Thursday 31 May 2018

TBR Orphans Challenge - May Update


May was a good month for my Orphaned books. Five of them finally got picked up and read.

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine had been on my shelves since June 2016.

Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare & others since May 2017

Under My Skin by Shawntelle Madison had been languishing since September 2016

Death, Doom, and Detention by Darynda Jones was the oldest Orphan this month, having been overlooked since December 2013

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson had been on my shelves since November 2016

This makes a total of 14 books read this year that had been on my shelves for more than three months at the moment I finally picked them up.

How are you doing on your challenges?


Wednesday 30 May 2018

Grum: Barbarian Barista - Book Review


Grum: Barbarian Barista
by John Rickett


What is it about:
Grum

Defiler of Corpses.
Butcher of Balor.
God Stomper.

…Minimum-wage Barista at Tarbean Café—home of the darkest, strongest, most expensive coffee on planet earth.

And Grum’s most difficult quest yet.

The vortex. The feeling of being ripped apart. When he’d awoken after the fight with Albatross, he was in this realm. A realm filled with tall buildings and small people—with no way to get home.

And nothing to kill… except time.

Then he saw the quest marker.

HELP WANTED

There had never been a quest that Grum hadn’t smashed his way through. He’d looted every dungeon, butchered every end-game boss, ravaged the entire map in a crashing wave of blood and glory.

Totally unhelpful in whipping up a cappuccino.

Grum learns that his quest cannot be won though face-smashing, murder, and intimidation. If he is to become The Legend of Latte, his new adventuring party, Gabe and Candice, must teach this old barbarian to embrace patience. Embrace finesse. Embrace cooperation.

And that he can’t kill and smash his way through everything.


What did I think of it:
This is a hilarious short story best enjoyed by people who are into tabletop or computer roleplaying games.

Grum is a hero in a Fantasy Roleplaying World who gets transported to the normal world. He is used to seeing everything as a battle or challenge to overcome and to get rewarded after in experience points or valuable loot. Being a junior Barista in a cafe isn't something he can understand, let alone handle without making a mess of things.

I very much enjoyed the way Grum sees the world and seeing him struggle to complete mundane tasks. He is very determined to fulfill his quest, but in his enthusiasm he makes a lot of mistakes and brings disaster on him and the people he works with. I rooted for him and his new friends to survive their shift and to find a way to bring Grum's quest to a satisfying conclusion.

All in all a fun and funny read. I will investigate what other books Rickett has written.

Why should you read it:
Barbarian Barista!!!


Buy from Amazon

Tuesday 29 May 2018

Teaser Tuesdays - Walk on Earth a Stranger


My pulse hammers in my throat. Could I do it? I'm strong. I can shoot better than any man in Dahlonega.

(page 63, Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson)


Buy from bookdepository

---------

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday 28 May 2018

Let It Shine - Book Review by Voodoo Bride


Let It Shine
by Alyssa Cole


What is it about:
**Let It Shine originally appeared in The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology. This version features the original story, as well as a bonus short story, No Valley Low.***

Sofronia Wallis knows that proper Black women don’t court trouble by upending the status quo, but it’s 1961 and the Civil Rights movement is in full swing. Sofie’s spent half her life being prim, proper, and reserved—as if that could bring her mother back—but the nonviolent protests happening across the South bring out her inner agitator.

Ivan Friedman has devoted his life to boxing, loving the finesse of a well-delivered punch and the penance of receiving one. His family escaped from Europe before the horrors of WWII, and Ivan decides to help fight injustice in their new country, even if it goes against all his instincts as a fighter.

When Ivan and Sofie meet, they realize that their pasts are intertwined and—with the sparks that fly between them—perhaps their futures will be too. With everything in their society lined up against them, will Sofie and Ivan be able to beat the odds? Or will their chance at love be destroyed by the tumultuous times they live in?


What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
I loved A Princess in Theory and picked this novella up because I was curious about other books by Alyssa Cole.

And this is a beautiful and emotional story.

