This book had me completely hooked from the first page. Our main character, Rain, gave upSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This book had me completely hooked from the first page. Our main character, Rain, gave up her baby ten years ago after the father died in Iraq. She is haunted by this decision and turns into an addict to dull the pain. Now she is clean and sober and trying to get her life back together.
The story starts with Rain who wakes up to find she has missed a whole day. She shows up a day late for a job interview and on that trek strange things start to occur for her. A woman gives her a pair of reading glasses and she can see things no one else can through the lenses. Rain is haunted by a man named Doctor Nine. He is allowing her to witness things and people she wishes she didn't.
I'll admit this story sounds really out there, but it is so well written I bet you will find yourself falling down the rabbit right along with Rain as she meets other people who know of Doctor Nine and are witnessing some strange things, too. I enjoyed this book from start to finish and would recommend it to fans of Joe Hill's "N0S4A2". It was really creepy and atmospheric. ...more
This story was really engaging. I really liked Leigh and her almost boyfriend Axel. I thiSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This story was really engaging. I really liked Leigh and her almost boyfriend Axel. I think their relationship was really sweet and really interesting. They are both artists and use similar mediums but do different things. I think art fans will find some really interesting things to connect with in this story.
Leigh has a complex relationship with her father. He doesn’t really support her art. He wasn’t really on board with her going to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents either. Then he just leaves her there even though there is a huge language barrier for her. That seemed really strange to me. In order for this YA to work the parents had to be almost completely absent though, so that was convenient.
The best thing about this story is the way that Leigh learns to embrace her mother’s culture. Her mother really became Americanized after marrying her father. Although she still does have an accent, which I could actually hear as I read the book. Leigh doesn’t know much about where her mother came from. This story is Leigh’s first visit to Taiwan and her first meeting of her mother’s relatives.
There is also a love interest that Leigh remembers and receives communication from via email. I really enjoyed this bit because it softened the blow for Leigh after loosing her Mother, even if the relationship was really complicated. It did have a lot of sweet scenes.
THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER is a book about grief, hope, love, family, and self discovery. I think this will be loved by readers who enjoy magical realism and immersion in other cultures. It does have a touch of the fantastical like all magical realism, so be prepared for some unbelievable events. As a bonus, this book details vivid scenes and so much food it made me hungry....more
This was such an original story. If you enjoy real characters with a mythology and culturSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This was such an original story. If you enjoy real characters with a mythology and culture all their own, this is something you simply MUST read.
This is the story of a people fighting for their freedom (and their magic) from the tyrants in power that stole it from them. It is about owning who you are and embracing your destiny. The characters are so relatable as they make mistakes in their journey, but they also face the biggest fears and fight for what they know is right.
I highly recommend this epic tale with masterful worldbuilding and unforgettable characters....more
I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I pick up this book. I thought it would be an adventure, and it was, but it was terribly long. Tess’ backstI wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I pick up this book. I thought it would be an adventure, and it was, but it was terribly long. Tess’ backstory was by far the most interesting part of this story. She did something to shame her family and so as the oldest twin she allows everyone to think her sister is the older one, so she can get married first. Once Tess finds a suitor for her sister, she runs away from home. On the way, she picks up her old nanny, who just happens to be a quigutl. I can’t even begin to describe what a quigutl is other than they are kind of gross sounding and are not socially acceptable travel companions. Tess is an outspoken alcoholic and it has a lot to do with things in her past. Once the secrets Tess has been holding in are revealed the story is much easier to like. The problem is getting there. This story is almost too long for what it is trying to accomplish....more
This story started off with all the siblings young and daring enough to ask a traveling pSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This story started off with all the siblings young and daring enough to ask a traveling psychic when their date of death will be. They each have different feelings about how accurate she actually is, but with the date in mind they all become tainted with the information.
This story is broken into sections with a focus on each sibling, going from soonest date of death to furthest. At it’s core, this is a book about siblings and how different they can be. Indeed all of these characters choose very different paths for themselves, even with the information they are given in their childhood.
To be honest, the date of death for them is not the point of this story. This could have been about any four people who live their lives to the fullest of their ability. It was hard to keep in mind that these four people were related because they all were so very different.
I enjoyed both Simon and Klara’s stories. They both want the most out of life and I think they lived exactly as they wanted. Both endings were sad and I missed them as the story progressed beyond them. I resented both Daniel and Vayra for having longer lives that felt wasted on bigger questions without much living going on.
At some point, around Daniel’s POV, the story takes a very unbelievable turn. Daniel’s story didn’t bring much to the table. He does ask some big questions about religion, but then his story fizzles out as he goes on a quest. His quest is spurred on by a detective who has no business in this story, in my opinion.
By the time I got to Varya and her eccentricities, I was pretty turned off by this story. We missed a big part of what happened to Varya when she was younger and I felt it was a cheap trick for the author to spring that on the reader after disclosing so much about Klara and Simon.
I am torn on how to rate this. I did enjoy this book for the most part, but I felt it veered off course from it’s promising beginning. Although I found this book interesting, I felt very disconnected from the characters....more
THE PASSION OF CLEOPATRA picks up a few months after THE MUMMY. I have to admit I didn’tSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
THE PASSION OF CLEOPATRA picks up a few months after THE MUMMY. I have to admit I didn’t re-read THE MUMMY before reading this book and I feel like maybe that was a mistake. Perhaps a re-read of both books would give me a better perspective. Honestly, I don’t think it matters because the authors have done a great job of explaining, without great detail, how we got to this point in the story. I would recommend reading the first book at some point before picking this book up though.
Ramses is with his now immortal lover, Julie. They are to be married and their happiness in love is where the story starts. The have a little turmoil dealing with Julie’s ex-fiancé, but he actually turns out to be their one of their biggest supporters and even throws an engagment party for them. It actually ends up being a good thing for everyone. The only real problem is that Ramses has made this terrible mistake with trying to revive Cleopatra in her mummified state. Now they all have a reason to fear her wrath. It turns out she is not the only thing Ramses and Julie really need to fear.
This story introduces us to a happier Ramses. He is still ‘Ramses the Damned’, but now he is not alone. Also, he is going by the name Reginald Ramsey and finding a good place in society. I loved to see Ramses finally content and actually living in the world and not just witnessing time passing. Well, almost content. Ramses is haunted by what he did to Cleopatra even though he does not love her anymore. Cleopatra doesn’t really show up until later in the story, but she is constantly on their minds. Then along with Cleopatra we are introduced to something much older than Ramses and someone not immortal who plays a vital role in this story.
Cleopatra struggles with her new role in this time and the gaps in her memory. Is life worth living if we can’t remember our past? That is the question Cleopatra brings to this story. She wants everything back, but she can’t even remember what she is missing.
I don’t want to spoil anything, so I will just leave it at that.
Anne Rice has teamed up with her son, Christopher Rice to finally complete this story. I can’t even say that it is truly complete because, like all Anne Rice books, there could be more. I didn’t even know that Christopher Rice was a writer. If his books are all like this, you can bet I will be reading whatever he pens. This book was so in the classic Anne Rice style that I love.
