(BookR) Mask of Shadows

(Buy your copy by clicking on the Picture above)

**I was provided an advanced readers copy for reviewing purposes**

Pages: 352 pages

Cover: ★★★

Book: ★★★ 3/4

Publishing Date: September 5th 2017

My review:

Sal is hard to pin down, courageous, at times vicious, and one of the last of a small nation decimated to save it’s larger, richer neighbor. Raised by the streets and under the sway of a street thug named Grell, Sal hasn’t had it easy. Sal robs a lady on the road, in an effort to pay his due and comes across a flyer that talks about a competition for the position of Opal, member of an elite group of assassins known as the queens left hand. Sal suddenly has the opportunity for revenge, unfortunately, revenge is often unpredictable and never as sweet as one imagines. This is a good fast paced read with all of the intrigue and poison one would expect from a novel about an elite assassin.

There was only one issue for me, I felt the story went farther than it should have and then ended really abruptly. It would have been better (in my lowly selfish opinion) to finish the book with the Opal being chosen and then pick up the rest in the following book (mostly because I read my favorite character was killed off and two seconds later the book was over) It was a metaphysical punch in the gut. If it had been done at the start of the second book, I could have looked forward to the retribution for his death. Now I have to wait for the release of the sequel, knowing he is dead….majorly bummed over here.

Description:

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class―and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand―the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears―Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

The cover and the title of this book combined with the mystery of the title and the fact that it had been likened to books written by Sarah J. Maas convinced me to pick this book before I ever read the synopsis. Once I did, I admit to a moment of confusion. What was trans fluid? Would it have an effect on my ability to connect with the main character?

Find out more about her at :www.linseymiller.com

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(BookR) Do Not Take Your Dragon To Dinner

Pages: 32

Cover: ★★★★

Book:  4/★’s out of 10

Publishing Date: September 1st, 2017

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

 Description:

For ages 3-7

We know you shouldn’t take your dragon to the library, but what about taking him out to dinner? After all, dragons need to eat too! But with firey breath, flapping wings, and pointy spikes, that might not be a good idea! Rhyming text and diverse characters bring the importance of dinner manners to a new level in this colorful picture book by Julie Gassman.

My review:

I found the vibrant colors and the dinosaur to be the main things that drew my son into this story.

 

About the Author:

After graudating from Art College in the UK, Andy began a career as a graphic designer in the video games industry, when it was very much in it’s infancy. He continued as a graphic designer for fourteen years, until he decided to go back to his illustrative roots and try his hand at being a children’s book illustrator. Since 2002 he has produced work for picturebooks, educational books, advertising, and toy design. He has been a finalist, twice, in the “Language Learner Literature” Awards, and has worked for clients all over the world. He currently lives in a small tourist town on the West coast of Scotland, with his wife and three children.

The youngest in a family of nine children, Julie Gassman grew up in Howard, South Dakota. After college, she traded in small-town life for the world of magazine publishing in New York City. She now lives in southern Minnesota with her husband and their three children.

 

*I was provided a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my review*

(BookR)Strange Alchemy

Pages: 320

Cover: 2/★’s out of 10

Book:  7/★’s out of 10

Publishing Date: August 1st, 2017

Publisher:  SwitchPress

Description:

Gwenda Bond’s first book Blackwood has been reimagined and brought back to life with new vision. On Roanoke Island, the legend of the Lost Colony ― and the 114 colonists who vanished without a trace more than four hundred years ago ― still haunts the town. But that’s just a story told for the tourists. When 114 people suddenly disappear from the island in present day, it seems history is repeating itself ― and an unlikely pair of seventeen-year-olds might be the only hope of bringing the missing back. Miranda Blackwood, a member of one of island’s most infamous families, and Grant Rawling, the sherrif’s son, who has demons and secrets of his own, find themselves at the center of the mystery. As the unlikely pair works to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony, they must dodge everyone from the authorities to long-dead alchemists as they race against time to save their family and friends before they too are gone for good.

My Review:

This book is, as you can tell from the description, a re-imagining of the first book in the Blackwood series for Gwenda Bond. I have never read any of the books in the series however, and as such will be reviewing it as a stand alone book.

