(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) 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)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) FirstLife

Pages: 475

Cover: ★★★★

Book: ★★ 1/2

Publishing Date: February 23rd 2016

My review:

Tenley isn’t your average spoiled rich girl, much to her parents dismay. She just has to have her own mind and make her own choices. Her mother is a famous artist, known the world over, her father a respected senator and they need her to sign with myriad (like they did) to maintain their status quo in their Secondlife…  if she signs up with Troika, they lose.

Everything.

The status, the jobs, fancy cars and lavish lifestyle are all gone in an instant. At 16, she is finally old enough to make her commitment and the pressure is on.

When she refuses to give in and commit to the realm, they throw her into Prynne (a prison of sorts created to force children to their parents ideals) to teach her a lesson and break her down.

There she meets Archer and eventually Killian, the two main men of mystery. They are of course breathtakingly handsome, bitter enemies, and each of them are determined to sway her to their side.

This book was so different in its concept of the world, that I really really wanted to like it so much more than I was able to. I loved the fact that Ten was obsessed with numbers(very 23ish.. you know the movie with Jim Carey, but I wish that the book had strayed a little farther away from the torn between two hot guys plot but I still couldn’t put it down without find out what happens next, 200 pages later I was ready to reach into the book and kill Ten myself.

I think this book was rushed or poorly planned (I’m not sure which) and as a fan of Gena Showalter ( I LOOOVED the zombie Alice books) I hope that the sequel Lifeblood will make up for the FirstLife.

Description:

Tenley “Ten” Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she’ll live—after she dies.

There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death.

In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, longtime enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms who will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she’s drawn to isn’t where the boy she’s falling for lives? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…

(BookR) Sorrows Knot by Erin Bow

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Pages: 357

Cover: ★★★★

Book:★★★★

Suggested Reading Level: Grades 6-10

Publishing Date: October 29th, 2013

My Review: 

This book is captivating, it really drew me in to what life must have been like when people still lived in tribes and depended upon superstition in their everyday life. It also broke my heart, as often happens when I fall in love with a character and they get taken out. The white hand is terrifying, and makes me wonder all over again about what goes on in different cultures around the world.

Definitely a book worth looking up!

 

 

 Description:

At the very edge of the world live the Shadowed People. And with them live the dead.

There, in the village of Westmost, Otter is born to power. She is the proud daughter of Willow, the greatest binder of the dead in generations. It will be Otter’s job someday to tie the knots of the ward, the only thing that keeps the living safe.

Kestrel is training to be a ranger, one of the brave women who venture into the forest to gather whatever the Shadowed People can’t live without and to fight off whatever dark threat might slip through the ward’s defenses.

And Cricket wants to be a storyteller — already he shows the knack, the ear — and already he knows dangerous secrets.
But something is very wrong at the edge of the world. Willow’s power seems to be turning inside out. The ward is in danger of falling. And lurking in the shadows, hungry, is a White Hand, the most dangerous of the dead, whose very touch means madness, and worse.

Suspenseful, eerie, and beautifully imagined.

About the Author:

Erin Bow

TEN THINGS ABOUT HER BY HER: (taken from her goodreads page)

1. I’m a physicist turned poet turned YA novelist.
2. I am world-famous in Canada, which is kind of like being world-famous in real life.
3. I wrote a book about Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederacy: THE SCORPION RULES, Simon & Schuster Fall 2015
4. I wrote a not-at-all-cute book with a talking cat in it: PLAIN KATE (called WOOD ANGEL in the UK), Scholastic Fall 2010
5. I wrote a book about cat’s cradles that can repel spirit zombies: SORROW’S KNOT, Scholastic Fall 2013
6. All these books will make you either cry on the bus or snort milk out your nose. I am dangerous to your dignity and should be stopped.
7. I think Hufflepuff is the best house, Xander was the best Scoobie, Five was the best Doctor, and Spock was the best everything.
8. I am married to another novelist, and we can actually pay our bills.
9. My daughters want to be scientists.
10. My bookshelves will always be full.