I will confess that Sofie's struggles to fight for what she believes in made more of an impact on me than the romance. I loved to see her shake off the corset of restrictions she put on herself after her mother's death and to see her stand tall and take on an unjust world with courage and strength. The way she grows in this novella and learns to stand up for herself and her beliefs had me cheering her on, and blinking back tears at times.

I have of course heard about the Civil Rights movement and the violence the peaceful protesters had to endure, but reading about those things in dry history books is very different than encountering them in a story like this, and feel the emotions.

The romance was really good as well. Sofie and Ivan have a shared history and know a shared future will be difficult, but there's an attraction between them that cannot be denied. I loved how they gravitate towards each other, knowing they won't have it easy, but still wanting to give it a try.

All in all I loved this novella and I will most certainly read more by Alyssa Cole in the future.

Why should you read it:
It's an emotional Historical Romance


Buy from Amazon

Friday 25 May 2018

Death, Doom and Detention - Book Review


Death, Doom and Detention (Darklight #2)
by Darynda Jones


What is it about:
The normal part of Lorelei MacAlister’s life didn’t just slip away quietly the day Jared Kovach came to town. Nope. The normal part of her life shattered. It exploded. It burst into a gazillion shards of fleeting light.

It went out with a bang.

Goodbye normal.

Hello dark and eerie.

While her best friend, Brooklyn, is focusing all of her energy on helping Lorelei hone her abilities, Lorelei is dealing with the reality that Satan’s second in command has taken up residence inside her body. Oh, and the fact that she has a crush on the Angel of Death. But what a beautiful death it is. If those weren’t bad enough, something sinister has come to town and it wants nothing more than to hear Lorelei’s dying breath as it strangles it out of her. Thank goodness the gang has a supernatural champion. But what happens when the only being who can save them switches sides midstream? How can a group of misfits capture one of the most powerful beings ever created? And will they find out how to bring Jared back to them before it’s too late?


What did I think of it:
It has been a while since I read the first book. Luckily there is enough explanation without it being an info dump at the start of this book to get up to speed again.

And this is just as the first book an enjoyable read.

Jared and Cameron are still like two alpha gorillas beating their chest at each other at times, but luckily it's about other things than who gets the girl. Lorelei is being totally oblivious to the danger she is in, and goes to parties of people she hates, so typical book teen behavior (at least I hope it's only book teens who do these things, or else it's yet another sign I wasn't a normal teen).

The slightly annoying behavior of all teens involved aside, the story was entertaining and suspenseful. Why are people acting strange? What secrets are being kept from Lorelei? Why would an ancient celestial being fall for Lorelei?

All joking aside: if you're looking for an enjoyable Paranormal YA read, this is the series for you. I think I'll try to get hold of the last book to see how this trilogy ends.

Why should you read it:
It's an entertaining Paranormal YA read.


Buy from bookdepository

Thursday 24 May 2018

On Voodoo Bride's Radar - Dangerous

You bet Voodoo Bride pre-ordered this book and is impatiently waiting for it to release.


Dangerous (The Outcasts #1)
by Minerva Spencer


What sort of lady doesn’t make her debut until the age of thirty-two? A timeless beauty with a mysterious past—and a future she intends to take into her own hands...

Lady Euphemia Marlington hasn’t been free in seventeen years—since she was captured by Corsairs and sold into a harem. Now the sultan is dead and Mia is back in London facing relentless newspapermen, an insatiably curious public, and her first Season. Worst of all is her ashamed father’s ultimatum: marry a man of his choosing or live out her life in seclusion. No doubt her potential groom is a demented octogenarian. Fortunately, Mia is no longer a girl, but a clever woman with a secret—and a plan of her own.

Adam de Courtney’s first two wives died under mysterious circumstances. Now there isn’t a peer in England willing to let his daughter marry the dangerously handsome man the ton calls The Murderous Marquess. Nobody except Mia’s father, the desperate Duke of Carlisle. Clearly Mia must resemble an aging matron, or worse. However, in need of an heir, Adam will use the arrangement to his advantage.

