Mini Reviews: The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding + Smoke & Mirrors

mini-reviews-2

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

33785202The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken
Release date: September 5th, 2017
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Genre: Middle grade, fantasy
Format: eBook

Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 2.02.59 PM copy 5

GoodreadsAmazon

“I would say it’s a pleasure to meet thee, Prosperity Oceanus Redding, but truly, I only anticipate the delights of destroying thy happiness.”

Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old and storied family history — that is, until he discovers the demon living inside him. Turns out Prosper’s great-great-great-great-great-something grandfather made — and then broke — a contract with a malefactor, a demon who exchanges fortune for eternal servitude. And, weirdly enough, four-thousand-year-old Alastor isn’t exactly the forgiving type.

The fiend has reawakened with one purpose — to destroy the family whose success he ensured and who then betrayed him. With only days to break the curse and banish Alastor back to the demon realm, Prosper is playing unwilling host to the fiend, who delights in tormenting him with nasty insults and constant attempts trick him into a contract. Yeah, Prosper will take his future without a side of eternal servitude, thanks.

Little does Prosper know, the malefactor’s control over his body grows stronger with each passing night, and there’s a lot Alastor isn’t telling his dim-witted (but admittedly strong-willed) human host.

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding was a delightful and quirky middle grade novel. I had so much fun reading it and can’t recommend it enough! The book has a perfect mixture of spooky, Halloween-like vibes (demons, witches, curses), real world issues (bullying, fitting in) and witty dialogue that I was never bored. While it’s labeled as middle grade, I totally believe that people of all ages would enjoy it.

The story focuses on Prosper, a young boy who just doesn’t fit in. To make matters worse, he finds out that he has a demon living inside of him! Much of the story is Prosper arguing with his demon, Alastor. I just loved their conversations so much! Prosper is very sarcastic and Alastor (while supposed to be evil) can off as a grumpy old man, always trying to trick Prosper into agreements. Every page that featured these two characters was enjoyable to read.

My only issue with the book was how uneven it was. The story started strong, became stagnant in the middle and then picked up pace near the end. I struggled to get through the middle bits and am happy that I did. It was more than worth it but I didn’t take away some of my enjoyment. Overall, even with the pacing issues, this is a must read for people looking for a fun and spooky read.


I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

35489043Smoke & Mirrors by Michael Faudet
Release date: November 14th, 2017
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Genre: Poetry
Format: eBook

Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 2.02.59 PM copy 3

GoodreadsAmazon

Michael Faudet’s latest book takes the reader on an emotionally charged journey, exploring the joys of falling madly in love and the melancholy world of the brokenhearted. Beautifully captured in poetry, prose, and short stories, Faudet’s whimsical and sometimes erotic writing has captured the hearts and minds of thousands of readers from around the world.

This is Michael Faudet’s third poetry collection. I completely adored Dirty Pretty Things but found Bitter Sweet Love to be alright. This collection harks back to what made me fall in love with his writing. It’s a mixture of poems, short stories and quotes that explore love, relationships and sex. However, unlike his previous collections, the writing here focuses more on love and relationships than sex, something I found I could connect with more.

I read this collection in one sitting, although I do have to be completely honest, I skipped over the poems that were sexually explicit. That’s just not my thing and in past books they could be quite crude, so why push to read something I know I won’t enjoy? I think I would have loved this collection more if it was just the author speaking from his heart. The poems of failed relationships, longing and heartbreak are what appeal to me and when done right, the author can really stir up feelings I’ve long forgotten. I quite enjoyed how Faudet can transmit such raw and intense emotion in very few words. That, however, is not the case with his short stories. They were long and drawn-out…they lacked the urgency of his poems and brought the book to a standstill.

So, while I think this was a significant improvement to his previous release, Smoke & Mirrors was a mixed bag. It reminded me of why I love most of Faudet’s poems, but other parts were slow and cold. I guess it’s sometimes hard to top a much beloved debut but this collection gave me some hope that the next will be even better.

 

Advertisements

Mini Reviews: The Lady of Royale Street & Colorless

mini-reviews-2

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

32620396The Lady of Royale Street by Thea de Salle

Release date: August 21st, 2017
Publisher: Pocket Star
Genre: Romance, new adult, contemporary
Format: eBook

Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 2.02.59 PM copy 5

GoodreadsAmazon

Alex DuMont is everything his brother Sol isn’t: regimented, serious, and devout. Between twelve-hour workdays, service to the church, punishing daily workouts, and bi-weekly therapy sessions, Alex is, as Sol once put it, “a kettle perpetually whistling as it boils itself to death.” So when Sol announces his marriage to Arianna Barrington, heiress and society sweetheart, Alex is the absolute worst choice to be his best man. Sol asks anyway and Alex reluctantly agrees. It’s only a week, after all, and Alex should be able to stop himself from throttling his big brother for a meager seven days. Probably. Maybe.