The time period that this story takes place is not modern, so it read like historical fiction. The story ends as the great WW is starting and although I felt like I was experiencing it for myself, I worried about what would happen to all these lovely characters during war time. This isn’t something I ever remember reading about in an Anne Rice book so it really took me by surprise.
I would highly recommend this to fans of THE MUMMY. I would also recommend this series to people whom might enjoy reading about immortals that do not have to take life to live forever. I hope these two pen more books about Ramses because there were a few loose ends and so much more that I wish we would have explored. I would love to read more of Ramses adventures....more
So I went into A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS hoping it would have the same feel as the GSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
So I went into A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS hoping it would have the same feel as the GoT show series. I was not disappointed. It really feels like the show and I was happy with how well the scenes were described. The characters of Duncan (Dunk) and Egg are well developed. We get to know them as they are now and learn how they became the people they are today. Duncan is absolutely the main character, but since this journey involves Egg as his squire we see him a lot, but we do not get his perspective.
Dunk was born a nobody bastard boy who just happens to have squired by a good knight who knighted him shortly before his death. His master taught Dunk that he should be merciful and to do the right thing.
“A hedge knight must hold tight to his pride. Without it, he was no more than a sellsword”
“A hedge knight is the truest kind of knight, Dunk,” the old man had told him, a long long time ago. “Other knights serve the lords who keep them, or from whom they hold their lands, but we serve where we will, for men whose causes we believe in. Every knight swears to protect the weak and the innocent, but we keep the vow best I think.”
Dunk aspires to be a “real” knight and not just a hedge knight who feels and acts like an outcast. Hedge knights actually live in the hedges of society even though they are knights. In this time of the Seven Kingdoms, knights are not all defined by their deeds. Duncan is not so smart, but he has a big heart and does the right thing no matter what the cost.
“Dunk the lunk, thick as a castle wall.”
Lucky for Dunk, Egg is very wise. He is bold and not really as a squire should. Egg is actually Aegon Targaryen, little brother of Aemon Targaryen. He is in disguise and he learns so much about this kingdom through Dunks trials. Although there is royalty in this story, this is not about that. This is a story about the other people, the little people, living in Westeros....more
A CONSPIRACY OF STARS takes place on a distant planet called Faloiv. Octavia’s grandparenSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
A CONSPIRACY OF STARS takes place on a distant planet called Faloiv. Octavia’s grandparents and other scientists have crash landed on. The big job on this planet is to become a ‘whitecoat’ scientist, studying the animals of Faloiv. Everything changes when Olivia witnesses a native Falvoii being attacked and captured by the scientists in the council of N’Terra. With a little help from her friends, Octavia must learns the truth about what her family and other scientists on the planet are actually trying to accomplish.
This book starts with Octavia living her life. We learn about the place she lives as the story progresses. Octavia is somewhat sheltered by her parents, the school, and even her living quarters. The world starts small for Octavia and then as she learns more the world opens up for Octavia and the reader.
This world is completely unconventional in it’s eco-structure and natural habitats. The native people living on this planet are Faloii, they look different and they have freakish spots on their skin that moves. They don’t communicate only verbally and that’s part of what makes them, and this planet, so unusual.
We don’t see much of the outside world. The story really focuses on the settlement that Octavia lives in, N’Terra. N’Terra is divided into sections depending on what job people have and what the scientists in each section are studying. This settlement is primarily academic as the first settlers were mostly composed of scientists. Where they were headed and what their actual goal was in traveling is not covered in the story.
The creatures of this world are all extraordinary in their appearance and skill set. Octavia and her classmates only know the creatures of this world and even they find them fascinating and worthy of study. People can’t actually survive in the wilds of Faloiv, so understanding how the animals do is the key to living on this planet. Studying the native species on Faloiv is the primary focus of the people living in N’Terra. Only through science can they learn how to live better on this rough planet.
The main focus of this story is friendship as Octavia tries to understand something she witnesses and the coldness in her parents marriage. All of the characters are important to move this story forward. Octavia does have a romantic interest in this story in one of her classmates named Rhondo. I liked the slow build of these two and they eventually progress into a partnership of necessity as they are thrust into danger.
I really enjoyed this story. Even though some of seemed really far out. I would highly recommend it to science fiction fans. It brings up some good questions about how far we should really go in the name of science. There were a lot of unanswered questions but I think this story ended in a really good place. I will definitely be reading the sequel....more
My immediate feelings for this book were not good. The story starts off with Rahim, and hSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
My immediate feelings for this book were not good. The story starts off with Rahim, and his story isn’t that interesting to me. I disliked this beginning so much I almost quit this book before it even got started. The story quickly switched to Javan and then I really started to enjoy it. I like Javan so much that I was full of angst at what happened to him upon leaving school. I rooted for him throughout the book.
Javan is a “good” person who has been doing all the “right” things to become a fair and worthy king. He spends all his time at school studying and really deserves to be labeled the best student. I liked him for all these reasons, and the fact that he was a skilled fighter. His proper speech and the way he holds himself becomes a dead giveaway when he gets to the prison. I really liked that the story set him up be good at fighting and to have a good heart as well.
Of course, the romance between Javan and Sajda was an entertaining thing to imagine as they start off so scared of each other. Sajda is actually a slave to the warden and is hiding a terrible secret. Sajda brings a lot to this story, both good and bad, and I rooted for her to have a happy ending almost as much as I rooted for Javan.
Although the religion of this world isn’t overdone, Javan is a very devout character. He is on this knees begging daily for justice. This story was full of corrupt villains and evil schemes. We get POVs from Javan, Rahim, and Sadja. It was nice to read the struggles and motivations for each character. I even ended up feeling kinda bad for Rahim.
I really enjoyed this story. It was such a nice break from reality. I feel like I need to go back and read the rest of this series, since it all takes place in the same world. THE TRAITOR PRINCE was cleverly written and thoroughly enjoyable. I would highly recommend this to YA fantasy fans....more
Five reasons to read THE QUEEN’S RISING by Rebecca Ross:
The main character, Brienna, hasSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
Five reasons to read THE QUEEN’S RISING by Rebecca Ross:
The main character, Brienna, has mysterious origins and she isn’t perfect.
She doesn’t know who her father actually is, only that he is Maevanian. The world is in a bit of turmoil since the king of Maevana has overthrown the kingdom of Valenia. Brienna grows up in Valenia and she is half of each kingdom, so it made her loyalties a bit muddled. Despite being thrown into some odd situations, she makes the best of every situation. I enjoyed seeing a female character that trusted and loved so much.
Brienna has a lot of self doubt that I think most people will find relatable.
Brienna is surrounded by child prodigies who study for seven years in one passion. She isn’t sure where her passion is when she arrives at school. She tries her hand at art, music, drama, and wit before finally settling on knowledge. So what should have been 7 years of knowledge, she has to cram in 3 short years. I think her struggle to know who she is really is starts at an early age and carries through her school years.
There is a lot of sisterly love without a lot of rivalry.
It is so nice to see girls encourage and hold each other up instead of constantly comparing themselves to each other. Brienna goes to school with all girls and she comes to love them all as her sisters. I loved seeing how these girls come together and really love and root for each other to be successful.
The writing was so good.
