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Blackwing – Ed McDonald

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Synopsis:

Set on the ragged edge of a postapocalyptic frontier, Blackwing is a gritty fantasy debut about a man’s desperate battle to survive his own dark destiny…

Nothing in the Misery lasts…

Under a cracked and wailing sky, the Misery is a vast and blighted expanse, created when the Engine, the most powerful weapon in the world, was unleashed against the immortal Deep Kings. Across the wasteland, teeming with corrupted magic and malevolent wraiths, the Deep Kings and their armies are still watching—and still waiting.

Ryhalt Galharrow is no stranger to the Misery. The bounty hunter journeys to a remote outpost, armed for killing both men and monsters, and searching for a mysterious noblewoman. He finds himself in the middle of a shocking attack by the Deep Kings, one that should not be possible. Only a fearsome show of power from the very woman he is seeking saves him.

Once, long ago, he knew the woman well, and together they stumble onto a web of conspiracy that threatens to unmake everything they hold dear and end the fragile peace the Engine has provided. Galharrow is not ready for the truth about the blood he’s spilled and the gods he’s supposed to serve…

Copied from Goodreads
Review:
Galharrow is the ultimate anti-hero. He is a take no shit, hold no punches kind of guy, who realizes he is going to have to do something to save his people. His gritty personality, coupled with his determination, make him one of the most likable characters I have read to date.
The Misery… I am just going to say this… Can we PLEASE have a movie? Pretty please.
McDonald’s description of this world is amazing. I could picture each nuance in his landscapes from blades of grass that were as sharp as glass to mazes of ruts blown into the surface of the world.
His creativity blew my mind. The Deep Kings, the monsters he presented, the way magic is filtered through the moonlight.
This is easily one of the best novels I have ever read. I am thrilled this book has a #1 because that means there is more!
Quotes:
“I saw you stand,” I said. “Saw your courage, back at Twelve. Saw the steel in your will, the power you command. You say there’s nothing of woman about you? You aren’t some painted vase, delicate and useless. You’re a fucking lioness. The strongest damn thing that ever lived. There’s nothing of you but woman.”
“The world is a cruel mother, a matron of darkness, selfishness, greed, and misery. For most, their time suckling at her breast is naught but a scramble through stinging, tearing briars before a naked, shameful collapse as the flesh gives out. And yet in the bright eyes of every newborn, there lies a spark, a potential for goodness, the possibility of a life worth living. That spark deserves its chance. And though most of them will turn out to be as worthless as the parents who sired them, while the cruelty of the earth will tell them to release their innocence and join in the drawing of daggers, every now and then one manages to clutch to its beauty and refuses to release it into the dark.”  ― Ed McDonaldBlackwing
Recommendations:
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Posted by on October 20, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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A Full List of My Recommendations

I often have people request recommendations from me. I absolutely love giving them. This is one of my great passions in life, introducing people to their next favorite novel. I read nearly every genre out there and I try to get to know a person’s likes before giving a recommendation. So, with that in mind, I decided to create a full list of my “must-reads”.

*Note: If I am recommending the first in a series, I am recommending the entire series.

Fantasy:

Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow, #1) by Anthony Ryan

The Waking Fire (The Draconis Memoria, #1) by Anthony Ryan

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1) by Brandon Sanderson

The Way of Shadows (Night Angel, #1) by Brent Weeks

Blackwing (Ravens’ Mark #1) by Ed McDonald

Wizard’s First Rule (Sword of Truth, #1) by Terry Goodkind

The Warded Man (Demon Cycle, #1) by Peter V. Brett

The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1) by Joe Abercrombie

*Note: While this is my favorite genre, it is still fairly new to me. I have only been reading fantasy in the last few years, so I realize this list is far from complete. I will add to it as I read more.

Urban Fantasy:

Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, #1) by Kim Harrison

Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #1) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Darkfever (Fever, #1) by Karen Marie Moning

Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1) by Jim Butcher

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1) by Darynda Jones

Bitten (Women of the Otherworld, #1) by Kelley Armstrong

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1) by Charlaine Harris

The Scent of Shadows (Signs of the Zodiac, #1) by Vicki Pettersson

Paranormal Romance:

Fantasy Lover (Dark-Hunterverse #1) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Goddess of the Sea (Goddess Summoning, #1) by P.C. Cast

Morrigan’s Cross (Circle Trilogy, #1) by Nora Roberts

Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1) by J.R. Ward

The Warlord Wants Forever (Immortals After Dark #1) by Kresley Cole

A Girl’s Guide to Vampires (Dark Ones #1) by Katie MacAlister

Young Adult:

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1) by Richelle Mead

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1) by Renee Ahdieh

Mystic (Mystic, #1) by Jason Denzel

Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1) by Kresley Cole

Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1) by Susan Dennard

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1) by Victoria Aveyard

Rot & Ruin (Rot & Ruin, #1) by Jonathan Maberry

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1) by Laini Taylor

The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1) by Julie Kagawa

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1) by Libba Bray

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1) by Cassandra Clare

My Soul to Lose (Soul Screamers, #0.5) by Rachel Vincent

Fiction:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Firefly Lane (Firefly Lane, #1) by Kristin Hannah

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

These are the genres I read the most, below are a few from other genres that I don’t read often.

