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fantasy

Book Review

A Crown of Wishes – Review

A Crown of Wishes | Review

So if you follow me on social media, you might have seen that I had a hard time getting into Roshani’s first novel, A Star-Touched Queen, and so I was a little unsure about A Crown of Wishes. But the week before ACOW released, I decided to re-read ASTQ and I’m so glad I did!

I found ASTQ to be better the second time around of reading, and I feel like I connected so much more with the story. So then I was sooo excited for ACOW and pretty much stalked my mailman on release day, I couldn’t wait to read it (plus by that point I had heard so many good things).

So where ASTQ dealt with Maya, ACOW follows her sister, Gauri. And oh how I loved Gauri! Gauri is a badass, plain and simple. Gauri  is in captivity and soon meets (and attempts to kill) Vikram. Vikram, whom you may view as Gauri’s sworn enemy since he is the Prince of the country Gauri finds herself captured in, is clever and quick on his feet and I love that correlation between him and his nickname (the Fox Prince).

Through fate, Gauri and Vikram find themselves working together for a common goal. I mean, they can trust each other, right? Or can they? Who knows! Either way – the commentary between these two is absolutely gold and I wanted to underline and highlight and write on my walls all the funny and lovely (and pithy ) verbal barbs Gauri and Vikram traded. Their chemistry was superb. Plus, Vikram is handsome. Never hurts.

I really don’t want to give anything away, other than just to say the world building was magnificent, the character development outstanding and why can’t Roshani just write everything I need to read in my life? That’s totally doable, right? 😉

 

My favorite line: 

“I donned my armor, lining my eyes with kohl until they were dark as death and patting crushed rose petals on my lips until they were scarlet as blood.”

My favorite visual: I don’t want to give too much away, but it has to do with a beast.

Rating: 5 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read A Crown of Wishes? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

Wintersong | Review

Wintersong | Review

(why yes, I will be using all Labyrinth gifs for this review)

Wintersong was one of those books that had me hooked from the moment I read the synopsis. Fantasy, Labyrinth and the Goblin King? Yes, yes and yes. It released a couple of months ago, but it took awhile for my library to get a copy. But once it did, I was so on that and devoured the book in a couple of days.

So, if you’re not familiar with Wintersong and what it’s about, it is the story of a young girl named Liesl, who grew up on stories of the Goblin King and let those stories inspire her musical compositions. But soon Liesl’s older sister will be married, and her younger brother off to train as a musician. Liesl starts to feel trapped and that her childhood dreams of music are fading. \

A twist of fate has Liesl’s sister captured by the Goblin King, and it’s up to Liesl to journey underground to save her. Complete with goblins, balls, and tricky magic.

Now, in my opinion, the Goblin King steals the show. He’s mysterious and brooding, but with enough fragility exposed that you start to wonder about him, and his story slowly becomes unraveled as you read through the novel.

The writing throughout Wintersong is very lyrical and poetic, and I do agree with what some others have said in that there were a few pages I had to re-read a few times to make sure what I thought had happened actually occurred. There are places where you need to read between the lines a little to stay on top of the story.

As far as the pacing, I did enjoy the first half of the novel more than the second half. Not that there was anything wrong with the second half, it’s just the first half was so perfect!

My favorite line: 

“You are the monster I claim, mein Herr.”

My favorite visual: The red cloak.

Rating: 4 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read Wintersong? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

Miranda and Caliban | Review

Miranda and Caliban | Review

Miranda and Caliban is slated to release on February 14, 2017.

Book blurb: Miranda is a lonely child. For as long as she can remember, she and her father have lived in isolation in the abandoned Moorish palace. There are chickens and goats, and a terrible wailing spirit trapped in a pine tree, but the elusive wild boy who spies on her from the crumbling walls and leaves gifts on their doorstep is the isle’s only other human inhabitant. There are other memories, too: vague, dream-like memories of another time and another place. There are questions that Miranda dare not ask her stern and controlling father, who guards his secrets with zealous care: Who am I? Where did I come from? The wild boy Caliban is a lonely child, too; an orphan left to fend for himself at an early age, all language lost to him. When Caliban is summoned and bound into captivity by Miranda’s father as part of a grand experiment, he rages against his confinement; and yet he hungers for kindness and love.

 

I have been a fan of Jacqueline Carey forever. I fell in love with her lyrical writing when I first read Kushiel’s Dart, and then fell in love all over again with her Santa Olivia and Agent of Hel series. Miranda and Caliban is a beautiful return to Carey’s lyrical writing that I love so much, and missed a little bit with her more recent works.