The world building in this story is pretty amazing. I could really imagine each scene easily with the author’s descriptive writing, which was not over the top. There didn’t seem to be any info dumps, yet the world was clearly explained. The cultures of each kingdom are clearly defined so it is easy to understand why Valenians might be upset to see a daughter of Maevana end up a master of the passion of knowledge.
The story flowed really well.
There are parts to this story and each one builds up on the next; Brienna as a child being dropped off Magnolia House, Brienna trying to fit in at something, Brienna studying hard to learn master knowledge, Brienna and her “patron” planning to over throw a kingdom, and finally the shocking twist that I didn’t see coming. The main part of this story is of Brienna and her peers in the last year of school, trying to secure a “patron” who will take them on as an apprentice.
THE QUEEN’S RISING ended with a few shocking twists and a bit of a cliffhanger. I can’t wait to see where the author takes this story next!...more
Let’s cut to the chase, this book explores something I have NEVER seen in YA. I am talkinSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
Let’s cut to the chase, this book explores something I have NEVER seen in YA. I am talking about a character that is attracted to both female and males. Bisexuality is nowhere in YA and I am so happy with the way the author portrayed in this book. I mean, yes there was action and a pretty good story to follow, but more importantly the character doesn’t offer apologies or explanations for the way that she is. Asra is bisexual and it doesn’t need to be explained.
The other thing that stood out to me about this book was the fact that Asra is an empathetic character. It is possible to have great power and still put the needs of other before yourself. As you read the book you see it doesn’t always work out for the best for Asra, but she still ends up where she needs to be. There aren’t enough characters with power and empathy. Asra has both and that makes her a hero to me. I know some may get frustrated by her but I loved this about her.
The writing in this book is very descriptive. I love descriptive writing and I could almost draw this world for you, because I was there thanks to the details the author provided. The characters were very well drawn, too. Ina and the king are both very well written characters. There were a few other characters that I grew to love in this story but I don’t want to give away too much.
This story is suppose to have happened 200 years before the events in OF FIRE AND STARS. This book could absolutely be read as a standalone. I would recommend this to fantasy fans especially if you are looking for a book with a LGBT theme that isn’t the only thing the story contains. INKMISTRESS was beautifully done....more
THE COINCIDENCE MAKERS follows coincidence makers as they set up events and people to altSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
THE COINCIDENCE MAKERS follows coincidence makers as they set up events and people to alter their fates. How they know what to do isn’t evident at first but through flash backs we get the whole concept. This story is really about Guy, a coincidence makers as he laments the loss of his one true love.
Guy trains with two other coincidence makers named Emily and Eric. Their work brings to mind so many questions about what really qualifies as a coincidence and who might be behind the coincidences in our lives.Their job is to create circumstances for a person to choose a different path. In this book we meet a poet who toils away as an accountant, a waitress who needs to meet her true love, a man who needs to hear a phrase, and a man who needs saving from being assassinated.
Each mission starts with an envelope under Guy’s door. He doesn’t know where they come from. The envelopes contain the person to be influenced and what needs to happen. The rest is up to Guy to figure out. He doesn’t know why these coincidences need setting up. Guy used to be an imaginary friend. Guy flashbacks to this time of his life in between coincidence maker jobs and he remembers how he met his love and how his imaginary friend adventures ended.
The coincidences themselves might be my favorite part of this story. I loved seeing how each element revealed itself to be part of a much bigger picture. There is so much going on in these characters lives that impact so many things. It is really mind blowing how each coincidence is set up and the fact that no one knows what is behind the reasons.
I can’t really say too much about the story itself because it unfolds so beautifully I would hate to spoil this for someone. I would highly recommend this to readers who enjoy a thought provoking read wrapped up in a fantasy....more
This book was a stand-alone that I almost wish has a sequel. THE HAZEL WOOD was such a faSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This book was a stand-alone that I almost wish has a sequel. THE HAZEL WOOD was such a fantastical story. Alice seems normal and at the point where we meet her, she is living a pretty normal existence. She lives with her mother and step-father. They are wealthy but Alice knows her mother is not happy. Soon they will probably be moving, as they have been doing since Alice was a baby.
Alice is the perfect blank slate character. She is just as confused as we are in this story. She doesn’t understand her past and doesn’t have any real friends except maybe her sister-in-law. After Ella is kidnapped, Alice sets out with one of her Althea’s fanatic fans to find The Hazel Wood. For Finch, this is the trip of a life time. For Alice, this trip is a life and death mission to find and rescue Ella.
The beginning of this story is slow and then the story picks up around the time that Ella gets kidnapped. From there, the story turns into a real magical mystery and the story gets kinda dark. There were points in this adventure to find The Hazel Wood that I was genuinely afraid. Once we find the Hazel Wood the story flips and bends and we go sideways. It was pretty amazing.
My favorite parts of this story, other than the creepy scenes, were the parts where Finch retold the stories in Althea’s book to Alice. I can’t reveal too much more other than to say that. THE HAZEL WOOD surprised me in the best sort of way. I loved this book and I highly recommend this. If you enjoyed EVERY HEART A DOORWAY by Seanan McGuire, than THE HAZEL WOOD is something you will probably also enjoy. I was lucky enough to read them back to back and even though they are by different authors, they have the same dark atmosphere....more
This story follows two main characters, Nahri and Ali. Nahri starts off in Cairo doing whSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This story follows two main characters, Nahri and Ali. Nahri starts off in Cairo doing what she does best; stealing money and healing people. Nahri has a natural affinity for healing and uses this talent in ceremonies to cleanse and heal people and places. In once such ceremony, she accidentally calls a daeva warrior. The presence of this warrior also calls a djinn warrior, The Scourge, Dara. Dara is of fire affinity and he uses his powers to protect Nahri as he takes her to the hidden city of Daevabad, The City of Brass. He hopes she will take her place in the court as head healer and make the king realize that even mixed bloods need to be treated equally.
Ali is the second son to the king of Daevabad. This kingdom is dealing with all sorts of turmoil from rebellions and traitors living in the palace. Ali is new to court life as he was raised in the citadel, as a warrior, with the sole purpose of protecting his brother, Muntadhir. Ali is not happy with the way the mixed tribes in the city are treated and invests money to try to help the orphans in the city. For a warrior, he has a soft heart. Ali is loyal to his brother, but he is not happy with the way the city is ruled.
The two stories start off completely separate but come together towards the middle of this book. Nahri travels a long distance with Dara to get to Daevabad. She doesn’t trust him at all at first but she knows he is keeping her safe. They travel on foot and by magic carpet. Dara is a wealth of knowledge about Nahri’s true heritage but he holds so much back from her. Eventually they do come to an understanding about each other. By the time they actually get to the city Nahri is very attached to Dara but she also learns how much he didn’t tell her about his past.
There are so many elements to this story that I can’t possibly explain it here. The scenes are beautifully set and I could completely feel the chill in the air, the heat from the fire, the blisters on my feet, and so much more that these characters go through. This story is also full of prejudices and I was disgusted at the injustices described in this story. As anyone should be.
There is so much magic in this story as well. The rules for the magic are well explained. Nahri is half human half djinn and we learn the rules for magic and how the city works right along with her. She is kept mainly inside while Ali, also a newcomer to the city, allows us to see what is going on beyond the king’s watchful eye. Between these two characters, we get a good feel for how the people are suffering under this ruler.