But when the two outcasts finally meet, assumptions will be replaced by surprises, deceit by desire—and a meeting of minds between two schemers may lead to a meeting of hearts—if the secrets of their pasts don’t tear them apart.



Expected publication: June 26th 2018 by Zebra
Buy from bookdepository

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Ink Exchange - Book Review (repost)


Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely #2)
by Melissa Marr


What is it about:
Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance among the Faery Courts has altered, and Irial, ruler of the Dark Court, is battling to hold his rebellious and newly vulnerable fey together. If he fails, bloodshed and brutality will follow.

Seventeen-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their intrigues. When she is attracted to an eerily beautiful tattoo of eyes and wings, all she knows is that she has to have it, convinced it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life.

The tattoo does bring changes—not the kind Leslie has dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that are more than symbolic. Those changes will bind Leslie and Irial together, drawing Leslie deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils...


What did I think of it:
This is the second book in a series, but I think this book can perfectly be read as a standalone as well.

I really liked the world building and the mood of this story. It's dark and mysterious, and hints at the magic that's hidden from mundane people.

I really liked Leslie. She's been broken, but managed to put herself together again, although the cracks are still showing. It made her both vulnerable and strong. I rooted for her to find the freedom, the change, she is longing for.

There are two men who are interested in Leslie, although I wouldn't call it a love triangle. Both Niall and Irial are complex and intriguing characters, and I had a hard time to decide which of them I was rooting for to succeed in his plans. (To be honest, the only characters I didn't care for turned out to be the lead characters of the first book in this series.)

The story is compelling and I had to keep reading to see where things would lead to. I love how this story makes you think. It's not black and white, but made up out of many shades of grey.

The ending was satisfying, although not what I expected.

I'm not sure if I will read other books in this series, because I didn't like the characters who will have the lead roles in the other books in this series. I will investigate what other books Marr has written though.

Why should you read it:
It's a compelling YA Faery read.


Buy from bookdepository

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Teaser Tuesdays - Death, Doom, and Detention


Cameron appraised the crowd before parking his gaze on Jared. Jared returned the sentiment and the glower-fest began anew.


(page 138, Death, Doom, and Detention by Darynda Jones)


Buy from bookdepository

---------

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday 21 May 2018

Under My Skin - Book Review


Under My Skin (Immortality Strain #1)
by Shawntelle Madison


What is it about:
Everyone wants to either be a member of the Guild or work for them. Little does the populace know that the Guild hides sinister secrets...

For Tate Sullivan, life in her small, coastal town is far from glamorous. The affluent lives of the Guild members and their servants isn't something she has ever wanted. But all sixteen year-olds must take a simple test, and Tate's result thrusts her into the Guild's world, one where they hide horrible plans for those they select. Tate must fight the relentless General Dagon for control of her mind, body, and soul to keep the one precious thing she has always taken for granted: herself.

Her only ally is the same handsome boy she is pitted against in General Dagon’s deadly game. Quinn desires nothing more than to end the life of General Dagon who has taken over Tate's mind. While romance blooms between Tate and Quinn, General Dagon plots to eventually take over Tate's body, and love might end before it even begins.


What did I think of it:
I loved the Coveted series by Madison, so was curious if this book would be just as fun.

Although it turned out this book isn't fun in the way Coveted was, it did turn out to be a cool read.

The future world that Madison created wasn't expanded on much, it even felt a bit old fashioned, but that didn't lessen my enjoyment. I liked Tate and was soon engrossed in the story. There were some story-hooks that I think weren't used to their full potential, but the story I did get was intriguing and suspenseful enough to keep me from grumbling.

Tate's struggle with General Dagon could have been taken a bit further as well in my opinion. At times things felt a bit too easy. Those things aside I had a great time with this book though, and near the end things do get a bit more dire.

The ending is satisfactory while also hinting at much more to come. I fear that there won't be a second book though, seeing how this one was released in 2014, but I can hope.