(BookR) Faith and Moonlight part 2 by Mark Gelineau, Joe King

 

 frontcover

>>Buy Faith and Moonlight: Part II Here<<

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

Pages: 97

Cover: ★★

Book: ★★★¾

Publishing Date: May 15th 2016

Excerpt:

All around him was carved stone. The high walls of the structure and the long, curving benches were marvels of smooth, polished perfection. Almost all the available spaces were filled with people. Below the audience was a large pit of sand, glowing golden next to the white stone of the arena walls.

It was glorious.

Above them, thick fabric had been stretched between poles, all in the familiar colors of the various Razor schools. Roan noticed they had come out under a stretch of bright white cloth.

“Look there,” Gideon said, pointing. Inside the sheltered area, comfortable seats were filled with men and women wearing fine clothes. “Over there, standing next to High Chancellor Ellis, that’s Tonamil, winner of last year’s Grand Tournament,” Gideon said. For the first time since Roan had met Gideon, there was no edge to his voice. He sounded young.

The pounding of drums rose from the sand below. The low noise mingled with the tumult of the crowd, and they quickly took their seats.

Roan sat forward, excited for the matches to start. As he leaned his arms on the edge of the railing before him, he caught Gideon’s eye. “Watch and learn,” Gideon said, his eyes serious.

The fighting began, and whatever Roan had been expecting, this was not it. Multiple Razors took to the sands, throwing themselves into battle with abandon. The air was filled with the roaring spirits of the Ascended. With so many Razors coiling, the sound was wild and rough, like the howling winds of a storm.

My review:

Roan and Kay have made it into the school, but are now living on two separate sides of the same world. Roan has accepted his spot at the side of the Royals and has become the favorite of Kay’s enemy Dreah. Kay has finally been accepted into the school, by means of the shard, but is not accepted by the royals.

This leaves them both with the same question to ask themselves though, at what cost are they willing to win?  This second installment of the Faith and moonlight series leaves you begging for more and I can’t wait to see what will happen between Roan and Kay.

On a side note: I think Dreah finally got what was coming to her.

Description:

Roan wants to escape a brutal past. Kay, a dark future.

They are Razors now, with the power to break the very laws of the universe. The power to become everything they ever wanted.

Or exactly what they fear.

(BookR) Sirens Song by Mary Weber

Sirens-Song-Mary-Weber

Click on this link or on the picture above to purchase this book

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

Pages: 384

Cover:★★★★

Book: ★★★

Publishing Date: March 1, 2016

My review:

This book starts out with Nymia, elemental savior of Faelen,  and Eogan King of Bron making their Exit from the Terrene kingdom of Tulla after expelling Draewulf from Eogans body in Siren’s Fury. They head to Cashlin to seek aid from Queen Laiha and hopefully convince her to help them rescue  her daughter, Princess Rasha from Draewulfs clutches and ultimately get rid of Draewulf for good.

Two of the major issues that I had with this book were:

One: I kind of feel like the author just ran out of ideas or she originally meant for this to be a two book series. Myles (once again) has to decide whether he is going to be evil or help save the world. Draewulf is (once again) able to slip into their midst without being caught by hiding inside someone they trust. Nymia almost dies for good, Eogan almost dies (Thrice, though we only see one of these instances… two of them we don’t actually know how this comes about we just hear about it later)… and last but not least the day is saved at the last possible moment when you think defeat is almost certain.

Two: Nymia can’t really conquer anything by herself, and the one somewhat major fight that she gets in with a subset of the wraith army, Nymia ends up being rescued by Eogan.

On the plus side, Myles, Princess Rasha, Nymia, Eogan and everyone who doesn’t die during the final battle gets their happily ever after and we know this time Draewulf is gone for good.

Overall it wasn’t a bad book to read I was just hoping for a little more….something.

Description:

“The realization hits: We’re not going to win. It’s why I couldn’t defeat Draewulf in Bron—because this power was never mine anyway. I drop my arms and let the energy die off. And turn around to Face Eogan.”

After a fierce battle with Draewulf, Nym barely escaped with her life. Now, fleeing the scorched landscape of Tulla, her storm-summoning abilities are returning; only . . . the dark power is still inside her.

