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Truthwitch – Susan Dennard

Synopsis:

In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Copied from Goodreads.

Review:

I was reluctant to pick up this novel, simply because there was SO much hype surrounding it. The last few I’ve done that with turned out to be… Let’s just say, not to my taste. I held onto it for a while as it stared at me from the bookshelf. I’d read another rave review and it would scream “See, see, just pick me up!” My fingers would reach for it and then my brain would scream, “No, don’t do this to yourself again.” But, finally, I gave in.

So, I’m about 40 or so pages in and a little light goes off in my head. These names, certain phrases, they all reminded me of something. Within moments it dawned on me, Dragon Age. This woman is a fan. 

Don’t get me wrong this book is not a Dragon Age fan-fic, nor is it set in the Dragon Age world. I just knew in that moment I was faced with the work of a kindred spirit.

I love how brilliantly these characters intertwine. The twists and turns are carefully woven together. Susan Dennard became a Threadwitch herself with the creation of this novel. Pulling people in and placing them directly in line with one another, throwing them into chaos and seeing the threads change and form. 

I feel like this was an expose on how to weave a story properly. 

Excellent, in every aspect!

Side Note: After finishing this novel, I read Windwitch the next day. I can’t wait for the release of Bloodwitch!

Quotes:

“I hate this. Both the storm and the plan. Why does it have to be ‘we’? Why not just me?”
“Because ‘just me’ isn’t who we are,” Iseult hollered back. “I’ll always follow you, Safi, and you’ll always follow me. Threadsisters to the end.” 
― Susan DennardTruthwitch

“It was the circle of perfect motion. Of the light-bringer and dark-giver, the world-starter and shadow-ender. Of initiation and completion. It was the symbol of the Cahr Awen. Cahr Awen.” 
― Susan DennardTruthwitch
“Who the rut is that Nubrevnan Windwitch? And: He should really learn how to button a shirt.” 
― Susan DennardTruthwitch
” How is that for service? Do you know how many men onboard would kill for the use of a spoon?”
“And do you know,” she retorted, “how many men I can killwith a spoon?” 
― Susan DennardTruthwitch
Recommendations:

Graceling – Kristin Cashore

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

The Iron King – Julie Kagawa

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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Age of Myth – Michael J. Sullivan

Synopsis:

What does it mean if the gods can be killed? The first novel in an epic new fantasy series for readers of Brent Weeks, Brandon Sanderson, Peter V. Brett, and Scott Lynch.

Age of Myth inaugurates an original six-book series, and one of fantasy’s finest next-generation storytellers continues to break new ground.

Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between men and those they thought were gods changes forever. Now, only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer; Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom; and Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over; the time of rebellion has begun.

(Copied from Goodreads.)

Review:

This book is fantasy at its best.  Sullivan’s characters are all quite likeable, which in the fantasy realm lately hasn’t been the case. The premise is fantastic. 

Anyone who’s read previous reviews of mine knows I am a sucker for a strong female lead, and while many times Persephone doesn’t seem to be the “true lead”, she brings what I need to stay invested in the novel. 

Sullivan also fulfills another need of mine. His writing is beautifully flowing, no excessive rambling about unimportant things or events. This is what causes me to set some fantasy novels aside. Yes, I love this world you’ve created. No, I don’t need a 10 page description of this castle you’ve thought up in your head. Some fantasy authors need to remember their key audience already has an imagination, hence the reading of fantasy in the first place. One of the first things people tell a new author is ” show, don’t tell”… But that’s a rant for another time and another blog.

I was also completely satisfied with the ending of this novel… No spoilers… That is another rare thing in the fantasy realm. I love when the author can wrap up book one cleanly and still give you much anticipation for the coming novels, (see, The Waking Fire).

Quotes:

“I swear, the reason for full moons is so the gods can more clearly see the mischief they create. 

—THE BOOK OF BRIN”
Recommendations:

The Waking Fire – Anthony Ryan

The Warded Man – Peter V. Brett

The Black Prism – Brent Weeks

The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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The Waking Fire- Anthony Ryan 

Synopsis:

The Waking Fire is set in a vibrant new world where the blood of drakes—creatures similar to dragons—is valued beyond reckoning, and can be distilled into elixirs that grant fearsome powers to those who are “blood-blessed.” The novel follows an unregistered blood-blessed as he searches for an elusive variety of drake so potent, its capture would mean unrivalled riches; the second in command of a blood-burning ironclad ship; and a young woman in a lifelong contract to a trading syndicate, whose espionage mission places her on the front lines of a newly declared war. As empires clash and arcane mysteries reveal themselves, these characters are tested again and again and soon discover that the fate of the world rests on their shoulders.

