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Stealing Snow – Danielle Paige

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Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent her life locked in Whittaker Psychiatric—but she isn’t crazy. And that’s not the worst of it. Her very first kiss proves anything but innocent…when Bale, her only love, turns violent.

Despite Snow knowing that Bale would never truly hurt her, he is taken away—dashing her last hope for any sort of future in the mental ward she calls home. With nowhere else to turn, Snow finds herself drawn to a strange new orderly who whispers secrets in the night about a mysterious past and a kingdom that’s hers for the taking—if only she can find her way past the iron gates to the Tree that has been haunting her dreams.

Beyond the Tree lies Algid, a land far away from the real world, frozen by a ruthless king. And there too await the River Witch, a village boy named Kai, the charming thief Jagger, and a prophecy that Snow will save them all.

Copied from Goodreads.

Review:

This is a retelling of The Snow Queen, by Hans Christian Andersen.

I absolutely loved the beginning of this novel. It opens up in a mental institution, where Snow dubs the medication she is taking, her dwarves. Each medication she is given has a certain effect, even with one she is slightly allergic to and makes her sneeze. It was a great twist to the tale.

The innocence of Snow in this novel isn’t as pure in this retelling. While most have Snow with a sweet disposition and sheer gullibility, Paige gives us a harder, more jaded Snow. She is innocent of the world but harbors inner demons. I think this gives readers a more believable character, or maybe, a more relateable character.

As with most fairy tales, romance takes center stage in this retelling. Snow doesn’t even know the world of her past exists, until her beloved Bale is pulled through a magical mirror and into another realm. The same night a stranger appears in her bedroom, telling her where Bale has gone. She follows this strangers instructions to a tree that has been haunting her dreams. She crosses through the portal and every step of the way, she tries to find people to help her reach Bale.

However, this does not stop her from making a connection with two other boys during her journey. Kai, who never acts like he wants anything to do with her, until he plants one on her in the heat of the moment, and Jagger, the orderly from her dreams.

This novel takes the love triangle trope and gives us even more. It is apparent that Snow is looking for human connection in any form but it causes others to view her need for connection as wanting more.

I had heard many good things about her other series Dorothy Must Die, and I am now super excited to pick that one up as well, but this was an impulse buy… Just look at that cover 🙂

Quotes:

“…this boy I had known for less than a heartbeat, was the boy of my dreams. Only my dreams were nightmares.” ― Danielle PaigeStealing Snow

“I don’t know who you are. You hide your real faces from one another. How is that living? I don’t want to hide my scars, I wish I didn’t have magic and I’d rather dance with my feet on the ground! I don’t want to live in a dream- I just want to live. Like a normal person. And I want to feel things for free.” ― Danielle PaigeStealing Snow

Recommendations:

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

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

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

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

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Posted by on September 26, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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The 4 Books I am Always Reading

I saw a post on Book Riot with this exact title. I was intrigued and inspired. The author of the post stated the types of books she always has at hand, and I realized there are four types of books I always have on hand as well. I decided it would be fun to share my four with you.

Original post here.

1. NetGalley e-book

I read for NetGalley. This is a site where bloggers can get access to ARC’s of books and/or read and review the books shared on the site. It is a wonderful way to find new voices, get your hands on books you love early or find a way to advance your blog and the author’s reach by having advanced reviews upon release. I am always reading one and since they come in e-book, I always have it on me.

2. Audio Book

Next is my Audible listen. Audio books are the easiest way to get my reading goals in for the year. I have come across some great voices in audio books. The performances can make a huge difference. A good delivery and a great novel, there is no better combination.

3. My TBR Clean Out

I have a TBR shelf filled with books that I have yet to read. These are the books I have been longing to read for a while. Sometimes I just randomly pick one up, sometimes I follow a list.

4. Book Club Read

I run The Gothic Novel Book Club on Goodreads. We are a very active bunch and always choose two new books each month. We love all things Gothic and read everything from the most loved Classics to genuine Horror. We tend to focus on the paranormal, but all Gothic novels are up for nomination.

Some others find their way into my reads and I can be reading as many as seven books at a time, but I always have these four at hand.

Thanks for reading!

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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The Black Prism – Brent Weeks

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Synopsis:

Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live: Seven years to achieve seven impossible goals.