There is so much mythology weaved into this story. This story was told with so much intelligence and wonder. Along with the magic all around we learn the history of these tribes but not exactly where Nahri comes from. Her origins will have a real impact on this place and I can’t wait to find out what that impact will be. Ali also seems to have an important part to play and I can hardly believe where he ended up.
Ooh I better tell you that this epic fantasy included a map aaaaaaaaand a glossary. The author knew people like me would need a little help keeping things straight. My eARC did not include a map but you better believe I am adding this hardcover to my bookshelf.
I am so excited that this is just the start of a trilogy. If you are looking for a fantastical story with diversity and epic adventure this is a book you need to read....more
Nemesis has now fully come out as a Diabolic to the universe. The girl Nemesis was genetiSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
Nemesis has now fully come out as a Diabolic to the universe. The girl Nemesis was genetically engineered to protect is dead and her affinity for Tyrus, the next Emperor, is full blown. Everything is good for Tyrus and Nemesis, except the ruling class, the Grandiloquy, doesn’t accept a diabolic as being a person. There is also a religious faction that is the popular enough to make real trouble for Tyrus when he announces that Nemesis will be his bride and Empress. I rooted so hard for Tyrus and Nemesis to be happy and accepted. The author had other things in mind though.
It took me a minute acclimated to who was who in this story. It jumps right in with Tyrus ruling and Nemesis by his side. They aren’t married yet, but the plans are in the works. They are a good team. I loved how Tyrus and Nemesis trust each other above all others. They thwart quite a few assassination plots as some would rather see Tyrus’ cousin on the throne.
You’d think this would just be a cat and mouse game of Tyrus and Nemesis fighting off the evil in the universe. It definitely starts off like that, but then the author throws in these clever twists that make failing the most probable outcome. This story really kept me on my toes. By the time I hit the middle of the story, I was completely ignoring those around me to read this book and figure out how the lovers would get out of this.
The futuristic technology in this series gets more of an explanation in this installment. In book one it was science versus religion, and this book explains why. The person responsible for all of that will be known. There is also heavy use of narcotics in this book. I don’t remember much of that from book one, but Nemesis was so new to the universe we discover all the dirty details along with her.
Although the story does take us, once again, traveling through space and exploring, the details were not as descriptive as they were in the first book. I didn’t understand some of the scenes, especially in space, but it didn’t really matter since it wasn’t the point of the story. The struggle between the characters was the whole point of this story.
I loved that the author kept this whole story in Nemesis’ POV. We know everything she knows and yet we are all in the dark at what is going on behind closed doors. Nemesis still feels like a diabolic in this story, but she does have some things happen to her which opens here eyes to what it really means to be weak, and fully human.
It seems like some characters were new to me, but they probably were introduced in the first book and just didn’t seem as important at the time. Maybe reading book one then this book would have cleared things up for me. Once again, it didn’t really matter to me enough to take away from this story. I just thought I would mention it here, in case you are like me and forget character details a year later. Character relationships are important in the progression of this story line.
In the end, the author did things to make me feel some kind of way. Things are not working out the way I thought they would. Maybe you will see it coming. I held out hope for other things. I guess I still do. Admittedly, I didn’t love this book as much as book one but I would still highly recommend it. It is a really good science fiction series with a kick-ass heroine. There is no way I could not read the next book in this series. I need to see what happens next....more
This story is pure Russian folklore complete with a sleepy little town surrounded by a vaSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This story is pure Russian folklore complete with a sleepy little town surrounded by a vast wilderness and a seemingly endless winter. Everyone in Vasilisa‘s, (Vasya), hometown worships both God and the spirits that haunt the town. They leave offerings for the spirits and the spirits protect them from evil. When Vasya father remarries a nutter who sees and is frightened by the spirits, and a new holy man comes to town, they convince the people to turn away from the spirits and stick to worshiping the “one true god”. That’s when everything gets really bad and dark for the people of her town. Vasya may be the only one with gifts dark enough to protect her people, but at what cost.
This story builds slowly introducing Vasya and her family, most of whom practice the old ways. The town sees Vasya as a witch and wild child who runs off into the forest getting into all sorts of trouble. The story begins with Vasya‘s birth in those woods and her mother’s death. This sets Vasya up to be raised by a father who loves her fiercely, but isn’t quite sure what to do with her. It doesn’t help that all his other children are pretty normal and want normal lives of being married and making children, things which Vasya seems to have no interest in.
The story includes some interesting characters, one of whom is a horse named Nightingale. They also include a pair of brothers who are demons of the woods and of winter itself that no one but Vasya and her half-crazed step mother can see. The story is told in lyrical prose that might be a bit hard to follow at first. Once I figured out the rhythm of the story, I got really into Vasya‘s story, but I admit it took me a while.
Although the story moves forward at an awkward pace, I felt every scene and could easily imagine the environment of each character. There is good and evil, but it is more a story about living in the grey. When a girl is born different she opens the eyes of everyone she encounters to the supernatural all around them.
Although this book tells a complete story, I am really looking forward to where the author will take the characters next. There were a few loose ends but I am sated by the conclusion to this story. This story so much of an experience of the senses. THE BEAR AND NIGHTINGALE will appeal to readers who love superstition and fear as the main tone of a fairy tale. It is an adult book about Russian folklore and it is beautifully written....more
Jules lives in a world where time can be bled away and used as currency. She lives in a vSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
Jules lives in a world where time can be bled away and used as currency. She lives in a village close to the royal city of Everless. Jules finds her father bleeding out too much of his time just to pay the rent in their shabby home so she decides to take a job in Everless, where she can earn more then they need to live. Everless is the place her and her father ran from 10 years earlier, a place her father forbids her to go. For her father, Jules will go back to Everless hoping that she won’t be recognized. In Everless Jules finds herself in the middle of the mystery of her family, her heritage, and the royal line that holds the people of Everless in check.
Jules was such an amazing character. I found all the characters to be very well developed. Although we are only really follow Jules, everyone was fleshed out and given depth. I loved that Jules was so relateable. She does exactly what I would have done in her situation. Her journey is full of danger and questions that must be answered.
The currency of this world is time. Most people use time to pay the bills and earn time as they work. The royalty in Everless spend time like it is nothing. The author is careful to remind the reader that every luxury afforded the royals was bled from some poor soul. They use time to flavor their drinks, to breath life in to landscapes, and to buy secrets and trust from people working in this royal city.
EVERLESS had great world building and I loved the descriptive language. There are some modern conveniences but most of them exist due to the time being used to make things better. I don’t have the vocabulary to describe how this works, but the author was able to convey the idea easily enough for me to understand. It was very believable. People are still uses horses and swords and making things by hand, too. It all seemed effortlessly blended and will actually make sense when you read this story.
There wasn’t a real love interest in this story. There were some hints at romance, but it isn’t the main focus. I loved that about this book. There was a lot of secrecy in this story. People are lying and Jules is being lied to at almost every turn. I loved the suspense. There was a definite need for haste in this story as Jules is in some horrible situation. Jules faces off with some of her deepest fears. I really didn’t guess where the story was headed as the story twisted and turned in directions I did not see coming.