The Draconis Memoria is a remarkable new epic fantasy series with steampunk flavor, full of the phenomenal worldbuilding and non-stop action that have gained Anthony Ryan a global fan base.

(Copied from Goodreads)

Review:

It is no secret that Anthony Ryan is my favorite author. In fact, I’m pretty sure even he knows that (yay, Twitter). His Raven’s Shadow trilogy is the best fantasy series I’ve read to date. So, when this book came up on NetGalley, I jumped on it. I was mildly heartbroken when I didn’t receive a copy and posted about it on Twitter. A few weeks later, this lovely thing came in the mail.

I literally squeed and danced around my living room when he said he would send me a copy! Now, let’s end the fangirling adventure and get to the review.

This book is part Indiana Jones, part Pirates of the Caribbean. Add some drakes and you have all elements of this novel.

There is no one better than Anthony Ryan at setting a scene. He paints his landscapes expertly. I have read a few other authors (who shall remain nameless) that take their description way too far. So much so, that I completely lose interest. Examples could be given, but that is not necessary. Ryan’s descriptions are always deliberate. They set the tone, the pacing, and they allow the reader to be immersed, rather than overwhelmed. My favorite examples, within this novel, are the naval battles. I feel as if I am in the midst of the action.

I think my favorite part of this novel is how the characters all fell together in the end. I won’t give any spoilers, just know, you will be satisfied with how it ends. I love a good cliffhanger, but some writers just leave you going “what?!?” 

Another thing I loved was Anthony Ryan’s presentation of a strong female character. I have read many male writers who fall short in their female leads. Ryan has never let me down on this front. While Lizanne may not be the main character, she is still an integral part. She is still emotionally driven but she doesn’t let it control her every move. 

I have recommended this and “Blood Song” to some many people that I have truly lost count.

Quotes:

“Caution favours no-one in battle,” 
― Anthony RyanThe Waking Fire

“A White breathing fire on a group of Spoiled kneeling in obvious supplication. An egg bathed in fire and cracking open to reveal the screaming infant Black inside, the flames fading to reveal an old man in a robe staring down at the fledgling drake with the expression of a proud father.” 
― Anthony RyanThe Waking Fire

“True change has never been bloodless.” 
― Anthony RyanThe Waking Fire

Recommendations:

Blood Song – Anthony Ryan

Age of Myth – Michael J. Sullivan 

The Way of Kings – Brandon Sanderson 

The Warden Man – Peter V. Brett

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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Graveminder- Melissa Marr

grave

Synopsis:

Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville. While growing up, Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual at every funeral: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words, “Sleep well, and stay where I put you.”


Now Maylene is gone and Bek must return to the hometown—and the man—she abandoned a decade ago, only to discover that Maylene’s death was not natural . . . and there was good reason for her odd traditions. In Claysville, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected—and beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D. From this dark place the deceased will return if their graves are not properly minded. And only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk.

(Copied from Goodreads)

Review:

When I heard Melissa Marr was writing an adult novel, I was thrilled. I have been a fan of her Wicked Lovely series for quite some time. She is great at world building. She gives the reader just enough to keep them hooked. Her plot twists could make any writer envious. So, I went into this novel with quite high expectations.

While in some ways this novel delivered, in some ways it left me cringing. Let’s hit the good points first.

I absolutely loved the premise of this novel. I have never read anything quite like it. The “Graveminder” is not a new concept. Many religions honor the dead with similar practices.  However, the addition of the combined worlds of the living and the dead took on a new twist in this novel. Not only is the “graveminder” tending to the dead, she is a conduit between worlds.

 The connection between the Graveminder and the Undertaker was interesting. I enjoyed seeing the push and pull of these two characters. However, it allowed the romance between the two to take over the story. 

I also loved the idea of a town “under contract” to some unknown entity. The townsfolk cannot leave, and if they do, they are drawn back almost inexplicably. 

Now, the parts I couldn’t grasp. Mr. D makes no sense to me. Perhaps he is the Devil… Hence D. Perhaps he is a demon (again, D). Perhaps he is just a powerful spirit (aka, Death). There were too many unanswered questions surrounding this character. He vys for the Graveminder, why? She has an inexplicable connection to him, why? 

The scene that bothered me most and made the least sense was the “dinner” at D’s. It just seemed very random.

Quote:

“Some mortals–like you–are already half in love with death. It is who you are, and I’ll not make it harder on you by telling you things you don’t need to know. Ask me again when you die. Then I’ll tell you everything, anything, nothing.” 
― Melissa MarrGraveminder
Recommendations:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

Wicked Lovely – Melissa Marr

The Forest of Hands and Teeth – Carrie Ryan

Fallen – Lauren Kate

 

 
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Posted by on February 14, 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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Red Queen

image

Synopsis:

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart …

Review:

This book was so incredibly hard to put down. I did not want to adult. I wanted to lock myself away and not come out until I was done… oh, wait, I did that.

I loved that this novel, while still following the dystopian formula, had some surprising turns. Just when I was ready to accept something at face value… Boom! The tables were turned.

I am a fan and I will be purchasing Glass Sword on its release date in just a few weeks!!

Favorite Quotes:

“The truth is what I make it. I could set this world on fire and call it rain.” 
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

“Anyone can betray anyone.” 
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

“Rise, red as the dawn.” 
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

“Words can lie. See beyond them.” 
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

“In the fairy tales, the poor girl smiles when she becomes a princess. Right now, I don’t know if I’ll ever smile again.” 
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

“I told you to hide your heart once. You should have listened.” 
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

“If you know someone’s fear, you know them.” 
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

“The gods rule us still. They have come down from the stars. And they are no longer kind.” 
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

“A lie will raise me up, and one day another lie will bring me down.” 
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

“It’s our nature. We destroy. It’s the constant of our kind. No matter the color of blood, man will always fall.” 
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

“I’ll make the others scream for you, Mare, every last one. Not just your parents. Not just your siblings. But every single one like you. I’m going to find them, and they will die with you in their thoughts, knowing this is the fate you have brought them. I am the king and you could’ve been my Red Queen. Now you are nothing.” 
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

“I’m a Red girl in a sea of Silvers and I can’t afford to feel sorry for anyone, least of all the son of a snake.” 
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

“I’m an accident. I’m a lie. And my life depends on maintaining the illusion.” 
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

“I can’t believe I didn’t see him for what he was from the beginning: a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And now I’m the sheep pretending to be a wolf.” 
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

“Red in the head, Silver in the heart” 
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

“Mare?”
“Are you afraid, Maven?”
“I am. I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid of letting this opportunity pass us by. And I’m afraid of what happens if nothing in this world ever changes. That scares me more than dying.” 
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

Recommendations:

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

Cinder – Marissa Meyer

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

The Young Elites – Marie Lu

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2016 in Book Reviews

 

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The Uninvited – Cat Winters

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Synopsis:
Twenty-five year old Ivy Rowan rises from her bed after being struck by the flu, only to discover the world has been torn apart in just a few short days.

But Ivy’s life-long gift—or curse—remains. For she sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked, unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918 she sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother’s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death of Ivy’s older brother Billy in the Great War.

Horrified, she leaves home, to discover the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for the day, because they could be stricken by nightfall. But as her ‘uninvited guests’ begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once more, but Ivy has no inkling of the other-worldly revelations about to unfold.

Review:
While I loved many aspects of this book, I did not even like the main character. The book was written with no true form. It seemed to go off on as many random tangents as it possibly could.

I read this book as it was nominated as Book of the Month for my Goodreads group, The Gothic Novel Book Club. While it fulfilled many of my wants from a gothic novel, it left me so frustrated with the main that I couldn’t even finish it.

So disappointed

Favorite Quote:
“I can’t believe we’re even using the words ‘That’s better than a lynching.’ What’s wrong with the world right now”
“What isn’t wrong with it?”
– The Uninvited, Cat Winters

Recommendations:

Life After Life – Kate Atkinson

At Water’s Edge – Sara Gruen

A Great and Terrible Beauty – Libba Bray

Ink and Bone – Rachel Caine

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2016 in Book Reviews

 

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