But when Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.

Copied from Goodreads

Review:

I have been a fan of Brent Weeks for some time now. His Night Angel Trilogy is one of my favorite Fantasy series. Brent Weeks is a master world builder. His vision for his worlds play out through the story. Little nuggets of lore, scene and atmosphere are dropped along the way. In this novel, we see him build a world through the eyes of an adolescent, an all-powerful mage and a military woman. He is able to bring certain nuances within the world to the forefront in each telling. THIS is how you make multiple perspective work!

I absolutely love that one of his lead characters is a fairly pudgy boy with no real understanding of the world around him. Kip is an endearing character for many reasons but making him fat and clumsy (in words and in action) make him an unexpected hero. I adore this. So many times we see the hero in a story and say to ourselves “Of course they will win. Look at what they can do.” Kip is not so easily thrown into that category.

We are given a “hero” with those qualities in Gavin, The Prism. However, Gavin is not quite what he seems to be. Early on, Weeks ensures you are drawn to Gavin, that you like him and that you believe him to be a hero of legend. However, as events unfold, you see Gavin is not quite the hero you thought he was. His story takes turn after unexpected turn throughout the course of the novel.

One other thing I loved, and honestly I don’t know how he did it so well, was his explanation of a woman going through menses. I know it seems odd to find this episode to be a favorite, but come on, he had to have a woman’s insight here. It was so well thought out and had me going “Damn, straight” that I was checking the cover to make sure I was still reading a book written by a man (not really). Weeks simply puts that much thought into his characters and I love it!!

I always love when a novel keeps me guessing until the end, however, the ending of this novel you see coming a mile away. It is foreshadowed many times throughout the course of the novel, but I was okay with this because there were so many twists and turns throughout that it didn’t matter when it came to the end. I knew it was coming and still found it enthralling to the last page.

This will be joining the ranks of my absolute favorite novels.

Quotes:

“You might want to think twice before you try to use a man’s conscience against him. It may turn out he doesn’t have one.” ― Brent WeeksThe Black Prism

“Will covers a multitude of flaws, just as love covers a multitude of sins.” ― Brent WeeksThe Black Prism

“You have to be a little bad to make history.” ― Brent WeeksThe Black Prism

“When you don’t know what to do, do what’s right and do what’s in front of you. But not necessarily what’s right in front of you.” ― Brent WeeksThe Black Prism

“At some point, you have to decide not merely what you’re going to believe, but how you’re going to believe. Are you going to believe in people, or in ideas or in Orcholam? With your heart, or with your head? Will you believe what’s in front of you, or in what you think you know? There are some things you think you know that are lies. I can’t tell you what those are, and I’m sorry for that.” ― Brent WeeksThe Black Prism

“I was a bad child. Fortunately, I’ve come a long way since then. Now I’m a bad man.” ― Brent WeeksThe Black Prism

Recommendations:

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

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

Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire, #1) by Michael J. Sullivan

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

 
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Posted by on September 9, 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 City Stained Red – Sam Sykes

Synopsis:

Long before he was sent to hell, the Aeon known as Khoth-Kapira was the closest thing to a living god the world had ever known. Possessed of a vast intellect, he pioneered many of the wonders that persist in the world that lingered long after he was banished. Nearly every fragment of medical, economic and technological progress that the mortal races enjoyed could be traced back to him. But with his wonders came cruelty beyond measure: industrialized slavery, horrifying experimentations and a rage that would eventually force the world to bow to him.

Now, as Khoth-Kapira stirs the world begins to shudder with disasters yet to come.The epicenter is the city of Cier’Djaal. A religious war between two unstoppable military juggernauts begins to brew. The racial fury among many peoples of the world is about to explode. Demons begin to pour from the shadows at the head of a vicious cult worshipping dark powers.

And Lenk finds himself in the middle once more, his fate and the fate of Khoth-Kapira interlinked as the demon attempts to convince him of his earnestness.

“Your world is breaking around you,” He Who Makes says, “let me fix it. Let me help you. Let me out.”

Review:

Everything I had read about The City Stained Red, stated that this series could be read apart from Sykes’s original seires. My advice… Don’t. There are things that will be quite confusing at first. They do get fleshed out later on, but I do wish I had taken the time to read some of the one or two star reviews. Then, I would have known this. I disagreee with the one and two star reviews, but they do mention that.