Theresa Ivarson is Arianna’s best friend and the maid of honor. A decorated photojournalist who interrupts her globetrotting to stand beside her friend, Theresa is beautiful, witty, and unafraid to speak her mind. So when she is faced with working with the best man from Hell, a Viking who doesn’t know how to smile, is bossy, and about as pleasant as a cactus, the sparks are bound to fly—and not in the good way. To make matters worse, Sol and Rain’s wedding planner was hit by a bus the week before their special day, and Alex and Theresa find themselves at the center of a list-ditch effort to pull the wedding together. But when you can’t decide if you want to kiss or kill someone, something’s bound to break.

I discovered this series by Thea de Salle a few months ago from people posting about it on Twitter. It’s new adult and features a ton of sex which is usually not my “thing”. I’m usually a fantasy and oh-so-cute romance book kind of person, but I was intrigued by what people were saying. And they were all right….this series is AMAZING! I devoured this book along with its predecessors (The King of Bourbon Street and The Queen of Dauphine Street) within a month. If you haven’t read them seriously get on it!

The Lady of Royale Street was a fun and quick read! The story resolves around the Sol and Rain’s upcoming wedding. Nothing has gone as planned and in an effort to to avoid the day from turning into a complete disaster, the two enlist the help of Theresa (Rain’s best friend) and Alex (Sol’s brother). The problem? From the first time they meet these two are at odds, constantly bickering about every single thing.

Alex and Theresa were super adorable together. Their banter was some of my favourite from the series. It was witty and fast paced and had me smiling a lot while reading. Also, unlike the other relationships featured in the series, theirs felt natural. It was a slow build and one that developed by spending a large amount of time together. The one thing it did lack was the super steamy sex scenes that the other books had. I guess I was expecting more of the same? That said, this book had something the others lacked, which was an examination into religion, sex and desire. Both characters were religious and struggled with their beliefs and the feelings they had about each other and their actions. I honestly hadn’t read anything like it before.

Although it wasn’t what I was expecting, I loved every bit of The Lady of Royale Street. The characters were adorable, the dialogue brought a huge smile to my face and the blend of old and news characters was wonderfully done. I hope this isn’t the end of the series. There are so many more secondary characters to focus on, plus who doesn’t love New Orleans? Go out and buy all three books. YOU ARE MISSING OUT if you haven’t read this series. *sigh* I want more please!


I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

34625067Colourless by Rita Stradling

Release date: August 8th, 2017
Publisher: Rita Stradling
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Format: eBook

DNF — 55%

GoodreadsAmazon

In Domengrad, there are rules all must live by: Fear the Gods. Worship the Magicians. Forsake the Iconoclasts.

To Annabelle Klein, the rules laid down by the Magicians are the mere ramblings of stuffy old men. As far as she’s concerned, the historic Iconoclasts, heretics who nearly destroyed the Magicians so long ago, are nothing but myth. She has much more important matters to worry about.

Heiress to a manor mortgaged down to its candlesticks and betrothed to her loathsome cousin, sixteen-year-old Annabelle doubts the gods could forsake her more.

Then Annabelle is informed of her parents’ sudden and simultaneous deaths, and all of the pigment drips out of her skin and hair, leaving her colourless. Within moments, Annabelle is invisible and forgotten by all who know her.

Living like a wraith in her own home, Annabelle discovers that to regain her color she must solve the mystery behind her parents’ murders and her strange transformation.

Meanwhile, hundreds of the Magicians’ monks, with their all-black eyes and conjoined minds, have usurped control of Annabelle’s family manor. An Iconoclast is rumored to be about—a person who they claim goes unseen, unheard, and lost to memory, yet is the greatest threat to all of Domengrad. For the first time in a hundred years, the monks plan to unleash the dire wolves of old.

Their only target: Annabelle.

Rita Stradling is an author with totally original ideas and the description of Colourless really caught my eye. Honestly, I thought that this book would be amazing. I guess I should have known better because as much as I adored the first two books in her Dakota Kekoa series, I really haven’t had much luck with her other books.