The bottom line is that I highly recommend this book. Science fiction and fantasy fans will probably enjoy this book. I might suggest that you wait until the next book comes out. You are going to want to read it right away. I can’t wait to see what happens next!...more
The main character of this book, Jude, is a girl who was stolen away into a land of fairiSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
The main character of this book, Jude, is a girl who was stolen away into a land of fairies and magic. Her and her twin sister, Taryn, are just along for the ride as her older sister, Vivi, is all Madoc (Vivi’s real father) really wanted. Their mother was Madoc’s Fae bride but fled as soon as could to live in the mortal world. When Madoc found them he kills their mother and the twins father right in front of the children before stealing them away to live him in the land of Faerie. Vivi is half Fae and really hates being in Faerie. Jude and Taryn can’t leave since they are mere mortals so they make the best of their situation.
THE CRUEL PRINCE is Jude’s story of wanting to be something more than she is. Madoc does right by the twins despite the fact that they are mortals and allows them to believe that they can fit in.This is a story about fulfilling the dream of your destiny, and it is also a story about not letting bullies keep you down. Jude and her sister, but especially Jude, are constantly picked on for being mortal. They can’t help who they are any more than the Fae can help being born Fae. Here we have some parallels to the real world and what some people go through just for being different.
The thing that really blew me away about this book, is that the main character is not the special snowflake. Yea, she is different from the people who live in her world, but so is Taryn, her twin, whose big aspiration is to marry well. Jude really wants to fight for the king. Jude is secretly employed by the favored next king to spy on his enemies. It's an exciting job for Jude. Things don't happen the way they should for this king-to-be and it's all tangled up for Jude. Now she has to make some decisions about where her loyalty actually lays.
Also, she struggles with what people see when they look at her and her own view of herself. Her need to fit in is palpable, but these Fae brats won’t let her play their reindeer games. They are powerful and dangerous. One is particularly cruel to her and she hates him but she can’t even talk back. This brat is royalty and she is a mere mortal. He's a cruel prince and his hatred for Jude is just unjustified. The Fae have absolute power and can make humans do things, it is really wicked.
The only thing I can say that was a little troubling was that her big sister, Vivi by being Fae, has the ability to travel back to the human world, and she really wants to go there and never return. Because just being Vivi’s little sisters is what got their parents killed and forced them to grow up mortal in Faerie, Vivi stays with her sisters. I hate that they can just back back anytime they want by asking their sister to take them. This makes me think that part of the next story might just take place in the human world. I really hope I am wrong because the land of Faerie is something I really want to explore more of. I have faith that Holly Black can make the mortal world interesting, I just want to spend more time in Faerie.
I would highly recommend this book to fantasy fans, especially to those who like Fae books. I would also say that those looking for a different type of YA protagonist might want to pick this up. Jude is badass but she is nothing compared to the Fae. This was a tense, but highly enjoyable read and I can’t wait for the sequel. ...more
The thing is that I really enjoyed Wintersong. I couldn’t wait for this book to be released. I so wanted to read more about Liesl and the music that wThe thing is that I really enjoyed Wintersong. I couldn’t wait for this book to be released. I so wanted to read more about Liesl and the music that was in that book. This book went in a completely different direction. The romance that seemed to bloom between Liesl and the Goblin King doesn’t seem to exist in this book. This book was primarily told in dialogue and parts of it went in circles. There was an adventure and that was fun. This book took place mainly in
Vienna which was nice to explore. The main relationship in this story was between Liesl and her brother. Although he is part of the lore told about in Wintersong, this book did not explore more of that lore, or the underground. The last 25% of the book was pretty good but overall I was unsatisfied with this series ender....more
This story is about a kick-ass rebel named Zara who ends up being picked for the Honors pSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This story is about a kick-ass rebel named Zara who ends up being picked for the Honors program.
As an Honor, Zara will be sent into space for one-year. Her job will be tough as she and her fellow Honors will be working closely with (actually inside of) Leviathan, an alien ship species. The goal is to learn as much as she can exploring space while the Leviathan get to study our species. The thing is, Zara isn’t really interested in any of that. She just needs to stay her ass out of jail, and away from the mobsters who want revenge.
Zara chose to be emancipated in New Detroit, instead of going with her Mother and sister to live on the crowded colony on Mars. After escaping the clutches of her father’s madness, she is a true rebel in every sense of the word. She relies on herself and she steals what she wants. She rejects all the modern advances for a life of freedom. She may be a petty criminal, but she still has her dignity.
When Zara meets Nadim, the alien space ship she and her partner will be traveling in, they form a friendship. First it is just out of loneliness, then it grows to something more. When Zara realizes the real reason they chose her to join the Honors, Zara and her partner Beatriz must figure out how to help Nadim stay alive and learn all the secrets he keeps from them.
Zara and Nadim share a special relationship. I was as intrigued as Zara was to learn about the alien spaceship species. The relationship builds slowly and kept my interest the whole time. The conversations start off like anyone might imagine and then they get deeper. Zara and Beatriz share a special bond, too. They find a great way to work together using their own strengths to make up for each other’s shortcomings. The main theme of this book was Zara’s ability to learn to trust someone to take care of her.
Most of this story takes place on the ship called Nadim in the year 2142. Zara lives in an environment close to what we know now in New Detroit. Her exposure to modern technology is as our would be, because even though it is available, she isn’t used to it at all. Both Beatriz and Zara grow protective of Nadim and they each have their own nooks in the ship to call home. Despite all the technological advances, it easy to imagine the space Zara and Beatriz call home. The writers did a seamless job telling the story and describing the scenes.
The cool thing about this book, other than everything I just mentioned, is that Zara is such a cool character. She goes from rags to riches, or more like from our time into the far off future in technology. She isn’t very smart, but she doesn’t lack for courage. The whole set up for this book is pretty amazing. The world building is well explained without info dumps. It was also full of descriptive language that helped me to “see” what was going on.
I am really looking forward to the next book in this series. Kudos to the authors for creating such an amazing series starter. I highly recommend this to young adult science fiction fans!...more
THE TWELVE introduces a slew of new(-ish) charactersSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren See my full review for THE PASSAGE
THE TWELVE introduces a slew of new(-ish) characters and go back to the origins of the virus. We then follow a timeline with those characters to present day, where all of the heroes from book one live. This book introduces us to a society of vampire-virals maintaining life off the blood of one of the originals. This new breed to vampire-virals have all their mental facilities and keep their mindless viral brethren locked in a basement. Whenever one of the humans living in the community tries to speak out, escape, or not follow orders from the vampire–virals they go straight to the basement to face their death. Our heroes are trying to learn about the community and then they decide to infiltrate it using guise of a rebellion under the name Sergio.
First, what I liked about this book:
*Peter, Amy, Caleb, Lyla, Lawrence, Lish, Hollis, Sarah, Kate, and many more…basically all the heroes of this story. *Lyla and Lawrence meeting for the first time and then when she takes him home. *Sarah/Dani dealing with Lyla and her daughter Kate. *Insurgency! *What happens in the stadium at the end.
What I didn’t like about this book:
*Too many new characters that weren’t even relevant to the story. *The “community” itself seemed to come out of nowhere. *The flimsy plan they make at the end to evacuate everyone that seems impossible. *Lish’s transformation. *Peter leaving Caleb to invade this community in the first place? *The introduction of a different kind of viral, I thought these people had enough problems. *Why didn’t the Twelve get rid of these new kind of virals by themselves in the first place?