The Burning Times by Jeanne Kalogridis

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

One for the Money (Stephanie Plum, #1) by Janet Evanovich

Tin Men by Christopher Golden

Zero World by Jason M. Hough

Artemis by Andy Weir … due out in November

I could go on and on about my favorite books but these are the one’s I always recommend to people. There are others in my favorites list that I didn’t list, simply because I tend to like darker things than most. And you will see many obvious choices (i.e., Harry Potter) missing, mainly because I’m just going to assume most people have already read them.

I hope you enjoyed this list!

Happy Reading!

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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Uprooted – Naomi Novik

Synopsis:

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Copied from Goodreads.

Review:

I am so glad that I purchased the audio book version of this novel. Had I not, some of the names would have thrown me.

Agnieszka is the type of character I love to read about. She is clumsy and can not seem to keep herself clean, the epitome of a tom-boy. She is determined and a bit self-righteous, but that always makes for fun character development.

I loved the constant back-and-forth between her and “The Dragon”. He is seen as an all-knowing, all-powerful being, yet she pushes him to see things her way, to do things her way.

I loved the moments they shared while performing mutual magic. The bond between the two continued to grow and develop, even as both fought it.

I am usually not big on romance stories, but the way this one played out left much more story to be explored outside of a budding romance.

The Wood was an amazing aspect of this story. I was intrigued and at times a little terrified at what it represented. I needed to know what this corruption was and where it came from. I needed to see how they planned to vanquish it. With each step they took to combat it and with each new introduction of the forms the corruption could take, I found myself at the edge of my seat.

This novel was a thrilling read from beginning to end. The novel never goes where you expect it to. I love books that keep me guessing.

Quotes:

“If you don’t want a man dead, don’t bludgeon him over the head repeatedly.”
― Naomi NovikUprooted

“What an unequaled gift for disaster you have.”
― Naomi NovikUprooted

“Magic was singing in me, through me; I felt the murmur of his power singing back that same song.”
― Naomi NovikUprooted

Recommendations:

Black Wolves (Black Wolves, #1) by Kate Elliott

Wake of Vultures (The Shadow, #1) by Lila Bowen

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

 

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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The Wrath and the Dawn – Renee Ahdieh

wrath

Synopsis:

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

*Copied from Goodreads.com

Review:

This book captivated me from the very beginning. A strong female lead with values and ideals that get shaken to the core. This is a reimagining of A Thousand and One Nights. I don’t know what I was expecting from this novel but I had heard so much about it that I just had to pick it up. Shazi has become one of my new favorite characters. I have the next novel ready to go.

Favorite Quotes:

“Love is—a shade of what I feel.”  ― Renee Ahdieh, The Wrath & the Dawn

“So you would have me throw Shazi to the wolves?”
“Shazi?” Jalal’s grin widened. “Honestly, I pity the wolves.”
Renee Ahdieh, The Wrath & the Dawn

“Her conviction wavered further. “I told you; don’t try to own me.”
“I don’t want to own you.”

She swiveled her neck to meet his gaze. “Then never speak of sending me away again. I am not yours to do with as you will.”

Khalid’s features smoothed knowingly. “How right you are. You are not mine.” He dropped his palm from the door. “I am yours.”
Renee Ahdieh, The Wrath & the Dawn

“So you intend to go through life never loving anyone? Just … things?”
“No. I’m looking for something more.”
“More than love?”
“Yes.”
“Is it not arrogant to think you deserve more, Khalid Ibn al-Rashid?”
“Is it so arrogant to want something that doesn’t change with the wind? That doesn’t crumble at the first sign of adversity?”
“You want something that doesn’t exist. A figment of your imagination.”
“No. I want someone who sees beneath the surface-someone who completes the balance. An equal.”
“And how will you know when you’ve found this elusive someone?” Shahrzad retorted.
“I suspect she will be like air. Like knowing how to breathe.”
Renee Ahdieh, The Wrath & the Dawn

Recommendations:

Court of Fives (Court of Fives #1) by Kate Elliott

Rook by Sharon Cameron

Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1) by Rae Carson

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2016 in Book Reviews

 

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Cinder – Marissa Meyer

cinder

Synopsis:

Cinder, a cyborg mechanic, is looked down on by everyone she knows, simply for being what someone made her to be. She works while her stepmother and two siblings sit at home. One day, while working, an android is dropped in front of her and a harried young man asks her if she can fix it. She is about to tell the young man that the android probably isn’t worth saving but realizes the young man is none other than Prince Kai. She then promises to work on the android and return it as quickly as possible.