I read about 55% of this book and put it aside. I’m not even sure why I read so much of it. But then again, I really wouldn’t label it as “reading” but more as “skimming”. I was reading a few work in a sentence or a paragraph a page and just going through the motions. There was no spark, nothing that kept me interesting or wanting to read. The main issue? The lead character Annabelle was not likeable at all. She thought too highly of herself, like everyone owed her. How am I supposed to connect with that? She just irritated me to no end! Ugh!

The pacing and writing of the book also didn’t do it any favours. Alright, the first few chapters did contain some potential. They were full of mystery and intrigue…but after that it all just became so dull. The mystery and intrigue turned into pure confusion. I stopped caring because everything bounced around. Why were there so many perspectives? Was that necessary? Why did all the characters sound the same? Who was talking? My mind just kept on wandering and reading this book unfortunately felt like a task, not something that I wanted to do. Maybe I should have put it down sooner but I really wanted to try to finish it.

So, while Colourless had a fascinating plot idea nothing really took off after the first few pages. I’m sad that this book turned out this way. It was the first I picked up after not reading for weeks due to work. I guess in the future I’ll steer clear of Stradling’s books, although I would really love for the third book of the Dakota Keko series to be released. It feels like ages since the second book came out.

Blog Tour: Wings Unseen by Rebecca Gomez Farrell

WingsUnseenTourBanner

9781946154002-WingsUnseen-EBOOK-COVER-FINAL_03Wings Unseen by Rebecca Gomez Farrell 
Release date: August 22nd 2017
Genres: Young adult, fantasy
Formats: Paperback, eBook

GoodreadsAmazon

To end a civil war, Lansera’s King Turyn relinquished a quarter of his kingdom to create Medua, exiling all who would honor greed over valor to this new realm on the other side of the mountains. The Meduans and Lanserim have maintained an uneasy truce for two generations, but their ways of life are as compatible as oil and water.

When Vesperi, a Meduan noblewoman, kills a Lanserim spy with a lick of her silver flame, she hopes the powerful display of magic will convince her father to name her as his heir. She doesn’t know the act will draw the eye of the tyrannical Guj, Medua’s leader, or that the spy was the brother of Serrafina Gavenstone, the fiancee of Turyn’s grandson, Prince Janto. As Janto sets out for an annual competition on the mysterious island of Braven, Serra accepts an invitation to study with the religious Brotherhood, hoping for somewhere to grieve her brother’s murder in peace. What she finds instead is a horror that threatens both countries, devouring all living things and leaving husks of skin in its wake.

To defeat it, Janto and Serra must learn to work together with the only person who possesses the magic that can: the beautiful Vesperi, whom no one knows murdered Serra’s brother. An ultimate rejection plunges Vesperi forward toward their shared destiny, with the powerful Guj on her heels and the menacing beating of unseen wings all about.


Author Guest Post: Top 10 Fantasy Book Inspirations

The following list is of my Top 10 fantasy world inspirations for my own epic fantasy, Wings Unseen. I’m certain these works of art influence me no matter what genre of fiction I’m working on at the moment. Most of them are books, but a few television shows squeaked in as well. Regardless of the medium, these fantasy worlds have been inspiring me for at least a decade if not two or three, and I doubt they’ll ever stop. I’m ordering them from most recent to the ones that have nurtured me since swaddling clothes.

10. Battlestar Galactica, the reboot: As much as this is a world inhabited by robots gone rogue, it is also a story of the fantastical intersection of religious faith, science, and the origin story. The power of an origin story is strong; in this world, it propels the homeless Colonists back toward their ancient home on Earth. And the history of Wings Unseen offers a similar heft. Their creation mythos is not simply a forgotten tale, but it provides a relevant understanding of the threats manifesting here and now.

9. Sir Apropos of Nothing and the Woad to Wuin by Peter David: The world of Sir Apropos is a silly one full of puns and poking fun at everything that constitutes a standard fantasy novel. But it is also a world full of appreciation for those very qualities it jabs at. The encounter with the unicorns is a must-read regardless of your opinion on mythical creatures! Books like these gave me permission to have my characters laugh at the absurdity of their own situations, however serious those situations feel to them. Life is ridiculous, whether fictional or real.

8. A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin: With the award-winning and record-breaking show for HBO in its seventh season, it’s no surprise to find this fantasy book series on anyone’s list of inspirations. But I was first introduced to it by an ex-boyfriend back around 1999, and I’ve been devoted to it ever since. What’s most inspirational to me is how Martin effectively uses multiple point-of-view characters to tell his story as fully as possible. And yes, so does Wings Unseen.