I sat down to read Miranda and Caliban when I had about an hour of spare time, thinking I’d slowly read the book over the course of a few days. Instead, I found myself unable to put the book down, I was so enthralled by the story. In fact, I read the entire book over the course of one evening, it was just that mesmerizing!

Now, if you’re not aware, Miranda and Caliban is a retelling of Shakespeare’s Tempest, so if you’re aware of the play, you know how the story is going to end up. It’s a tragedy, after all.

The romance between Miranda and Caliban builds slowly over time, and starts as many romances do, after years of friendship. Miranda is lonely and has spent much of her life very sheltered, and Caliban wants nothing more than to belong. And Prospero is pulling the strings on both, using them for his own revenge. The result is a magical and enchanting tale that Carey weaves, even knowing from the start that the star-crossed lovers are doomed.

Personally, I found myself equally invested in both the story of Miranda and Caliban, and secretly (or maybe not so secretly!) hoping for a retelling with a twist that wouldn’t lead to heartbreak. But Carey faithfully stuck to the source material, and I enjoyed the story immensely despite the feels.

The only downsides I have for this novel are:

– Even though we do see more lyrical writing in Miranda and Caliban from Carey, much like her work in her Kushiel series, this is not what I would call an epic fantasy. There is only so much for Carey to work with here, given the source material, and although she does a fantastic job weaving her plot, it’s not as layered as perhaps I was hoping.

– The size is a little disappointing, coming in at just over 300 pages. Again, I fully realize this is more due to the source material (like the above note), so take that into consideration. My disappointments were really stemming more from the fact that I want another lyrical, epic fantasy from Carey, rather than the quality of prose of Miranda and Caliban. 😉

 

I received Miranda and Caliban as an ARC on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

 

Rating: 4 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read Miranda and Caliban? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

Heartless | Review

Heartless | Review

Oh. em. gee.

This. book.

giphy

So it’s about The Queen of Hearts, so there is some obviousness with how Catherine ends up, but the road is very unclear as to how Cath becomes The Queen of Hearts that we all know. And yes, the book ends sad because what else would you expect for The Queen of Hearts, but man oh man, this book was a page turner. I couldn’t put it down! Literally, I carried it around with me to sneak in reading.

Heartless is the story of Catherine, who marchioness mother is aiming for her to be Queen, but Cath has other ideas. She dreams of opening up a bakery with her maid, who is also her closest friend. Cath goes to a royal ball where (at first, unbeknownst to her) the King will propose to Cath, but instead Cath meets the new, handsome, royal Joker and all of Cath’s plans (and her mothers) start to fly out the window. Lots of interests are at play in the unfolding of destiny in this novel.

love2

As usual with Meyer, the imagery and descriptions are perfect and draw you into the world. The pacing of the plot wasn’t perfect throughout, but overall great and kept me turning the pages and wanting to know what was going to happen.

If you liked Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles, then you’ll definitely like this. It still has Meyer’s style of writing, but it is a bit darker, sadder and grittier. Cath is one tough cookie and is determined to make her life turn out the way she dreams. Jest is instantly likeable, in that mysterious, roguish way, as are all the other Alice in Wonderland characters that you’re introduced to. My personal favorite is Cheshire, who I’ve always felt is a fairly accurate deception of a real life cat – gonna do what he wants, when he wants, and couldn’t care less about you. 😉

My favorite line: Sometimes your heart is the only thing worth listening to.”

My favorite visual: The Cheshire cat.

Rating: 4 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read Heartless? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill | Review

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill | Review

This was one of the books I have been most anticipating all year. The cover is absolutely gorgeous, lots of my favorite authors were singing it’s praises, and it had horses in it. That’s totally the trifecta, right?

squealing

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill is a middle grade novel that is set during World War II at a children’s hospital. Emmaline knows a secret about Briar Hill that no one else does – there are winged horses in the mirrors at Briar Hill. None of the other children or staff at the hospital can see them. Only her.

magical

The story beings illustrating how dull, colorless, adventuress and downright scary Emmaline’s life can be. Her roommate in the hospital is very sick and can’t leave her bed. Emmaline isn’t allowed to go out into the garden because of the foxes. And overall, Emmaline feels lonely and scared, with the threats of bombers and invading forces.