I first heard of Sam Sykes via Twitter. After following him for almost a month, I couldn’t wait to pick up something he’d written. I was not disappointed. His quick wit and humor come across well in his novels. I enjoyed having serious moments broken up by slapstick.

His characters are quite the rag-tag bunch. I enjoyed getting to know them all individually. However, I do wish there would have been mention of perspective change, i.e. chapter titles with new perspective’s name. It broke pace when the first thing written was “she” coming out of a male perspective.

It was interesting seeing a male character driven by motivations mainly left to female characters in the past. Lenk is a hopeless romantic in many ways. His desire to see his world changed and his motivations for doing so were all centered around his lady-love, Kataria. When they are apart, he morns the loss, literally.

I also enjoyed the many and diverse battles going on within the city. It seemed very human to have so much going on. Not one major battle (as is the case with most novels/stories) but many small interspersing prejudices and bigotries. Humans don’t like oids, the different factions of the city don’t get along, the many faith’s argue over their differences. It is a “city stained red” in so many ways.

Quotes:

“A pair of the shirtless men drew back the curtains to expose what appeared to be something between a man, a grub, and a pillow that couldn’t quite make up its mind.”

-Sam Sykes, The City Stained Red

“It’s a demon, Dread. What the hell are you hoping to do to it?’

He closed his eyes, drew in a deep breath.

‘Oh, you know.’

When he opened them, they were alive with bright red light.

‘Stuff.”

– Sam Sykes, The City Stained Red

“And a certain level of nonchalance was required ot the woman who may or may not have just inadvertently started a war.”

– Sam Sykes, The City Stained Red

Recommendations:

Black Wolves – Kate Elliot

Beyond Redemption – Michael R. Fletcher

Prince of Thorns – Mark Lawrence

The Blade Itself – Joe Abercrombie

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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The Legion of Flame – Anthony Ryan

Synopsis:

For centuries, the vast Ironship Trading Syndicate relied on drake blood–and the extraordinary powers it confers to those known as the Blood-blessed–to fuel and protect its empire. But now, a fearsome power has arisen–a drake so mighty that the world will tremble before it.

Rogue Blood-blessed Claydon Torcreek, Syndicate agent Lizanne Lethridge, and ironship captain Corrick Hilemore embark upon perilous quests to chase down clues that offer faint hopes of salvation. As the world burns around them, and the fires of revolution are ignited, these few are the last hope for the empire and for all of civilization.

Copied from Goodreads.

Review:

I sat down to read this novel directly on the heels of the first. I fully expected to love this novel because I had fallen in love with the characters the first-go-round. However, Anthony Ryan gave these characters even more depth and an even bigger story than I had anticipated. 

In book one, we are left with Claydon’s vision as our map for coming events. He meets up with Hilemore and they set off on a journey to save the world. Without giving spoilers, I love how the endings of both novels paralleled each other. It gave me an elevated sense of anticipation for the next novel.

Lizanne’s story takes a seriously unanticipated turn. We get to see her use every skill she has. She proves why she has been selected for missions of highest importance. She has become one of my favorite characters of all time.

The additions of Sirus’ viewpoint was a fantastic addition. It honestly reminded me of Dragon Age’s darkspawn/Archdemon storyline, with the added benefit of seeing the story from the darkspawn’s perspective. I do have to say, I was thrown by his addition at first, but after I realized why he was added it, I truly enjoyed it.

I did not think any fantasy novel was capable of the epic scope and fantastic storyline of Vaelin’s intro novel, Blood Song, but I believe Anthony Ryan has outdone himself. I laughed. I cried. I took this book everywhere I went. 

When does the next one come out again? (Not soon enough)

Quotes:

“On behalf of those not born into a life of useless indolence, I bid you welcome to adulthood.”

– Anthony Ryan, The Legion of Flame

I sense our drake god isn’t altogether happy with today’s butcher’s bill.”

 Anthony Ryan, The Legion of Flame

Recommendations:

The Black Prism – Brent Weeks

Malice – John Gwynne

Age of Myth – Michael J. Sullivan

The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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