7. Star Trek, the Next Generation: The optimistic future world that Gene Rodenberry envisioned is fantasy on the space opera scale, but one that I’d love to believe humans can grow into. In all its iterations, there are villains, battles, and terror, but above all, and most evident in the Next Generation, there is hope in diplomacy, kindness, and a love of exploration that extends to respecting the cultures encountered. For me, the worlds of Star Trek are an example of how morality can be woven consistently and inspirationally into narrative, complete with mistakes and great leaps forward for mankind.

6. The Belgariad series by David Eddings: Either you love how Eddings sinks himself fully into the tropes of the fantasy world or you run away as fast as you can. But what I remember most from this series is the swearing: “Torak’s tooth!” Torak is the evil god of the series, and using that construction as a curse always made me smile. It transfers over to Wings Unseen in two common phrasings, one for each religion of the bitterly divided lands: “Madel’s hand” and “Saeth’s fist!” Either are satisfying to yell if you need to curse without offending anyone nearby…other than making them think you’re a wee bit crazy.

5. The Lord of the Rings series by J. R. R. Tolkien: The next two entries on this list are considered trite in this day and age, but they are here because no works are more formative for the early fantasy reader. And Tolkien’s Middle Earth combines the best of it all: prophecy, song, friendship, temptation, hard choices, and unerring devotion to saving anyone worthy at all costs, whether it’s a pair of kidnapped hobbits or a whole civilization. In the end, the small acts are just as important as the large ones, the taking of a ring as valuable as the felling of a Nazgul. Bravery knows no limitations here. And of course, this fantasy world gave us the blueprints for elves, dwarves, wizards, and other fantastical creatures from which to draw our own inspirations.

4. The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis: While fairy tales can claim their place as the originators of talking animals in tales, Narnia is the preeminent home of talking animals in fantasy. Some readers can’t take them at all, but I find Mr. Tumnus, the fawn, and Reepicheep, the warrior mouse, and all their friends rather charming. The qualities we prize in human characters can sometimes be more recognizable when inhabiting the body of an animal. But what I love most about Narnia is the sense that this world is much larger than we’ll ever fully see, and I take comfort in that. Even in exploring the ends of the world in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, I always felt there was more just outside the borders of the map.

3. Alice in Wonderland, the 1985 miniseries: Alice’s shenanigans in Wonderland were some of my earliest introductions to the idea of fantasy worlds, whether through the Disney film or the Lewis Carroll books. But the 1985 miniseries that drew on the first book and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass, is the one that has stuck with me in terms of writing influences. It had a star-studded cast and whimsy that came across a little less funny and a little more twisted than other retellings of the story. Especially through the use of the Jabberwocky, a monster in a nonsense poem in the book but a terrifying, existential threat in the miniseries. The intermixing of true horror with wild, and at times nonsensical, adventure is a combination that enthralls me. Though I hope Wings Unseen’s adventures make a little more sense. 😉

2. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra, Princess of Power: I would be lying if I omitted these two cartoons from my collective fantasy memory. The main characters’ purposes may not have been complex – destroy Skeletor to save Eternia or the Evil Horde to save Etheria – but they were clear-cut, and I never doubted the commitment of those heroes to their quest. Sometimes they had the upper hand, sometimes Skeletor did, but the battle was always noble and worth a Saturday morning’s viewing. I may have first learned the importance of sidekicks from this series as well, for comic relief but also for moral and sometimes physical support.

1. Fairy Tales: I don’t remember the name of the collection of fairy tales I grew up with, but I remember the book. There were many illustrations, and it was at least 400 pages long and divided into sections of colored pages: green, pink, blue, and yellow—maybe orange, too. I learned my basics from these tales: the Princess and the Pea, Rumpelstiltskin, the Ugly Duckling, and all the other stories that are never quite as happy as you remember reading them as a child. The beautiful vibrancy of the pages helped sear their words into my mind. Wings Unseen contains only unconscious echoes of fairy tales, but any writer learns the basics of plotting from them. My next book, a post-apocalyptic romance, relies on fairy tales as an organizing principle. They are in our marrow, and their power must be acknowledged.