Broken and bloodied, Nym needs time to recover, but when the full scope of the shapeshifter’s horrific plot is revealed, the strong-willed Elemental must race across the Hidden Lands and warn the other kingdoms before Draewulf ’s final attack.

From the crystalline palaces of Cashlin to the legendary Valley of Origin, Nym scrambles to gather an army. But even if she can, will she be able to uncover the secret to defeating Draewulf that has eluded her people for generations? With a legion of monsters approaching, and the Hidden Lands standing on the brink of destruction, the stage is set for a battle that will decide the fate of the world.

This time, will the Siren’s Song have the power to save it?

(BookR) Hunter By Mercedes Lackey

cover

>>Buy Hunter Here<<

**I borrowed the audiobook version of this book from my local lubrary**

Pages: 384

Cover: ★★ out of 5

Book: ★★★¾ out of 5

Publishing Date: September 1, 2015

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

My Review:

This is a fantasy set in a future where the Apocalypse has occurred, just not in the way most of the world had expected it would. Instead of a rapture, there has been a rupturing of the worlds and magic has become a thing of reality. Not everyone has magic, but those who do are gifted with magical allys to help them fight the monsters that threaten to take out whats left of the human race.

Very BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER meets ENDERS GAME

When you are first introduced to Joyeaux, She has been called to Apex (the capital) from her mountain top home by her uncle to help the city fight off the increasing pest problem the creatures from the otherworld are creating. Unfortunately for her, her uncles status in the government and her particular talent make her a target and she soon finds herself in the middle of a plot to hurt her uncle.

It was fast paced and overall I enjoyed it. I would like to have seen more of the situation with her and her love interest Josh, but hopefully that will be in the next one. Definitely worth the read, though I found that I was a little disappointed in the ending. A little too predictable without much explanation as to why things happened the way they did.

 

Other Reviews:

Joyeaux Charmand has spent most of her life at the remote Monastery, training and serving as a Hunter. Since a catastrophic event called the Disarray, monsters of all kinds have crossed into the real world from the Otherworld and it’s the Hunters’ jobs to destroy them. Joy and her supernatural Hounds are summoned to the capital city, Apex, where she learns that Hunters there are regarded as celebrities, with their own television channels and rankings. As Joy adjusts to her flashy new life, gets to know the other Hunters, and starts Hunting, she begins to realize that Apex is not as safe as it seems and that there are secrets the government does not want exposed. This satisfying sci-fi YA novel is set in a fully thought-out future with cultural references woven throughout. Joy’s Hounds are Alebrijes, and the monsters she hunts come from a variety of sources: Drakkens, Folk (evil fairies), Vamps, Tommyknockers, Gogs, and Magogs. The protagonist is a principled, smart, strong girl and is easy to root for. The language can be clunky at times, but the incredible world-building more than makes up for it. VERDICT A perfect choice for “Hunger Games” fans and readers looking for stories with strong female heroines.—Marian McLeod, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich, CT

”Armed with wit as quick as her reflexes, her magic, and her equally enchanting Hounds, Joyeaux embarks on a journey that sets her questioning the motives of every person she comes in contact with as well as the larger system that was built to keep people protected. Lackey builds this magically post-apocalyptic world briskly…Joyeaux’s narration is spellbinding, the prose easily balancing the technology of the future with the traditions of the past. Captivating, dynamic, well paced, and thrilling.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

”Lackey successfully mixes dystopia and fantasy in this series opener…Exciting, entirely entertaining, and sure to please her fans.” —Publishers Weekly –This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Description (As listed on Amazon.com):

They came after the Diseray. Some were terrors ripped from our collective imaginations, remnants of every mythology across the world. And some were like nothing anyone had ever dreamed up, even in their worst nightmares.

Monsters.

Long ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were ripped open, and it’s taken centuries to bring back civilization in the wake of the catastrophe. Now, the luckiest Cits live in enclosed communities,behind walls that keep them safe from the hideous creatures fighting to break through. Others are not so lucky.