Why should you read it:
It's a very enjoyable YA red.


Buy from bookdepository

Friday 18 May 2018

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy - Book Review


Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy
by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman


What is it about:
Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. But the events of City of Heavenly Fire left him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows he was friends with Clary, and that he convinced the total goddess Isabelle Lightwood to go out with him…but he doesn’t know how. And when Clary and Isabelle look at him, expecting him to be a man he doesn’t remember…Simon can’t take it.

So when the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. His new self. Whomever this new Simon might be.

But the Academy is a Shadowhunter institution, which means it has some problems. Like the fact that non-Shadowhunter students have to live in the basement. And that differences—like being a former vampire—are greatly looked down upon. At least Simon is trained in weaponry—even if it’s only from hours of playing D&D.

Join Simon on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy’s illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. These ten short stories give an epilogue to the Mortal Instruments series and provide glimpses of what’s in store in the Dark Artifices.


What did I think of it:
This is probably a great book for most people who love the Shadowhunters books, but it didn't work for me.

I went into this read with two wrong assumptions: That this would be stories focused on students in a boarding school, and that I could handle a book full of Simon.

Yes, the Shadowhunter students live at the academy, but that's about where the boarding school experience ends. The academy is a mess and stays a mess. I was wondering why the students would stand for this instead of starting a rebellion. I also wondered how any of the students living in the cellars even survived for more than a week as it was a serious hazard to their health.

Then there was Simon. I didn't much care for him in the Mortal Instruments series and I can't say these stories changed my mind. There was one returning character in these stories I really liked, but we all know what happens to secondary characters who I like, so the less said about that the better.

The stories themselves were nice, but nothing special. I wanted training and boarding school stuff, but most stories used the school as a starting point for teachers and whoever else to tell stories about Shadowhunters and their past successes and failures.

This book won't be a keeper. I will try to read Lady Midnight though, to see if that one gets me back into the world of the Shadowhunters.

Why should you read it:
If you like the Shadowhunter world and Simon this book is for you.


Buy from bookdepository

Thursday 17 May 2018

On McPig's Wishlist - Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix


Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix (Rise of the Empress #2)
by Julie C. Dao


This fairy tale retelling lives in a mystical world inspired by the Far East, where the Dragon Lord and the Serpent God battle for control of the earthly realm; it is here that the flawed heroine of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns finally meets her match. An epic fantasy finale to the Rise of the Empress novels.

Princess Jade has grown up in exile, hidden away in a monastery while her stepmother, the ruthless Xifeng, rules as empress of Feng Lu. But the empire is in distress and its people are sinking into poverty and despair. Even though Jade doesn't want the crown, she knows she is the only one who can dethrone the empress and set the world right. Ready to reclaim her place as rightful heir, Jade embarks on a quest to raise the Dragon Lords and defeat Xifeng and the Serpent God once and for all. But will the same darkness that took Xifeng take Jade, too? Or will she find the strength within to save herself, her friends, and her empire?

Set in an East Asian-inspired fantasy world filled with breathtaking pain and beauty, Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix is filled with dazzling magic, powerful prose, and characters readers won't soon forget.



Buy from bookdepository

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Flesh - Book Review (repost)

I have been rereading Flesh, so thought I'd repost my review for those who still haven't gotten their hands on it, because it is awesome and everyone should read it, imo.


Flesh
by Laura Bickle


What is it about:
The dead are easy to talk to. Live people, not so much.

Charlie Sulliven thinks she knows all the secrets of the dead. Raised in a funeral home, she’s the reluctant “Ghoul Girl,” her reputation tied to a disastrous Halloween party. But navigating her life as a high school sophomore is an anxiety-inducing puzzle to her. She haunts the funeral home with her parents, emo older brother, Garth, their pistol-packing Gramma, and the glass-eyeball-devouring dachshund, Lothar.