About the Author

beccagomezfarrellIn all but one career aptitude test Rebecca Gomez Farrell has taken, writer has been the #1 result. But when she tastes the salty air and hears the sea lions bark, she wonders if maybe sea captain was the right choice after all. Currently marooned in Oakland, CA, Becca is an associate member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Her short stories, which run the gamut of speculative fiction genres, have been published by Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Pulp Literature, the Future Fire, Typehouse Literary Magazine, and an upcoming story in theDark, Luminous Wings anthology from Pole to Pole Publishing among others. Maya’s Vacation, her contemporary romance novella, is available from Clean Reads. She is thrilled to have Meerkat Press publish her debut novel.

Becca’s food, drink, and travel writing, which has appeared in local media in CA and NC, can primarily be found at her blog, The Gourmez. For a list of all her published work, fiction and nonfiction, check out her author website at RebeccaGomezFarrell.com.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


Giveaway!

Click the link to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. You could win a $25 Amazon gift card! Good luck!

Mini Reviews: The Chaos of Longing & The Little Queen

mini-reviews-2

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

30369886The Chaos of Longing by K.Y. Robinson
Release date: September 26th, 2017
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Genre: Poetry
Format: eBook

Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 2.02.59 PM copy 3

GoodreadsAmazon

The Chaos of Longing is a prose and poetry collection draped in raw honesty, ache, and eroticism. The collection explores trauma, love, heartbreak, and the realizations from it all.

The book is divided into four sections. “Inception” briefly examines formative years and its effects on how one loves. “Longing” reflects on love and sexuality. “Chaos” explores toxic relationships, unrequited love, and heartache. After chaos, there is order with self-love and healing poems in “epiphany”.

Some content may be triggering.

Over the past year, poetry has become one of my favourite genres. It has given me words that I can identify with, that I can hold close to my heart and know that I’m not alone. Others feel what I feel, others have gone through similar situations. It’s also showed me different perspectives, points of view that I perhaps wouldn’t have considered. It has opened up a whole new world for me, so I was very excited to read this particular poetry collection as it sounded similar to several other poetry books that I have recently read.

While K.Y. Robinson is undoubtedly a talented writer and her poems are beautiful, I didn’t really feel a connection to the words. It felt like I was a person looking through a window, I could see what was happening inside, but couldn’t do anything to interact with those on the inside. I wasn’t expecting such a sexually themed collection of poetry. I didn’t feel anything about those pieces, but I did enjoy her poems on self-worth, self-love, and self-confidence. The final section of the book was most definitely my favorite and the most enjoyable to read. It reminded me of The Princess Saves Herself in This One and Love, And You, two books I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

So, while I didn’t personally connect with much of the poetry on an emotional level, I am in awe of the author’s honesty. The collection is often brutal and painful, especially the beginning. Robinson has poured out her heart and laid herself bare. This is why you should give this collection a try. I will definitely be picking up her next book because while I wasn’t always emotionally invested in each poem, there was still enough to keep me curious and wanting more.


I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

35440860The Little Queen by Meia Geddes
Release date: August 1st, 2017
Publisher: Poetose Press
Genre: Fiction, fantasy, young adult
Format: eBook

Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 2.02.59 PM

GoodreadsAmazon

When her mother and father pass away, the little queen must figure out how to be a little queen. And so she begins her adventures, journeying away from her palace and into the world to determine how she should go about going on. The little queen soon encounters numerous folks who teach her a thing or two: the book sniffer, the dream writer, and the architect of silence are just a few. Along the way, the little queen finds friendship, love, and meaning in being a leader in her world. The Little Queen is a magical exploration of self-discovery, vocation, community, and home.

I completely adored this precious and beautifully written fairytale! I saw it recommended on various diverse Twitter accounts and thought it sounded like something that I would enjoy reading. And it was, it really was! I honestly wish I had the words to do it justice and truly describe how gorgeous it is. The writing was lyrical and had a magical quality to it that just brought everything to life. Plus, it featured cute illustrations that further added to the fairytale feeling. The mixture of the story and illustrations reminded me of the books I read in my childhood. It definitely made me heart happy!

The story is about a little queen who is unsure if she can properly rule her kingdom. So, she sets off on an adventure to explore her kingdom. Along the way she meets new people, makes friends and falls in love. I loved how the characters she met were women of various walks of life that show and teach her so much. I also really liked how this story featured a f/f love story. It’s so simple and pure…they were just so perfect together!

Another reason why I just can’t stop gushing about this book is its message of acceptance. The book and its characters embrace differences and never judges people for the way that they are. It promotes self-acceptance and choice. This is such a beautiful and important message for people of all walks of life, but especially young adults who will hopefully read this book.