The description and the fact that it was reviewed favorably by Scott Westerfield were among the major reasons that I decided to review this book. Bundled up with the review and with the enticing description is the the fact that the Author is a resident of Kentucky, the state from which I come, and it was just irresistible.

About the Author:

Gwenda Bond is the author of the young adult novels Girl on a Wire, Blackwood, and The Woken Gods. She has also written for Publishers Weekly and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications, and just might have been inspired to get a journalism degree by her childhood love of Lois Lane. She has an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and lives in a hundred-year-old house in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband, author Christopher Rowe, and their menagerie. Visit her online at gwendabond.com or @gwenda on Twitter.

(Book R) Bite Somebody ELSE

**I was provided an advance readers copy for reviewing purposes**

Pages:274

Cover: 5/out of ten ★’s

Book: 8/out of ten ★’s

Publishing Date: June 20th 2017

Publisher: World Weaver Press

My review:

I have to say that I truly enjoyed Bite Somebody Else, the main character Imogene just seemed to come alive in front of my eyes.  Sassy and down for anything, Imogene is thrown out of her depth when she learns her fellow vampire bestie, Celia, has a bun in her oven. Vampires, being dead, have never before been able to conceive.

She is once again thrown for a loop when Dr. Savage- main source for vampire related information and sometime therapist- calls in her hunky ex, Nicholas M.D. and vampire historian, from his home across the pond in London to provide insight into the situation, and he ends up living in her spare bedroom.

 Go buy your own copy for an adventure you shouldn’t miss!

Description:

Imogene helped her newbie vampire friend Celia hook up with an adorable human, but now Celia has dropped an atomic bomb of surprise: she has a possibly blood-sucking baby on the way. Imogene is not pleased, especially when a mysterious, ancient, and annoyingly gorgeous vampire historian shows up to monitor Celia’s unprecedented pregnancy.

Lord Nicholas Christopher Cuthbert III is everything Imogene hates: posh, mannerly, and totally uninterested in her. Plus, she thinks he’s hiding something. So what if he smells like a fresh garden and looks like a rich boarding school kid just begging to be debauched? Imogene has self-control. Or something.

As Celia’s pregnancy progresses at a freakishly fast pace, Imogene and Nicholas play an ever-escalating game of will they or won’t they, until his sexy maker shows up on Admiral Key, forcing Nicholas to reveal his true intentions toward Celia’s soon-to-arrive infant.

Bite Somebody Else will be available in trade paperback and ebook via Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, World Weaver Press, and other online retailers, and for wholesale through Ingram.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sara Dobie Bauer is a writer, model, and mental health advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. She spends most days at home in her pajamas as a book nerd and sex-pert for SheKnows.com. Her short story, “Don’t Ball the Boss,” was nominated for the 2015 Pushcart Prize, inspired by her shameless crushon Benedict Cumberbatch. She lives with her hottie husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she would really like to live in a Tim Burton film. She is also the author of Wolf Among Sheep, Life without Harry, and Forever Dead. Read more at SaraDobieBauer.com or find her on Twitter @SaraDobie.

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER

World Weaver Press is an independently owned publisher of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction. We believe in great storytelling.

Poetry Month

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In honor of poetry month, I have decided to share my favorite poem:

 

When I compare:

What I have lost with what I have gained,
What I have missed with what attained,
Little room do I find for pride.

I am aware
How many days have been idly spent;
How like an arrow the good intent
Has fallen short or been turned aside.

But who shall dare
To measure loss and gain in this wise?
Defeat may be victory in disguise;
The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(BookR) The Forced Bride Of Alazar

Pages: 224

Cover: 4/★’s out of 10

Book: 6.5/★’s out of 10

Publishing Date: May 1, 2017

Publisher: Harlequin Presents

My review:

Johara brings to life the inner turmoil of a lot of women who take part in arranged marriages, or at least the inner turmoil I imagine I would face in a similar situation. She finds herself engaged to the newest (or original?) Sheikh of Alazar when he suddenly regains his memory. It is especially hard for her as she briefly experienced the hope of living life her own way when his brother (the assumed sheikh at the time) married because he found out he had a child he knew nothing about. Hewitt really knows how to build tension between the characters in her story’s and I just can’t get enough of it. I hate reading romances where the man just blows a kiss in the girls direction one time and then she’s his.