Chewed human bodies are appearing in her parents’ morgue…and disappearing in the middle of the night. The bodies seem tied to a local legend, Catfish Bob, who has resurfaced in the muddy Milburn river near Charlie’s small town. When one of Charlie’s classmates, Amanda, awakens in the cooler as a flesh-eating ghoul, Charlie must protect her newfound friend and step up to unravel the mystery…and try to avoid becoming lunch meat for the dead.


What did I think of it:
You might know I'm a big fan of Laura Bickle, so you bet I started reading this book as soon as it released.

And this is yet another awesome read!

Charlie is easy to relate to. She just wants to be a normal teen, but living in a funeral home and with a family like hers that isn't easy. I was rooting for her from the start.

The story has a nice build up: you get to know Charlie and her family while there are hints that some weird stuff might be going on, but nothing too obvious until corpses start disappearing...

This story is creepy, suspenseful, and kept me reading until I finished it. There are ghouls, old evils lurking in the shadows, and one of the most awesome grandmothers I've seen in fiction. I also loved the antics of Lothar, the dachshund.

I loved how the story progressed and how the pacing increased as things get more dire. I was intrigued by what was happening and why it was happening. Charlie tries to do things on her own, but luckily she finds people who can help her as things spiral more and more out of control.

As with all good stories I finished it way too soon, but the ending was very satisfying. You bet I got my trotters on a print copy to hug and pet and reread any time I want.

Why should you read it:
Zombies!!! Well... sort of zombies, but still awesome!


Buy from Amazon

Tuesday 15 May 2018

The Frankenstein Saga by Merrie Destefano - Alert


Did you know you can get the entire Frankenstein Saga trilogy in paperback already?

Go get this beauty today!

Or you could get all three books separately in print or ebook*:

Shade - Dusk - Dawn

*Shade has already released in ebook, Dusk and Dawn are available for pre-order


Frankenstein meets Dracula in this Gothic retelling of Mary Shelley’s classic tale.

A holiday in Switzerland is supposed to lift Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin’s spirits. She wants to forget the past and have fun. In fact, everyone in her party is running away from one indiscretion or another—from her fiancé Percy Shelley to Lord Byron to Mary’s stepsister, Claire. But from the moment Mary arrives at Byron’s villa, she knows something is wrong. He rushes her indoors and forbids all of them to go out at night, claiming that the horrible weather has driven wild animals down from the mountains.

The only person who doesn’t seem to be running away from anything is a handsome, young Italian doctor, John Polidori. Instead, he is fervently pursuing local folk legends and a new scientific theory that claims people can be raised from the dead.

But it’s not until they all challenge one other to write ghost stories that the real danger begins. In a nightmare, Mary envisions a patchwork man animated by Galvanism and she begins writing Frankenstein. Likewise, fueled by local legends, John writes The Vampyre—one of the first vampire stories ever written.

What neither one of them knows is that they are conjuring a dark evil. Before long, all of their lives will be in danger—for neither of these characters are imaginary. Far from it.

For fans of the Netflix program, THE FRANKENSTEIN CHRONICLES, AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY by Susan Dennard, and BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA.

Monday 14 May 2018

The Undomestic Goddess - Book Review by Voodoo Bride


The Undomestic Goddess
by Sophie Kinsella


What is it about:
Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She’s made a mistake so huge, it’ll wreck any chance of a partnership.

Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she’s mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they’ve hired a lawyer–and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can’t sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the #@%# ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope–and finds love–is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.

But will her old life ever catch up with her? And if it does...will she want it back?


What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
This is a nice read.

I will confess it all went a bit too easily for Samantha in my opinion. She manages to keep her worst mistakes hidden from her employers (who are completely clueless btw...), hunky gardener immediately falls for her and helps her, she can cook like a chef after one day of lessons, etc...

I also did not like the implication that housekeepers usually are stupid foreigners, and can't speak English.

That aside this was an enjoyable read. Even without any real obstacles I liked reading how Samantha settled into her new life. Then she gets the opportunity to get back her old life. No surprises there either, even though I had hoped for a bit more nuance.

This won't be a keeper, but still a nice read if you're in the mood for something uncomplicated.