To Joyeaux Charmand, who has been a Hunter in her tight-knit mountain community since she was a child, every Cit without magic deserves her protection from dangerous Othersiders. Then she is called to Apex City, where the best Hunters are kept to protect the most important people.

Joy soon realizes that the city’s powerful leaders care more about luring Cits into a false sense of security than protecting them. More and more monsters are getting through the barriers,and the close calls are becoming too frequent to ignore. Yet the Cits have no sense of how much danger they’re in-to them, Joy and her corp of fellow Hunters are just action stars they watch on TV.

When an act of sabotage against Joy takes an unbearable toll, Joy uncovers a terrifying conspiracy in the city. There is something much worse than the usual monsters infiltrating Apex. And it may be too late to stop them.

(BookR) Radiance by Grace Draven

>>Buy it here<<

Pages: 297

Cover: ★★★

Book: ★★★★

Publishing date: January 11th, 2015

My Review:

If you are a fan of beauty and the beast you will love this book. Ildiko is a noble of relative unimportance in the land that she comes from, so she is married off to the spare prince of the neighboring race, the Kai. The Kai are the opposite of human in all ways, born with gray skin, claws, and a mouthful of fangs they thrive at night. Can she leave all that she knows and loves for the good of the kingdom?

I am an unashamed fan girl of Grace Draven, I have read all of her books and just started re-reading this one in preperation for the newest book in this particular series Eidelon.

Description:

~THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE~ Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined. ~THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE~ Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light. Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

 

About the author:

Grace Draven

Looking for any excuse to delay in doing the laundry, Grace Draven turned to the much more entertaining task of telling stories about fantasy worlds, magic, antiheroes, and the women who love them.

She currently lives in Texas with her husband, kids, and a big doofus dog. Laundry has now been assigned to the kids.

(BookR) Skinshaper Rend the Dark, Novella 2 by Mark Gelineau, Joe King

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Pages: 104

Cover: ★★★★

Book:★★★

Publishing Date:  March 15, 2016


 

Excerpt:

Prologue

The cage swung back and forth in the icy wind above the deserted town. It dangled from a length of frost-covered chain, high above the buildings of the camp. Inside the iron bars, a woman held herself still.

The sound came from far away, from inside the dark entrance of the mine. Her eyes narrowed and she held her breath, desperate to hear the sound once more. For a long moment, all that filled the air was the mournful howl of icy wind.

Then she heard it again.

Pounding feet.

She twisted in the narrow iron cage. Hope and horror warred within her as she held her breath and watched.

A figure broke free from the darkness of the mine and into the cold light of morning. He ran with a frantic intensity, arms and legs pumping. He shot across the bare white snow and into town. She watched with desperate, yearning hope as he ran through empty streets.

And then a chorus of gibbering shrieks sounded from the depths of the mine.

Hope shriveled and died inside her.

The man looked back and stumbled in the snow, falling forward onto his face. He scrambled to his feet, his face a mask of desperate terror.

From the mine, three twisted, broken shapes emerged.

They were fast, cavorting across the snow and ice with horrible, misshapen limbs. Too many legs and joints bending the wrong way. Arms with feet at the ends instead of hands. Madness made flesh.

The man pushed harder, his arms and legs flailing, but the creatures chased with impossible speed. The snow did not slow them. The ice did not cause them to slip or skitter out of control. They were made for the hunt and they descended upon him like wolves on a deer.

She shut her eyes as they dragged the screaming man back into the mine.

Then all was silent.

The woman didn’t cry. She just sat still and waited for her turn to die.


 

My Review:

It is really hard to leave a good review for these novella’s without giving everything away!

The characters are well rounded, the plot twists are wild, the monsters
are grotesque. Everything they produce is beautifully written, 
 formulated to draw you in and keep you coming back while keeping the 
story short enough to read in one setting. I would definitely recommend 
reading the first novella in the series before this one, otherwise some of 
the details you read about won't be as meaningful.

 

 

About the Authors:

Mark and Joe have been writing and telling stories the last 25 years. They share a love for the classic fantasy tales of their childhood. Their Echoes of the Ascended series brings those old epic characters and worlds to new life.