This was the perfect follow up to The Secret Heir, I loved that she completely flipped the script and took the second book in a different but similar direction.

Book Description:

Claimed for the sultan’s pleasure! 

Kidnapped decades ago, Azim al Bahjat stuns the Kingdom of Alazar with his sudden return. To secure his position, the ruthless royal must claim the woman who was always intended to be his—even if sheltered yet beguiling Johara Behwar resists…

No matter how secretly thrilling she finds the flashes of heat beneath Azim’s icy exterior, Johara’s every instinct is to run. But Azim will not be denied, and as he shows his virgin bride how intoxicating their wedding night could be, Johara soon finds herself enticed to surrender to the sultan!

About the author:

Kate Hewitt has worked a variety of different jobs, from drama teacher to editorial assistant to youth worker, but writing romance is the best one yet. She also writes women’s fiction and all her stories celebrate the healing and redemptive power of love. Kate lives in a tiny village in the English Cotswolds with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever.

**I was provided an advance readers copy for reviewing purposes**

(BookR) The Bone Witch

(Buy your own copy by clicking the picture above)

Pages: 432

Cover: ★★★★

Book:  6/★’s out of 10

Publishing Date: March 7th 2017

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

My review:

With a dark slant that reminds me of Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series, The Bone Witch takes you on a journey through a magical land, with a female heroin who deals in death. (Although she raises the dead for the good of her country, instead of compelling them into the underworld.)

Tea, is a young girl from a small rural village in the country of Odalia. Who is thrust into the spotlight when her favorite brother is killed on a mission for the King by a Deava (an evil magical creature),  and is returned to the family for his funeral causing her to lose control of her power and bring him back to life. Oops. Talk about awkward. 

Character Imagining:

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Tea

(Img Source: http://josefinacs.deviantart.com/art/Geisha-Amaya-284010460)

This draws the attention of the famous Asha Mykaela who takes Tea, and her freshly undead brother to the Willows (Center of society for Asha and Asha in training) as an apprentice to learn her newly discovered and much needed craft. Unfortunately for Tea, she is to become a Dark Asha, who while powerful, are much more likely to be reviled than adored.

I waited for weeks for this to come out after I read the description and I really, really wanted to really, really love it. The thing hurt this book for me was the second narrator that pops up from time to time, causing you to go from past to present without a clear explanation as to why until the very last chapters of the book. Ultimately, I gave this book a rating of 6 out of ten because I have faith that a lot of the things that happened in the plot that kind of seemed off to me (How does Kalen end up dead? Why has Fox completely turned his back on her? ) will be explained in the sequel that is obviously in the works.

Favorite Quote:

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Description:

In the captivating start to a new, darkly lyrical fantasy series for readers of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price…

Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

 

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an Asha―one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!

About the author:

Rin Chupeco

 Despite an unsettling resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin always maintains her sense of hummus. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband.

She is represented by Rebecca Podos of the Helen Rees Agency.

Sign up at her newsletter to receive updates on new books, author events, and giveaways! http://eepurl.com/2VvnP

(BookR) The Fireman

    (buy your copy on amazon.com by clicking on the picture above)

(at the time of this post, it was only $2.99 for the kindle version or you can probably check it out at the library for free)

**I borrowed this book from my local library**

Pages: 771

Cover: ★★

Book: ★★★★

Publishing Date: May 16th 2016

Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (May 17, 2016)

My review:

What can I say about this book. There are almost no words to describe just how emotionally gripping reading this was for me. It is amazing and heartbreaking and makes you take a hard look at just how cruel and insensitive the human race can be.

The world is on fire. People are erupting into billowing flames as the result of an infection spread person to person. You are immediately introduced to Holly, a sweet woman, just trying to do her best and take care of people. Then she herself is infected, and has to abandon everything she has ever known and loved for the sake of the small child growing inside of her. I don’t want to say any more because I don’t want to ruin anything for you.