Blog Tour: The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember (Review)

TigersWatchTour
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

34738792The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember
Release date: August 22nd, 2017
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Genre: Fiction, fantasy, young adult
Format: eBook

Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 2.02.59 PM.png

Goodreads | Amazon

Sixteen-year-old Tashi has spent their life training as a inhabitor, a soldier who spies and kills using a bonded animal. When the capital falls after a brutal siege, Tashi flees to a remote monastery to hide. But the invading army turns the monastery into a hospital, and Tashi catches the eye of Xian, the regiment’s fearless young commander.

Tashi spies on Xian’s every move. In front of his men, Xian seems dangerous, even sadistic, but Tashi discovers a more vulnerable side of the enemy commander—a side that draws them to Xian.

When their spying unveils that everything they’ve been taught is a lie, Tashi faces an impossible choice: save their country or the boy they’re growing to love. Though Tashi grapples with their decision, their volatile bonded tiger doesn’t question her allegiances. Katala slaughters Xian’s soldiers, leading the enemy to hunt her. But an inhabitor’s bond to their animal is for life—if Katala dies, so will Tashi.

Julia Ember has blown me away yet again! Her books are always unique and interesting. The Tiger’s Watch is the second book she’ll release this year but I’ve been waiting for this one for a while. Last September I hosted a cover reveal but then had to wait what felt like ages to finally read it. Well, the wait was well worth it because I devoured this book in one night. It was honestly that good!

Here’s why you really NEED to read it:

  • It features magical people called inhabitors. These people have their souls bonded with animals and use this connection to become warriors and spies. The connections are deep and allow both sides to experience situations that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. Tashi’s connection with Katala, a rare golden tiger, is was one of my favourite aspects of the novel. Tashi’s bond with Katala pushes them to become better, to stand up for what they believe in and protect those that they love. It’s not a bond of abuse or power, it truly improves the lives of both sides and wasn’t made by force but free will. 
  • Free will and choice are also major themes of this book. Tashi’s life has pretty much been planned out for them. They were given over to the monastery at such a young age that they don’t remember their family. Tashi really didn’t have a choice in becoming an inhibitor. Their story in this book is all about making their own decisions. What is best for them and the people that they love? Tashi faces some difficult choices and while I didn’t always agree with what they did, I appreciated how they followed their heart. 
  • None of the characters are really what they seem. Nothing is black or white but various shades of grey. The story’s villain, Xian, kept my on my toes the whole time! I felt just as confused as Tashi did when he appeared on the page. At times Xian comes across as kind and caring, just trying to do his best under difficult circumstances. Other times he was just cruel and angry. My heart flip-flopped so many times…I just don’t know I feel about him! I character I did absolutely adore was Pharo. Loyal, wonderful, big-hearted Pharo. He’s one of those characters that just wiggle their way into your heart. You just have to love him!
  • The world is so rich and wonderfully written. I’m always amazed by the author’s ability to create fully formed fantasy worlds in under 200 pages. The Tiger’s Watch was inspired by Ember’s trip to Bhutan. Much of the story happens in an isolated monastery. This in a way limits the amount of characters and creates a simple plot. The world isn’t complicated but is a reflection of our own with people fighting over resources.
  • It’s fast paced and relentless. From the first page the reader is thrown into the action. The first chapter has a lot going on in it and I found this a bit disorienting. Too many new names and too much information! It was a bit of a shock but everything calms down by the second chapter. At first I was confused but looking back I can see why the author chose to do this. It matches what’s going on and really helps you understand how the characters must feel.
  • It features a genderfluid protagonist. Now, I can’t speak for the representation, but what I did enjoy was how Tashi’s genderfluidity was not what the book was about. It was who they were and never used as a plot device to create drama or generate interest. There were also scenes where Tashi was misgendered but this was always corrected by other characters.
  • The ending was quite abrupt, which could be a negative thing, but not here! It was a perfect cliffhanger. I could have used more though. That’s always my complaint with books by Ember. They are always so short and I’m a greedy reader. I always want more and more.
  • The cover artwork is beautiful! My heart is so happy whenever I see it. I can’t wait for what this series has in store.

I can’t recommend this book enough! It has so many amazing things happening for it — a diverse cast of characters, drama, battle scenes, romance! YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK! And also pick up Ember’s other books because once your done with this one you’ll fall in love with her gorgeous writing, loveable characters and lush worlds.