As you can see, there were things I liked and didn’t like about the this story. The thing is that this follow up didn’t have all the feels or grab me like the first book did. The main thing I want to convey is that I will never get the 26 hours and 26 minutes it took to listen to this book back. It really felt like middle book syndrome since there were about 100 better avenues this author could of explored before we get to Zero (what the final book is about).
That’s not to say I hated this book, just that I am frustrated that it was not as good as I had hoped it would be. Also, as time passed quickly in THE PASSAGE, it does not stop for the events in this book to take place. My other source of frustration is of these characters wasting their time together, even their very lives on this crazy quest to kill the twelve. After all that they go through I know that they are not happier for it.
All I want is for these characters to be happy and safe, is that too much to ask? Since I already have a signed copy of THE CITY OF MIRRORS, of course I will be reading it. I hope it is just as exciting as THE PASSAGE was....more
There were some great things about this book. First, Fae. I can’t remember the last timeSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
There were some great things about this book. First, Fae. I can’t remember the last time I picked up a book with Fae characters and I loved their secret world. There is also royalty since The Queen of Rage and Fire and the King of Fire and Truth feature prominently in this story. There are Seelie and Unseelie courts. There is some sacrifice made to the Queen and it got me wondering if she was a good or bad queen. Either way I was on board to get to know her.
The second thing that is kinda cool is the ships that happen in this story. There are two major ones for me and I doubt I could say which one I liked over the other. It is fun when teenage love is explored for the reader with all the feelings of forever. That is the kind of relationships I like to see in YA.
We get to know all the characters pretty well. There is Lilywhite, Creed (musician who Lily fancies), Zephyr (the leader of the group and most loyal to the Queen), Violet (a free spirit nature lover), Alkamy (a starlet who loves Zephyr), Roam and Will (who love each other but we don’t learn much about them individually). They also each have at least one affinity to either air, water, earth or fire. Only strong Fae have more than one and the most powerful have all four.
There was also these fun Abernathy commandments Lilywhite recounts in her head through out the story. Those commandments were things her father (the crime lord) taught her. Later in the story the Black Diamonds seem to have their own commandments although they are not as numerous, and not repeated nearly as much.
My problems with this book are world building. Given everything I just said about the hidden world and courts that seems odd, I know. Hear me out. I couldn’t “see” anything in this story. Most of the book is dialogue with one or two descriptions dropped in. I didn’t find out where these conversations were taken place until late in the talking. I am the kind of reader who need descriptive details, and not just about what the characters look like.
I also didn’t like that these diamonds are at school, but there is not school-ish things mentioned in this whole story. Since they are so powerful and/or famous, why do they need that school anyways. The school is never really eplained, just the dorms where a lot of conversations take place. I left this book feeling sad that it didn’t explain much but I was hopeful that the sequel would clear things up for me....more
I have to admit I forgot some of the characters and ships going into this book, so it took me a few chapters to catch up. Once I figured out what was going on, I was completely hooked, again. I still have my personal favorite but all three of these Queens have grown and changed so much from who they were in book one.
The story starts off with all three sisters now having free reign to kill each other. Some are getting better at it, some are even more hesitant, and some choose an alliance I can’t see working out for all parties involved.There will be plenty of chances for these three Queens to face off as the houses love putting these three together for sport.
The sisters gain depth and get fleshed out in this installment.
Katherine, The Poisoner and my personal favorite, becomes this dark and powerful Queen hell bent on claiming the crown. I loved that the once weakest Queen is now clearly on top, for some reason, but she and her house are absolutely ruthless in their pursuit.
Arsinoe, The Naturalist, is much changed now that her true gift has been revealed. Her objective is to stay alive long enough to figure out how to use it to her advantage. Arsinoe grew much more interesting for me in this book. She is my second favorite.
Mirabella, The Elemental, is the one everyone thought would easily take the crown. Her power is still strong, but she deflects and chooses not to kill his sisters. I am still not on board with #teamMirabella simply because she is badass and chooses to be “good”. Ugh, that bored me about her.
This story moves at such a fast pace, I dare you to try to keep up with which sister is in the lead. There were some very interesting side characters (both enemies and allies) which kept each Queen in check. Jules, Arsinoe’s bff, plays a major role in this story and of all those side characters, she is the one I am interested in the most. Although all the side characters have some interesting going on.
There isn’t much more I can say about this book without giving away major spoilers. I will say that the end definitely left me wanting, nae needing, much more. I am elated to see that there will be two more books after this and you can bet I will be reading them both. Fans of Dark Fantasy should add this series to their lists and get reading immediately....more
This story picks right up where WORLD AFTER left off. Penryn finds herself at the mercy oSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This story picks right up where WORLD AFTER left off. Penryn finds herself at the mercy of some ruthless Angels. A deal is struck and Penryn finds herself back with humans trying to save everyone. Are people worth saving? Hell yes! With the help of DunDee and Paige the humans cook up a last stand like no one alone could imagine. It’s angels versus humans and humans don’t seem to stand a chance. Penryn and Raffe find themselves stuck choosing between their own kind, on opposite sides, or each other.
Things happen in this story and it is action packed. Penryn’s focus seems to have shifted from saving her family and herself to doing whatever it takes to be with Raffe. Like I said before, their pairing in romance isn’t my favorite part of this book. I like them pairing up and fighting.
An enemy’s motivation is revealed and people are pulled from the pit into this fight for good or evil. The pit contains all kinds of hellish nightmares and it was almost uncomfortable to read about. That is a good thing. I love when a book can make me feel. It is really imaginative and scary. I enjoyed the journey.
I was pleasantly surprised by the resources the humans came up with for this battle scene. I think it was wretched of the author to put Raffe in that situation. Choosing one thing makes him the biggest dick ever, and choosing the other makes him look weak. All throughout this story we see that angels who have chooses humans have “fallen”. I still have no idea who makes them fall or how that even happens.
I enjoyed the world this author created I just wish there would have been more of it. The fact that the end of the world showdown happens in San Francisco is a bit weird. Amiright? There were quite a few coincidences but nothing took away from my enjoyment of the action.
I really enjoyed this story right up until the Epilogue. Why couldn’t this have answered a few more questions? I am sure the author went into these books with explanations for how and why these things occurred, but she didn’t share them with the reader. I think reading these books back to back really helped me to gain a perspective for the series. I still have so many questions so I have made up answers in my head for things that should have been in these books. This could have been at least one more book, and then maybe we could have had the ending that we really needed for this series.
I grew so attached to these characters and this world. I would still recommend these books with the warning that the ending will leave you wishing for more....more
Lada has gone home to Wallachia only to find thaSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren Other books in this series AND I DARKEN
Lada has gone home to Wallachia only to find that she cannot secure the throne. Her goal to become prince of Wallachia is all consuming. She and her men will stop at nothing to get what Lada deserves. Lada is accompanied by her childhood friend, Bogdan. She is also missing her brother Radu, and requests him to join her. Radu is sent on a mission by Mehmed to pretend to deflect and spy in the great city of Constantinople. Mehmed is obsessed with his goal to conquer the city and even puts Radu in danger to accomplish this. Radu must choose between helping his unrequited love, Mehmed, and helping the sister that has always been there for him.