My favorite character is the fireman himself. He is quirky, loyal, and in my imagination looks a little like Adam Levine (only with a British accent, and lets be honest, who doesn’t love a good British accent?)

It will make you cry and laugh and despair and do little victory dances and hate. It is so good I can see myself re-reading it over and over, which anyone who does book reviews will tell you only happens once in a blue moon.

Description:

#1 New York Times Bestseller

From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of NOS4A2 and Heart-Shaped Box comes a chilling novel about a worldwide pandemic of spontaneous combustion that threatens to reduce civilization to ashes and a band of improbable heroes who battle to save it, led by one powerful and enigmatic man known as the Fireman.

The fireman is coming. Stay cool.

No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.

Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.

In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke.

Find out more about him here: https://www.joehillfiction.com/#intro

(BookR)A Crown of Wishes

 (buy a copy of your own by clicking the link above)

**I was provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes**

Pages: 382

Cover: ★★★★1/2

Book: ★★★★

Publishing Date: March 28th 2017

My review:

This book is about an Indian Princess named Gauri and the Prince of the neighboring kingdom, Vikram,  and their search for what their kingdoms need most: a fair and just ruler. They must travel to a magical city and enter into a magical tournament to be able to fulfill their quest. I thought that while the book started off slow it picked up in the second chapter, and was overall a very good book. I find that when reading Roshani Chokski’s work I am drawn into a world of exquisite color and light, leaving me with a sense of bedazzlement at the end. My favorite scene is when Gauri goes into a crystal garden, where the author’s attention to detail just took my breath away.  The descriptions of Gauri’s scheming older brother also had me nodding in sympathy with just how awful they can be sometimes. This book is a perfect complement to The Star Touched Queen and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Disclaimer: I have had a soft spot for Indian mythology since I read Shiva’s fire.

Description

Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels.

Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

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Find out more about her at:  http://www.roshanichokshi.com

(BookR) The Turn

(Buy Your copy at amazon by clicking on the picture above)

Pages: 448

Cover: ★★★★ of 5

Rating: 7 OUT OF 10

Publishing Date: February 7th 2017

Publisher: Gallery Books

My review:

Kim Harrison bring characters to life like no other. I was so excited to finally learn about Quen ( since he was mentioned in the first couple of pages and having long been a fan of the mysterious elf), only to have my heart broken just a few chapters later, with the discovery that he only had minor a minor role once again.

Now that I’ve gotten my sole disappointment out of the way I can move on to the good stuff. I loved how she expanded on the tomato causing mass extinction factoid dropped in earlier hollows books. I always found it to be interesting and am excited to finally have a story to go with it.

It was definitely different to get to see characters I am used to seeing fully grown in their younger iterations… Quen, Trent, Takata etc. and know the havoc they would later cause. Overall, I kind of felt bad for Trents character… Harrison has made me hate him, love him and now with the release of the prequel… back to psuedo hating him again. He truly has been an evil, conniving bastard.

If you are a fan of her books this is a book you don’t want to miss. If you haven’t read her books before… This is the perfect place to start.

Description:

Can science save us when all else fails?

Trisk and her hated rival, Kal, have the same goal: save their species from extinction.

But death comes in the guise of hope when a genetically modified tomato created to feed the world combines with the government’s new tactical virus, giving it an unexpected host and a mode of transport. Plague rises, giving the paranormal species the choice to stay hidden and allow humanity to die, or to show themselves in a bid to save them.

Under accusations of scientific misconduct, Trisk and Kal flee across a plague-torn United States to convince leaders of the major paranormal species to save their supposedly weaker kin, but not everyone thinks humanity should be saved, and Trisk fights the prejudices of two societies to prove that not only does humanity have something to offer, but that long-accepted beliefs against women, dark magic, and humanity itself can turn to understanding; that when people are at their worst that the best show their true strength, and that love can hold the world together as a new balance is found.

SPOILER-ALERT
OMG… AFTER READING THIS BOOK I AM LEFT WITH A QUESTION THAT IS DRIVING ME NUTS! What happens to Trisk and Kalamacks baby that Trent is later forced into his relationship with Ellasbeth? ANY THEORIES?