About the Author

15037326_10157714059105285_2165799410648686596_nOriginally from Chicago, Julia Ember now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. She spends her days working in the book trade and her nights writing teen fantasy novels. Her hobbies include riding horses, starting far too many craft projects, PokemonGo and looking after her city-based menagerie of pets with names from Harry Potter. Luna Lovegood and Sirius Black the cats currently run her life.

Julia is a polyamorous, bisexual writer. She regularly takes part in events for queer teens, including those organised by the Scottish Booktrust and LGBT Youth Scotland. A world traveler since childhood, she has now visited more than sixty countries. Her travels inspire the fantasy worlds she creates, though she populates them with magic and monsters.

Julia began her writing career at the age of nine, when her short story about two princesses and their horses won a contest in Touch magazine. In 2016, she published her first novel, Unicorn Tracks, which also focused on two girls and their equines, albeit those with horns. Her second novel, The Seafarer’s Kiss was released by Interlude Press in May 2017. The book was heavily influenced by Julia’s postgraduate work in Medieval Literature at The University of St. Andrews. It is now responsible for her total obsession with beluga whales.

In August 2017, her third novel and the start of her first series, Tiger’s Watch, will come out with Harmony Ink Press. In writing Tiger’s Watch, Julia has taken her love of cats to a new level.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook


Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. You could win one of two (2) signed paperback copies of The Tiger’s Watch. Good luck! ❤

Blog Tour: The Thirteenth Gate by Kat Ross (Review)

TheThirteenthGateTourBanner-1
I received this book for free from Xpresso Blog Tours n exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

34700323The Thirteenth Gate (Dominion Mysteries #2) by Kat Ross
Release date: June 26th, 2017
Publisher: Acorn
Genre: Fantasy, mystery, young adult
Format: eBook

Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 2.02.59 PM.png

Goodreads | Amazon

Winter 1888. At a private asylum in the English countryside, a man suspected of being Jack the Ripper kills an orderly and flees into the rain-soaked night. His distraught keepers summon the Lady Vivienne Cumberland—who’s interviewed their patient and isn’t sure he’s a man at all. An enigmatic woman who guards her own secrets closely, Lady Vivienne knows a creature from the underworld when she sees one. And he’s the most dangerous she’s ever encountered.

As Jack rampages through London, this time targeting rare book collectors, Lady Vivienne begins to suspect what he’s looking for. And if he finds it, the doors to purgatory will be thrown wide open…

Across the Atlantic, an archaeologist is brutally murdered after a Christmas Eve gala at the American Museum of Natural History. Certain peculiar aspects of the crime attract the interest of the Society for Psychical Research and its newest investigator, Harrison Fearing Pell. Is Dr. Julius Sabelline’s death related to his recent dig in Alexandria? Or is the motive something darker?

As Harry uncovers troubling connections to a serial murder case she’d believed was definitively solved, two mysteries converge amid the grit and glamor of Gilded Age New York. Harry and Lady Vivienne must join forces to stop an ancient evil. The key is something called the Thirteenth Gate. But where is it? And more importantly, who will find it first?

This book was everything I’ve ever wanted and more! Over the past year I’ve become a huge fan of Kat Ross’ books. They are so underrated and I really wish more people knew about them. Her first trilogy, The Fourth Element, stood out due to its unique story, setting and wonderful characters. I was so upset when it ended because I really enjoy the way the Ms Ross writes. I have such a difficult time putting her books down that I often find myself reading through the entire night (even though I have work the next day).

A few weeks ago I read The Daemoniac, the first book in the Dominion Mysteries series, and absolutely fell in love with it! The book is set in 1880s New York City and can best be described as a mixture of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The story was a perfect blend of mystery, horror and action! It featured wonderfully loveable characters, witchcraft, murder and creepy séances. And the suspense! I just never knew where the plot was going to go. Once I finished a chapter I had to move onto the next one because I needed to know what would happen next. Since, I obviously adored The Daemoniac, I was very excited to start the sequel.

The Thirteenth Gate wastes no time and picks up where its predecessor leaves off. However, Ms Ross throws in a twist and introduces a group of new characters that takes the series in a new and even more exciting direction. I don’t want to give much away but I squealed when I realized who the new characters were. She has done a fantastic job weaving together what would seem like two separate worlds or ideas. If you have read The Fourth Element trilogy then you are definitely in for a surprise! If not, don’t worry as it’s not necessary to have read the trilogy before reading The Thirteenth Gate. 