But one day Emmaline discovers something beyond just the winged horses in the mirrors. There is a winged horse in the garden, along with a note asking whoever finds the horse (named Foxfire) to look after her. This note, and the horse, starts Emmaline on an adventure of daring, love and bravery in the face of grave danger.

cant stop reading

You learn more and more about Emmaline and her backstory and her illness as the book unfolds. Bits and pieces of her life and revealed and you start to piece together Emmaline’s life. Because of the setting of this book (World War II), there is some death and tragedy and sadness. I thought the book was well paced and plot, except perhaps for the very end, which seems to happen very quickly. The imagery and world building of the winged horse world is glorious and the perfect mirror (pun intended) for the children’s hospital.

If you’re a fan of stories like The Secret Garden, then this is a must read.

My favorite line: But there must be more out there. There must be brighter things.”

My favorite visual: All the colors.

Rating: 4 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read The Secret Horses of Briar Hill? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

Lady Midnight | Review

Review: Lady Midnight

I’m a huge fan of The Mortal Instruments series, so of course I was super thrilled when I first heard about Lady Midnight. And overall, the book did not disappoint.

It is a pretty big book. Like when I first saw it, my jaw dropped a little. It is 668 pages, after all. I went to Barnes & Noble the day it came out, saw it on the shelves, did a happy dance in my head, picked it up and went…

PumbaJawDrop

Now, I don’t have anything against big books (I digress, but please tell me that I am not the only one that sings Sir Mix-A-Lot to themselves replacing ‘big butts’ with ‘big books’) but I do have a problem with size without substance. Because the first one-half to two-thirds of this book is slow. Molasses slow. I put this book down and started (and finished) other books numerous times with no issue whatever. In the beginning, this book really goes nowhere. I hate to say it, but the start of this book could have easily been condensed. Based on my Goodreads (where I eagerly mark a book as currently reading the day I start reading it), I started Lady Midnight and then stopped it to start reading and finish other books nine times.

Normally, that would mean I would put a book away and stop trying to read it, because it basically came down to Lady Midnight just not reeling me in. But I had heard from others that the beginning of the book was slow, but the ending totally made up for it. So I kept going back to it.

Dutifully. I kept returning and slowly making my way through all 668 pages.

And then around the midway point of the book, the plot really started to pick up. During the last third, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, I had to know how the whole thing was going to end.

So heads up, the book does take a bit of time and motivation to get through (especially if you’ve just read A Court of Mist and Fury which is giving everyone a major book hangover) but it is so worth it.

Now on to the characters!

exited

I fell completely in love with Emma. Her bravery and determination shines throughout the book. We know going in that her the death of her parents has shaped who she is, and throughout this book you see her loyalty and fierceness as she protects those she loves. Speaking of love, I thought it was a really interesting twist to show a different layer to parabatai and what that bond means when there is romance involved.

Julian of course steals the show being the artistic soul with the weight of the world on his shoulders. That is, at least until Mark comes along and just wrecks beautiful havoc on everyone’s lives.

There are so many new characters in this book, but they all stand out and have very distinct voices, which I love.

The way the book ends pretty much as people in two camps and personally, I loved the ending. For me, the ending made the stopping and starting and trodding through the beginning of the book entirely worth it. I can’t really say more without giving much away, but I think if you can get through the slowness of the beginning, you’ll love this book. The last half is action packed and full of surprises.

My favorite line: “There was beauty in the idea of freedom, but it was an illusion. Every human heart was chained by love.”

My favorite visual: The fairy steeds.

My rating: 4 stars

 

Have you read Lady Midnight? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

The Mirror King | Review

 

Review: The Mirror King

Wow. Wow wow wow. WOW. You never expect a book to be as good as the first, right? What about better than the first? Somehow Jodi Meadows wrote a stunning book (The Orphan Queen) and then wrote an even better book in The Mirror King.

So let me start at the beginning. First off, if you haven’t read The Orphan Queen, you probably shouldn’t read this review, as there will be spoilers.

The end of The Orphan Queen was a huge cliffhanger and I’ve been waiting for months to see what happened to Tobiah after his life threatening wound. The Mirror King picks right up where The Orphan Queen left off, and we see pretty immediately that yes, this is a serious wound. And for Tobiah to live, magic will have to be involved. I’ll leave it at that for those of you who haven’t read the book, I don’t want to give too much away. 😉

Meanwhile, the secret is out about Wil’s magic. This leaves a lot of room for unrest and distrust to develop. On top of that Wil has to deal with Patrick gone rouge in his effort to put her back on the throne, which leaves Ospreys split down the middle taking sides, divided on who they should follow. And on top that, there’s the whole wraith boy thing. Which is an intriguing twist, because as much as Wil tries to deny and avoid the wraith boy, she eventually learns she has to confront him and find a way to work with him, instead of against him.