This book made me want to read the history. I dislike historical non-fiction, but this book made me want to do some research. I actually did look up some of the main characters from this story and the whole story is now very familiar. It is so inspiring to see how this author has blended historical fact with fictional characters long forgotten to make us all interested in their fate.
I feel like this story moved faster than the first book because it covered a much smaller time span. That seems wrong, but the first book covered decades and this story takes place over a year or less. This story alternated between Lada and Radu’s POV. Radu is sympathedic to Lada but wants Mehmed to love him. Lada wants her country and feels Radu’s rightful place is with him. Things are finally getting put into place for both Mehmed and Lada to achieve their life long goals leaving Radu with the scraps.
I really loved the historical setting for this story. There is something to be said for writing historical fact into a fictional setting. The author describes this gritty time in all its uncomfortable glory. The clothes, the housing, the weather, it is all well laid out for the reader. I think the most interesting place we visited in this story, and there was so much traveling happening here, is Constantinople. The city is not at all what Mehmed and Radu think it will be, but somehow it is exactly what I imagined a 15th century city to be.
“He had imagined Constantinople, had wanted it for Mehmed. It had been simple and straightforward. But now he knew the true cost of things, the murky horrors of the distance between wanting something and getting it.”
Lada is ruthless in this story. Living in the 15th century she hates the way women are treated and she vows to change that for the women in her own country. She gets her hands dirty, she is under estimated, she is the warrior her country needs to lead them. Lada struggles with her sexuality. She doesn’t regret leaving Mehmed but she needs something to fill the void. Lada seems bloodthirsty but she is only the product of a bloody family line that takes what they know is theirs. Lada spends most of this story building alliances in preparation of one final stand to demand the crown she knows is hers.
“Wallachia needs you, and you deserve Wallachia. Let your loyalty be only where your heart is. Everything else can fall by the road and be trodden underfoot as we pass to our home. My fierce little girl. You can do anything.”
Radu leads his life with his heart. He is torn between the safety of Nazira, his wife who he has grown to love very much in a platonic way, and pleasing the sultan he desires. Radu is such a good man and he is just in his approach to life. He may not be the warrior Lada is, but he fights for what is right. His is sickened by the war created by Mehmed for a city that isn’t really great, but housing some new friends Radu knows are worthy of living. The most disturbing aspect of Radu is that he fights for a religion he feels home in that forbids his very nature. His trials are heartbreaking. Radu has grown so much from the last book becoming possibly my favorite character. I need to see Radu with the happy ending he deserves.
“He would die on the wall tonight, between his brothers and his enemies, because he could no longer distinguish between the two. They had finally come to the end. Whichever side won, neither would triumph.”
This is fast becoming one of the greatest series ever. The characters are unforgettable. I can’t wait for the conclusion to this saga and I am secretly dreading it. Even the ending of this book was bloody brilliant. If you haven’t read this, I suggest you go right now and pic this up. Once again for this series,if I gave 6 stars, this sequel would get it....more
The main plot for Nix is Kashmir’s fate. Nix is trying to save Kashmir from drowning by going to a mythical city that is said to have been flooded. That really made no sense, but Nix is desperate to not loose Kash. At the end of the first book it seemed like Nix was caught in a love triangle, but in this story Blake is cast aside for Kash.
Kash is also from a mythical city so saving Dahut becomes even more important for Nix as she tries to change her future. These time-travelers do change the future by going to the past, but what then happens to their supposed future before the time-traveler? These questions don’t really get answered, but the concepts get explored which left me really thinking about fate.
This story has the crew exploring a mythical city, it’s castle, and memories. The city itself is beautifully described. There are mermaids, monsters, an oubliette, and plenty of places to hide a key.
Dahut keeps a diary of events which she seems to have no memory of. Once again, there is the question of fate because of course knowing something changes the way you move forward. If you can’t remember then that knowledge is lost. The same holds true for Nix knowing now that she is destined to loose her love. If she never knew that she might not have chosen Kash so much and been so desperate to save him.
This story blends a mythical city with real people. Crowhurst becomes king of Ker-Ys and uses Lethe water to take away memories to seduce Dahut, the king’s daughter, to go along with his plan. In real life, evidence found after Crowhurst’s disappeared on his 3rd voyage suggests that this attempt ended in possible insanity and suicide. The question then becomes, does Nix suggest the voyage to him, or was he going to do that anyways? The future is uncertain even here.
This story introduced Kashmir’s POV into the story. Kash is so smitten by Nix. They are obviously destined for each other, or is that what the author wants me to think? This story also explores how much Nix doesn’t want to end up like her father, mourning a lost love and living with depression. I loved that this book left some things open, while answering a lot of questions. There could be more to this story or it could all end right here. Either way I really enjoyed this book....more
This book is about a place where children go who have accidentally journeyed to a portalSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This book is about a place where children go who have accidentally journeyed to a portal world. These children come home different after days or months of being gone, having experienced something that changes them forever. Nancy is one such child and she finds her home is no longer where she wants to be. Her parents, not understanding what happened to her, send her to a home full of children who have all been to different portal worlds and just want to go back. Of course, her parents don’t know that is what the school really is. Nancy makes some interesting friends at this home before a murder occurs. When another murder happens Nancy and her odd friends start to realize that the best parts of these children are being taken. Nancy is the main suspect in these murders. Nancy and her friends must solve the mystery to prove Nancy’s innocence.
“You found freedom, if only for a moment, and when you lost it, you came here, hoping it could be found again.”
“For us, places we went were home. We didn’t care if they were good or evil or neutral or what. We cared about the fact that for the first time, we didn’t have to pretend to be something we weren’t. We just got to be. That made all the difference in the world.”
This book was so unique. This whole story takes place at what the children hope is an in between place. Most of the children have homes to go home to, although some don’t. They all want to return to the “world” they accidentally found and hope it will be soon. This “world” is different for every child.
“You want to go back, and so you hold on to the habits you learned while you were traveling, because it’s better than admitting the journey’s over.”
These children all want to go back to the world they discovered and I felt so bad for them. As the story goes, most of them won’t be able to return. Those that can do and don’t come back. Their worlds are broken into logic or non-sense with some mixed worlds of high nonsense and high logic. The story starts with Nancy arriving at the home and learning about these worlds and their classifications as she does. It doesn’t make sense at first, but after a while it does. The author manages all this without info dumps or a a lot of back story. It’s pretty brilliant.
“Every day I wake up a little more linear, a little less lost, and one day I’ll be one the women who says ‘I had the most charming dream,’ and I’ll mean it. Old enough to know what I’m losing in the process of being found.”
Admittedly, this story was short. I wish for more, but I felt like it was a complete story. Without actually going to these worlds, we are stuck in limbo along with Nancy. I really loved the dark setting for these children. Most of them come back from their portal worlds twisted in some way. Nancy and her friends are the most twisted and it was fun and chilling to get to know them all.
“The petty-minded fools here think surgery and butchery are the same thing.”