It’s so difficult to write reviews for sequels and mysteries. I just don’t want to give anything away! But what I loved about this book was its atmosphere. I seriously can’t get enough of the time period. Ms Ross has constructed a moody and dark setting that matches the story perfectly. The characters were again a highlight for me. There are two wonderful female leads. They are complete opposites but compliment each other and combine their strengths to solve the book’s mystery. The only thing I wish there would have been more of is romance. There were hints scattered all over the first book and this one but nothing has really come of it. Just when I think something might happen it’s interrupted. So, please, please, please…a little romance in the next book! These characters have been through so much and deserve a little love.

You really need to pick of this series! It’s beyond amazing and I’ve been recommending it to everyone I know. As soon as I received my copy I put aside everything else and absolutely devoured it. I can’t wait for the next instalment because Ms Ross’ books just keep on getting better and better! So, go out and get The Thirteenth Gate. And while your at it pick up her other books because trust me, you’ll want more and more!


About the Author

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day, the Fourth Element fantasy trilogy (The Midnight Sea, Blood of the Prophet, Queen of Chaos), and a new gaslamp mystery series that opens with The Daemoniac and continues with The Thirteenth Gate. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook


Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway. You could win a signed paperback copy of the first book in the series, The Daemoniac! Good luck!

ARC Review: Odd & True by Cat Winters

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

28078791Odd & True by Cat Winters
Release date: September 12th, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction
Format: eBook

Screen Shot 2017-02-19 at 2.02.59 PM copy 5

Goodreads | Amazon

Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.

Odd & True was my first book by Kat Winters. I’ve read quite positive reviews about her other books and made a mental note to eventually read one of them. So, when I saw this book posted on NetGalley I jumped at the chance to read it. Plus, the badass cover totally caught my eye and the description peaked my interest. While the book wasn’t necessarily what I thought it would be, that didn’t take away from how much I enjoyed reading it.

Before I go into why I adored this book, I do want to say that it’s not really about monsters at all. Well, not about mythical monsters like vampires, werewolves, etc. It’s an examination of monsters people face in their everyday lives, hard choices and a tough reality. Sometimes we just need to tell ourselves stories about princesses, monster hunters and castles to take away the pain or to protect others from things that they are not yet ready to face.

The beginning of Odd & True was a bit slow. The first few chapters felt like a chore to get through but then everything changed. I was completely hooked and enchanted by the story’s main characters, Od and Tru. I enjoyed reading a book about a close relationship between sisters. It seems that lately all I’ve read about are relationships of a romantic nature or between friends. While I loved Od for her strength and endurance, Tru really stood out for her empathy, resilience and intense loyalty. Both young women grew so much as the story progressed and I loved how protective they were of each other. We need more relationships like this in YA! The narrator of the chapters alternated between the two sisters and nothing was ever as it seemed. I was never totally sure what was real and what wasn’t…which point of view was reliable?

The writing was fantastic! The descriptions really enhanced the reading experience…it was mysterious, dangerous and full of magic! The locations featured in the story were also a key aspect that really sold the story for me. The beginning takes place in late 1800s California where everything is sunny and bright, while much of the book is set in early 1900s Oregon and the mid-Atlantic states. The contrast between dark and light, good versus evil, the past and the present perfectly set the tone of the book and atmosphere of the book. And the ending…well the ending just floored me. It was perfect in every single way! I do want more from these characters and I have my fingers (and toes) crossed that Ms Winters will write another book or novella. Please?!?!

It was hard to end this book! I sat and stared at the last page for a while and sighed. I read it while waiting for my flight and didn’t realize how quickly I read through it. So, don’t let the slow start turn you off because once things get going, it’s a non-stop adventure. You really need to read this book!


About the Author

5351847Cat Winters is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author of four novels for teens: In the Shadow of Blackbirds (Morris Award finalist, a School Library Journal Best Book of 2013), The Cure for Dreaming (an Amelia Bloomer Project pick), The Steep and Thorny Way (a Kirkus Best Teen Book of 2016, Junior Library Guild selection), and the forthcoming Odd & True. She has also written two novels for adults, The Uninvited and Yesternight, and contributed to the young adult horror anthology Slasher Girls & Monster Boys.

Winters was born and raised in Southern California, near Disneyland, which may explain her love of haunted mansions, bygone eras, and fantasylands. She received degrees in drama and English from the University of California, Irvine, and formerly worked in publishing. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and kids.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads