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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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October = Horror

My favorite month/holiday is forthcoming. I am excited and ready to pursue the realm of Horror once again. This used to be the only genre I would read. My mother is a huge Stephen King fan and I grew up on the movies based on his works (excited for the It remake). I watched Tales From the Crypt, my favorite movie for years was Demon Knight (Ahh, Billy Zane), followed closely by The Craft. As a child Goosebumps (along with, Are You Afraid of the Dark?) was my go-to followed by Fear Street. When I got older, I was drawn to even darker works. That being said, I am truly difficult to scare. Now, I search and search for something even remotely capable.

Below is my list of Horror books that came close, in no particular order:

10. The Omen

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9. The Woman in Black

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8. The Ritual

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7. The Best of H. P. Lovecraft

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6. The Child Thief

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5. The Darkest Powers Series

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4. Let the Right One In

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3. The Vanishing

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2. The Terror

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1. The Hellfire Club

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Again, these are in no particular order, just my top 10. I do have a young-adult series in here and I would encourage any horror fan to pick it up. There are some moments where I was even taken aback. This series played on my particular fears.

What are your favorite Horror novels? I’d love to add to my collection.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 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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Authors I Love – Jeanne Kalogridis

Take a walk on the dark side with me.

I am a huge fan of the darker characters that Jeanne Kalogridis  takes on. I love how deeply she delves into the history of a person and it blows my mind every time.

I will warn you, her books are not for the faint of heart, they are not for the prude, and the are not for the easily offended. Her dark characters do dark things and her plot lines twist and the people she writes about border on the insane.

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Covenant with the Vampire (The Diaries of the Family Dracul #1) by Jeanne Kalogridis

This is one of my favorite vampire series’. It is undeniably dark and sucks you in from the very beginning.
A sensual, terrifying, incredibly accomplished first novel, this fascinating prequel to the classic and most popular horror novel of all time, Dracula, focuses on Dracula’s great-nephew, who inherits the job of managing his great-uncle’s estate…and his appetite. Written in diary form as Draculais, this compulsively readable book has revelations that will shock and delight readers of the original. More erotic than Anne Rice, Kalogridis is a major new voice in vampire fiction. The first chilling tale in an exciting new trilogy is a rich and terrifying historical novel set fifty years before the opening of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. At the castle of Prince Vlad Tsepesh, also known as Dracula, Vald’s great-nephew Arkady is honored to care for his beloved though strange great-uncle…until he beings to realize what is expected of him in his new role. It seems that either he provides his great-uncle with unsuspecting victims to satisfy his needs, or Vlad will kill those Arkady loves. He is trapped into becoming party to murder and sadistic torture. And it is in his blood. When Arkady learns that his newborn son is being groomed one day to follow in his footsteps, he knows that he must fight Dracula, even if it means death.
*Copied from Goodreads.
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The Borgia Bride byJeanne Kalogridis

Vivacious Sancha of Aragon arrives in Rome newly wed to a member of the notorious Borgia dynasty. Surrounded by the city’s opulence and political corruption, she befriends her glamorous and deceitful sister-in-law, Lucrezia, whose jealousy is as legendary as her beauty. Some say Lucrezia has poisoned her rivals, particularly those to whom her handsome brother, Cesare, has given his heart. So when Sancha falls under Cesare’s irresistible spell, she must hide her secret or lose her life. Caught in the Borgias’ sinister web, she summons her courage and uses her cunning to outwit them at their own game. Vividly interweaving historical detail with fiction, The Borgia Bride is a richly compelling tale of conspiracy, sexual intrigue, loyalty, and drama. *Copied from Goodreads.

monalisa

The handsome Giuliano de’ Medici is brutally assassinated in Florence’s magnificent Duomo. The shock of the murder ripples throughout the great city, from the most renowned artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, to a wealthy wool merchant and his extraordinarily beautiful daughter, Madonna Lisa.

More than a decade later, Florence falls under the dark spell of the preacher Savonarola, a fanatic who burns paintings and books as easily as he sends men to their deaths. Lisa, now grown into an alluring woman, captures the heart of Giuliano’s nephew and namesake. But when Guiliano, her love, meets a tragic end, Lisa must gather all her courage and cunning to untangle a sinister web of illicit love, treachery, and dangerous secrets that threatens her life.

Set against the drama of 15th Century Florence, I, Mona Lisa is painted in many layers of fact and fiction, with each intricately drawn twist told through the captivating voice of Mona Lisa herself. *Copied from Goodreads.

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And this is my all time favorite of hers.
Mother Marie Francoise, born Sybille, is a midwife with a precocious gift for magic — a gift that makes her a prime target for persecution at the hands of the Church. She flees her village and takes refuge in a Franciscan sisterhood. Before long, Sybille’s unusual powers bring her under the scrutiny of the Inquisition. Michel, a pious and compassionate monk sent to hear her confession, finds himself drawn more intimately into Sybille’s life and destiny than either of them could have imagined.
Like a magician herself, Jeanne Kalogridis weaves a tale of star-crossed love, of faith and heresy, of mysticism and witchcraft, against a fascinating historical backdrop — the Black Death, the Hundred Years’ War, and the catastrophic defeat of France at the hands of the English. The result is a page-turning novel about one of the most intriguing periods in history. *Copied from Goodreads.
These aren’t all of her works, just my favorite. Feel free to click on her name to see her Goodreads profile and explore her works further.
 
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Posted by on December 15, 2015 in Book Reviews

 

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