A plague has swept the globe and no one knows its source. On the same day that Prince Kai drops off his android, the market sees its first case, and it’s not to far from Cinder’s booth. She rushes home and finds her sisters and stepmother getting fit for new dresses for the ball coming up. When Cinder tells her stepmother she will be out for her dress fitting after she gets cleaned up, she tells Cinder she is not going unless she gets their family vehicle fixed. While out at the scrapyard, the only sister who cares about her begins showing signs of the plague, she is forced to call and report her case and she is shipped away to die with all of the other plague victims.

Review:

Android Cinderella!!! Take everything you love about the classic story and add robots, a plague and an evil Lunar queen and you have one of the best retellings I have read to date.

I loved every aspect of this book and I cannot wait to start the next book. I have nothing more to say, because I feel it would all be redundant.

Favorite Quotes:

“I don’t know. I don’t actually remember anything from before the surgery.”

His eyebrows rose, his blue eyes sucking in all the light of the room. “The cybernetic opetation?”

“No, the sex change.”

The doctor’s smile faltered.

“I’m joking.”
Marissa Meyer, Cinder

“Cinder twisted up her lips. “Do you think it could have a virus?”
“Maybe her programming was overwhelmed by Prince Kai’s uncanny hotness.”
Marissa Meyer, Cinder

“The queen’s eyes smouldered. “I know my own kind when I see them, and right now there is one in these city walls.” She pointed a finger toward the balcony.”I want her found and brought to me.”
“Right,” said Kai,”that’ll be no problem in a city of two and a half million people. Let me just go dig out my special Lunar detector, and I’ll get right on that.”
Marissa Meyer, Cinder

Recommendations:

The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, #1)  by Kady Cross

The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1)  by Julie Kagawa

Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles, #1)  by Gena Showalter

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)  by Victoria Aveyard (Review to Come)

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2015 in Book Reviews

 

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Lord of Snow and Shadows – Sarah Ash

lordofsnow

Synopsis:

Gavril was raised by his mother and lived the quiet simple life of an artist, until one day he is snatched up by his father’s army.

The Drakhaon has died, poisoned. His legacy must live on.

Gavril arrives to the wintry kingdom of Azhkendir to find he is the decedent of a King with dragon blood running through his veins. Upon his arrival he can feel the changes beginning in him. He is haunted by his dead father and is told a blood debt must be paid for his death. Gavril has no desire to bloody his hands but he cannot rid himself of this phantom.

As war wages, Gavril must find the darkness inside and either embrace it or find some way not be taken over by the power.

Review:

I could not finish this book. I have been trying for two months. There was no plot, no character development, no real story. I have no idea how I pushed through half of it.

Her imagery is truly well done. She is able to set a beautiful/horrifying scene but it just wasn’t enough.

I loved the idea of this story so much that I purchased the trilogy all at once. I am completely bummed that it didn’t work out.

(No quotes because nothing stuck out to me :/ )

Recommendations:

Daughter of the Blood (The Black Jewels #1)  by Anne Bishop

Dragon Champion (Age of Fire #1)  by E.E. Knight

Magic’s Pawn (Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage #1)  by Mercedes Lackey

Kushiel’s Dart (Phèdre’s Trilogy, #1)  by Jacqueline Carey

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2015 in Book Reviews

 

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The Shards of Heaven – Michael Livingston

shards

Synopsis:

With Julius Caesar assassinated on the senate floor, Rome is divided. Octavian, Caesar’s ambitious great-nephew and adopted son, decides to take on the great Marc-Antony and Cleopatra and a battle ensues to win the heart of Rome.

Juba, another of Caesar’s adopted sons, has decided to go after the Shards of Heaven, lost treasures that house the powers of the Roman gods, or in this case God himself. He already possesses what he believes to be the Trident, or in his mind, the staff of Moses. Now he will stop at nothing to obtain the other Shards, no matter the consequence.

Review:

I loved the rich history brought forth in this novel. Cleopatra is one of my favorite historical figures and I was thrilled when I received a NetGalley ARC.

The descriptions and battle scenes in this novel were quite epic. I absolutely loved the character building throughout the novel. The only thing that fell short for me was the dialogue. There were moments when conversations halted the story for me. I would set it aside and move on to something else. This made me feel like the book took way to long to read. But, I am a stickler for good dialogue. This was not enough of a deterrent to make me give a bad rating, in fact I would easily give it 3.5 stars out of 5.

(No quotes due to the fact that my copy was an ARC from NetGalley)

Recommendations:

Mystic (Mystic, #1)  by Jason Denzel

The Iron Lance (The Celtic Crusades, #1)  by Stephen R. Lawhead

The Burning Times  by Jeanne Kalogridis

Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy, #1)  by C.S. Lewis

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2015 in Book Reviews

 

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