There are a couple of major plot twists in the book that I thought were pretty brave, as they left room for the novel to veer off in any direction Jodi Meadows wished.

The romance that was just hinted at in The Orphan Queen gets kicked into high gear in The Mirror King. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some big obstacles thrown in Tobiah and Wil’s way, but it’s a lot more promising (and heated) this time around.

Overall, I loved this book. I read it in one sitting. The whole magic world Meadows has built is beautiful, yet complicated enough to end up with a very well written story that doesn’t follow the sometimes predictable YA storytelling. It’s unique, you develop feelings for pretty much ever character, and you really don’t want to walk away at the end. The good note is that the end is left a little open, so perhaps one day Meadows will give us a novella. One can hope!

My favorite line: It would give too much away if I told you! But it’s the note Tobiah writes for Wil at the end. 🙂

My favorite visual: Wil practicing her handwriting.

My rating: 5 stars

5stars

Have you read The Mirror King? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

Wink Poppy Midnight | Review

 

Review: Wink Poppy Midnight

I read the first few chapters (I can’t remember exactly how many) of this book last Fall for some promo, and I was instantly hooked and immediately pre-ordered the book. April Genevieve Tucholk’s writing is so lyrical and mesmerizing. You start reading, thinking you know where the story is going but then something comes along to completely change your view.

There are three main characters of the story: Wink, Poppy and Midnight. They all narrate throughout the book, giving you glimpses here and there that don’t start to fully form the picture until the very end. I love Wink and her sense of being a misfit and owning it. She loves books and fairytales and seems to let herself get caught up in them. Midnight moves in next to Wink and a friendship forms as Midnight is trying to escape his  somewhat codependent relationship with Poppy, the local it girl who on the surface is cruel and a bully.

This book isn’t long, coming in at just under 250 pages, but the writing has such a dreamy quality, that you still feel like you’re in this world with these characters long after you finish reading. This book is full of mystery and intrigue and it leaves you guessing until the very end. To me, this is the perfect book for a summer vacation.

My favorite line: “All the strangest things are true.”

My favorite visual: The strawberries really stuck with me.

My rating: 4 stars

 


Have you read The Mirror King? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

The Rose and the Dagger | Review

Review: The Rose and the Dagger

First off, if you haven’t read The Wrath and the Dawn, you probably shouldn’t read this review, as there will be spoilers. Heads up!

The end of The Wrath and the Dawn was beautiful. Kahlid had me mesmerized the entire book with his mystery, and as layers of his story were chipped away and we began to see the lonely boy underneath, I think I fell in love with him right along with Shahrzad. And Shahrzad! Her character evolved to be one so cunning and brave, no wonder Kahlid fell in love with her!

And so The Rose and the Dagger picks right up where The Wrath and the Dawn left off, with Kahlid and Shahrzad seperated. Kahlid is desperate to save his empire, and Shazi is desperate to save Kahlid.

Meanwhile, Shazi’s father, Jahander continues to dabble with dark magic that threatens everything, while at the same time Shazi finds her own magic that just may save the day. I don’t want to give too much away here! But suffice to say that where The Wrath and the Dawn gave you a beautiful, mesmerizing plot with colorful and detailed world and character building (and romance!), The Rose and the Dagger just builds on that world and adds more plot twists and betrayals (and even more romance!). You really get to see more of who Kahlid is, and how much he loves Shahrazad, now that the mask is off and we know his story. And Shazi truly shines as a woman who can hold her own and fight for those she loves.

 

My favorite line: “From the stars, to the stars.”

My favorite visual: When Shazi flies back to Kahlid.

My rating: 4 stars

 

Have you read The Rose and the Dagger? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

The Mermaid’s Sister | Review

 

Review: The Mermaid’s Sister

I read this as my Kindle First book for February. I was instantly hooked by the author’s writing style – fluid, descriptive and relatable. The word choice and sentence structure reminded me of a fable and I was instantly drawn into this world where girls would grow up with a half fairy ‘mother’ and a wyvern for a friend. This was one of those books that once I started reading, I found it hard to stop (I read the book in less than 24 hours!). Now, the plot was somewhat predictable, albeit with a small twist that I didn’t see coming, but the ending was the same. I did feel as though the pacing if the book changed dramatically once the climax hit, with the first 2/3 of the book being a rather slow build up and then suddenly you find yourself at the end, but it didn’t take much away from the overall story. Definitely recommend if you like fairy tales and magic, and you’re looking for a quick, light read.

My favorite line: “There’s no cure for being who you truly are.”

My favorite visual: The singing gypsy.

My review: 4 stars

Have you read The Mermaid’s Sister? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!