This story moved slowly but I didn’t even mind that. I think it was explained quite clearly why all these characters were waiting for something and the murder mystery gave me (and Nancy) and chance to really get to know this home and the people that live there. Also, there wasn’t any romance. Nancy, the main character, is asexual and doesn’t want romance. Asexuality for the character is well explained, in my opinion.
EVERY HEART A DOORWAY was a really fun story that involved some original concepts, interesting characters, and a murder mystery. I am so glad this is a series. You can bet I will be reading more from this series and this author....more
This story starts out pretty slow. Nina is living in Loisail and trying to learn etiquettSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
This story starts out pretty slow. Nina is living in Loisail and trying to learn etiquette from her retched cousin Valérie. Nina is young and naive and tries her best to fit in to formal society. When she learns that Hector is famous for his telekinetic powers on stage Nina is smitten by him and tries to learn how to control her powers as he does.
Despite the slow start, I really enjoyed this story. Maybe the first half was slower paced. Also, you may want to throttle a few characters in this story by this point as well, but then it picks up and becomes this grand romance. The paranormal telekinetic abilities made this historical romance something I could just stomach at first, but then I fell so hard for the story.
The characters are perfectly played. Valérie is the ultimate villain with her status in society and her power over her husband, Nina’s uncle (the head man of Nina’s family). She is perfectly horrible to Nina and her husband and sets out to ruin a man denied love early in life. She is also quite miserable and desperate to control something, so I sympathized with her and hated her all the same. Nina is so demur at first but as her life experience expands, so does her boldness in dealing with others. I don’t even know what to say about Hector. I hated and loved him. He was very deceptive and completely transparent. He was such a tortured soul and he deserved exactly what he got. We get all three POVs in this story.
I really enjoyed all the descriptive settings in this book. The author was able to describe the scenes without overloading me with silly details. I really felt as if I was right there. I have to admit I wish I could go back into the world this author has created. Since I have finished this book I am honestly missing Nina so much. I know that sounds silly, but I wish I could have spend more time reading her story. I would highly recommend this to those who love well written paranormal historical romance....more
MASK OF SHADOWS was such a nice surprise. The assassin in this story is gender fluid. InSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
MASK OF SHADOWS was such a nice surprise. The assassin in this story is gender fluid. In fact, no where does it say whether Sal Leon is a male or female. Now that I have explained that, let me try to use the proper pronouns in this review.
Sal’s homeland of Nacea was massacred by Shadows. Sal is one of the only ones to see a Shadow and live. Living now as a thief at the latest heist Sal finds a flyer to audition to become the Queen’s Left Hand. Opal, named for one of the Queen’s rings, is open for auditions and either an invitation or a proven skill is necessary to join. Sal easily proves worth and enters the game. Sal becomes Twenty-Three, named for their number in arrival to the competition. Sal needs to win so they can serve the Queen but it is not for the reason everyone believes. Sal only wants to infiltrate the royalty to gain revenge for what was done to Sal’s homeland.
This story jumps right in with Sal finding out about he competition and then in the competition as Twenty-Three. I had no trouble understanding Sal’s nature with the way it was broken down.
“Address me however I look” I was both. I was neither. I was everything, but that wasn’t exactly a friendly conversation.
In this story they use swords, knives and poisons to kill so there is an old-timey feel to the story. There is mostly acceptance to Sal’s gender-fluidity, but there were some people who voiced issues with it. Sal can’t be the only person in this place that lives that way. I had to keep in mind that this story is just Fantasy, so the author really had free reign to define this world and the people in it however she wanted. I had no problems with the way Sal’s gender was handled.
Sal is a baddass assassin whether dressed as a man or woman. Sal grew up fighting in the streets and stealing to survive. Those strengths come in handy for the competition. There is an anonymity to the story as all 23 would-be Opals wear masks with their numbers on them. At first, all the assassins have free reign to try to kill each other, so long as the killing isn’t witnessed. I loved Sal’s wit with his opponents and clever preparations to avoid being killed by the competition. Sal gets a little help from the maid and I really liked seeing how Sal treated “the help”.
Sal also starts a relationship with a royal love interest named Elise. She teaches Sal to read the Queen’s home language (there are a few languages mentioned in this book and I can’t remember the name or location of any of them, sorry). Elise also teaches Sal manners and how to act at court. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see Sal put those skills to work so I have high hopes for the next book. I did like the beginnings of this romance. I’d like to see where the author takes that as well.
There is a few things I have to mention about this book that I didn’t like. Other than Sal, we don’t get much character depth. That should be a huge deal for me, but the story moved so fast I was just going along and didn’t notice that I didn’t know anyone really until they died. Also, the world isn’t really explained well. The scenes are well described but I know very little about the world. I wish I had a map or something. I don’t know how far Nacea is from where the competition took place and that bothered me some. Other than that I really enjoyed this read. I am looking forward to the sequel....more
There is great character building in THE GLASS SPARE. Wil starts off as a spoiled girl whSee my full review and much more on my blog KissinBlueKaren
There is great character building in THE GLASS SPARE. Wil starts off as a spoiled girl who has to fight for her father. Her journey takes her to place where she must sacrifice for people she comes to care for. She is a good person, but if she stayed at home she probably wouldn’t have reach her full moral potential.Both of her new companions grow as well. I liked seeing them all change their initial assessments of each other,
Family is a important aspect of this story. Both good and bad, we see Wil and her new friends, Loom and Zay, struggle with their feelings for their family. She has a great relationship with one of her older brothers who was sick for a long time. Through flash backs we see how Will and this brother came to be so close, even though they are very different. Wil also has a great relationship with her mother. We don’t see much of her mother, but I am hoping she will be more of a key player in future books in this series.
Although I will admit the story builds slowly, the story did pick up after about 25% and I by then was totally invested in the character of Wil. By the 75% mark I had a completely different feeling about this story and read it at a furious pace.
The world building was pretty fun to imagine. there were some really fun places visited in this story. The author has laid out some fantastic scenes that were easy to see without sharing too many boring details. It was also pretty easy to imagine what the characters were feeling in this story. With third person writing this is not easy to do, but this was very well done.
There were so many surprises in this story. Fantasy stories can go anyway they want to and this was a great example of a great adventurous fantasy story. There is some technology, which I rather enjoyed. This almost had a steampunk feel to it, in a fantasy setting. There was also unpredictable turns, the characters didn’t act predictably, people even died without any kind of warning, and all the characters found themselves in the presence of even more unpredictable situations. In short, there was a lot of suspense. I had no idea which way the author would take this story.
The clothes were well described. I can’t tell you how many books I have read, especially fantasy stories where anything goes, where the clothes are glossed over leaving me wondering. The author included details like style, comfort level, and where they came from, which made me very happy.
There were a few issues I had with this story. I am sad to say there was no map for this world. The distances were pretty well described but I would have loved to see this world on paper as the author envisioned it. Maybe the final copy will have a map. Maybe? I hope so.
The kid seemed to come out of nowhere. Like, there was no mention of this kid until Wil found him. What? That was a little convenient. Or maybe I missed it? I also disliked that both fathers were cruel, but I guess it says something about the fear these two had at loosing to their enemies.
There were some pretty amazing revelations in the last bit of the story and now I absolutely need the sequel. That ending! Ugh, I can’t wait to see what happens next!...more