spies, and she does what she firmly believes to be best. From captures to escapes, double-crossings and alliances, and then to the scene at court and the flirtations, parties and secrets, this story moves quickly and had me flipping pages and very grateful that the edition I read had both books combined.
This is a satisfying, little gem of a fantasy that is the perfect solution for those of you out there who are tired of cliffhangers and want to read a good, solid story that will have you cheering and maybe even tearing up a little bit at the conclusion....more
Gutsy heroine? Check. Intelligence? Check. Action and Adventure? Check. A touch of romance? Check. FanOriginal review posted here
I. loved. this. book.
Gutsy heroine? Check. Intelligence? Check. Action and Adventure? Check. A touch of romance? Check. Fantastic setting? Check.
Seriously – everything needed to make a very interesting, historical novel that is very, very, very difficult to put down.
Nadira is a special creature. Yes, she’s bartered about the men in her life, but it isn’t for her body – oh no, it’s for her mind. You see, she speaks quite a few languages, and has been called upon to help with translation. She is treated well by each one of her “captors”, and as the story unfolds it becomes apparent that, indeed, she is something special.
I ended up reading quite a few historical novels, set in medieval times this year. There have been a few disappointments, a few surprises, and some books that end up being the best books I’ve read in quite some time. While The Hermetica of Elysium doesn’t really rank that high, I will say it’s one of the best medieval books I’ve ever read. I really enjoyed strong Nadira, I loved that the book could be so clean without seeming unbelievable. This author is a definite “must watch” on my list of authors and I cannot wait for book two to be released next year....more
When I received this small book in the mail, I set it aside after making a note on my calendar to get it read. I didn’t notOriginal review posted here
When I received this small book in the mail, I set it aside after making a note on my calendar to get it read. I didn’t notice it again until a few days later when my dad picked it up and exclaimed – this book is in verse!
I was excited to get to it then. This semester in British Literature, I was introduced to my very first epic poems in Beowulf, Paradise Lost, and other fun, old English tales. Then, when I read the introduction to The Realmsic Conquest, I felt a kinship with the author because, like he, I also had a friendship that thrived through letters – although we never wrote stories to each other (why didn’t we think of that, Chris??).
That all said, while The Realmsic Conquest was clever and amusing, it fell short of being a “true epic”. I feel as if Jackson could have done more with less attempt to rhyme – which, in a way, cheapened the story. I’ve read books in verse that ended up being very powerful because their lack of rhyme – and I really think that the potential existed in this story to make an “modern epic fantasy tale”.
The idea was good, putting it into practice fell short – in short. Still, I think if you are wanting to give something different to a young boy for a gift – this might be something you’d look toward. The story has a great message, there’s magic and bad guys and bad guys turning good – and it’s in verse!...more
So, I expected good. I mean, when Pam from Bookalicious started hyping this book I figured it had to be good – I trust herOriginal review posted here
So, I expected good. I mean, when Pam from Bookalicious started hyping this book I figured it had to be good – I trust her judgement, and so I took the leap. I was not disappointed.
There’s something about good, wholesome, feel-good, fairy-tale-like fantasies that just make my heart warm, give me goosebumps and cause my to walk around my house with my nose buried in the book (or in this case, pressed to the screen of my Kindle). Arley Cole takes tried and true methods to set up the scene, providing her readers with an incredibly strong female heroine who is smart, sassy, strong, clever, and magical – all combined into a short package. And I loved her.
This book has tricks being played, wars being planned, good and evil wizards, mean fathers, a ditzy girl, loyal followers, strong hero and heroine, history, world-building and more. And best of all – for those of you who are scared of getting into the reading of a fantasy book, this is what I like to call “Fantasy-lite”. Yes, there are strange names and beings – but it’s all put together in a nice package that will have you flipping pages in your hurry to get to the next one, rather than using the book (like some seriously intense fantasies inspire me to do) for a coaster.
I very much recommend picking up this book, especially if you have a teenage son or daughter interested in fantasy. It’s good, clean fun....more
When I picked up Liesl & Po, I expected good things. The cover was perfect, the author one of my favorites, and I settlOriginal review posted here
When I picked up Liesl & Po, I expected good things. The cover was perfect, the author one of my favorites, and I settled down into my sofa, prepared to thoroughly enjoy myself.
What I didn’t expect was to be drawn in and completely surrounded by magic. From the very first introduction of Liesl, to the boy looking in the window and the screwy mix-up, I was enchanted. I felt like I was reading something that was special – and special it was.
I’ve been on a good run of books lately – I struggled recently with a dry-spell in my reading, and when I picked up a book to break it I was lucky enough to read this one. I firmly believe the magic in this book has touched everything I’ve read since – and the list is slowly racking up.
Liesl & Po is a story of letting go of those gone, of being brave in the face of immense danger, of accepting what might not be the “norm”, and of looking for friendly faces where there was once thought to be only hostile. It’s a beautiful, beautiful novel and one I highly recommend for the middle graders, teens, and adults in your life....more
Out of the five finalists for the INSPY Speculative Award for this year, this one was my least favorite. While it wasn’t neOriginal review posted here
Out of the five finalists for the INSPY Speculative Award for this year, this one was my least favorite. While it wasn’t nearly as awful as another book I recently read, it still walked a very fine line between preaching (and the subsequent talking down feel) and storytelling.
I had high hopes – dragons, princesses, strange names – all were in abundance and can usually equal the ingredients for an interesting, if not thrilling story. Instead I got a very tame fairy-tale that seemed to be catering to 12 year old girls and not the adults it appeared to be marketed for.
There are so many issues today with Christian fiction. With the exception of a few authors, most books are like this – watered down stories that instead of conveying a powerful message, instead give a simplified message for fear of offending one of the readers.
Bring on the offense – I crave strong reactions that test my belief and make me constantly examine them to determine whether they are made up by myself or truly beliefs given to me by God....more