Why should you read it:
It's an easy and enjoyable read.


Buy from bookdepository

Friday 11 May 2018

Beyond a Darkened Shore - Book Review


Beyond a Darkened Shore
by Jessica Leake


What is it about:
The ancient land of Éirinn is mired in war. Ciara, Princess of Mide, has never known a time when Éirinn’s kingdoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores.

The people of Mide have thankfully always been safe because of Ciara’s unearthly ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately, a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Éirinn, but the entire world.

Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara’s enemy, but when Ciara discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he’s something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara’s strength in battle the two might have a chance to save their world.

With evil rising around them, they’ll do what it takes to defend the land they love…even if it means making the greatest sacrifice of all.


What did I think of it:
This is a really cool read.

Ciara might be the daughter of a king, but her powers make her an outcast. Even so she is loyal to her people and wants to protect them from the danger she sees coming. I loved her strength and her unwavering loyalty. That loyalty goes so far she is willing to join forces with the enemy if it means her people are safe.

Leif had to grow on me. He starts out a bit too 'manly man knows better than weak little woman'. Luckily Ciara keeps putting him in his place and he learns. I liked how they aren't immediately friends, but are unwilling allies until they get to know each other better. I had wanted a more intense conclusion to the building tension between them, but that was not to be.

Knowing a bit about both Celtic and Norse mythology I enjoyed how Leake used them. This story isn't set in a Fantasy world (where I don't mind if an author totally sets own rules), but in a historical setting, so I love that the mythology wasn't butchered. On their quest to save the world Ciara and Leif encounter creatures from both mythologies, and there wasn't a dull moment. The sense of urgency and danger is ever present.

There is lots of action, heartache, betrayal, and difficult decisions. I had a hard time putting the book down. This is a standalone, so it has a satisfying ending with no cliffhangers. I did feel that one small storyline was left hanging, but it wasn't annoying. All in all a great read.

You bet I'll keep an eye on Leake's future releases.

Why should you read it:
It's a great Historical Fantasy YA read.


Buy from bookdepository

Thursday 10 May 2018

On McPig's Wishlist - The Initiation

This sounds like a cool read. I hope there will be a paperback, because the hardcover is just too expensive for me.


The Initiation
by Chris Babu


Everyone is equal. But no one is safe.

In a ruined world, Manhattan is now New America, a walled-in society based on equality. But the perfect facade hides a dark truth.

A timid math geek, sixteen-year-old Drayden watches his life crumble when his beloved mother is exiled. The mystery of her banishment leads him to a sinister secret: New America is in trouble, and every one of its citizens is in jeopardy.

With time running out, he enters the Initiation. It’s a test within the empty subway tunnels—a perilous journey of puzzles and deadly physical trials. Winners join the ruling Bureau and move to its safe haven. But failure means death. Can Drayden conquer the Initiation, or is salvation out of his grasp?



Buy from bookdepository

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Paper and Fire - Book Review


Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2)
by Rachel Caine


What is it about:
Let the world burn.

With an iron fist, the Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion and, in the name of the greater good, forbidding the personal ownership of books.

Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower, doomed to a life apart from everything she knows.

After embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London.

But Jess’s home isn’t safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, and the Library, which is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control...


What did I think of it:
It had been awhile since I read the first book in this series, but it didn't take me long to get back in the story.

The book starts out slow with Jess and his friends trying to gather information on a missing friend. Once they start putting pieces together they place themselves in danger and the action picks up. As the story develops, its speed increases as well until it all comes to a climax.

I really like Jess. He is practical and has a large sense of self-preservation. He is a criminal, but has a code of honor that keeps him from doing things that are unforgivable. I think that in this he has clearly grown compared to the last book. As he delves deeper and deeper into the library's dirty secrets, he will have to decide how he will deal with his new knowledge, and which people he can trust.

I loved the story and the interaction between the characters. The story is mostly straight forwards, but there were some things I didn't see coming. Even when I did see things coming I was still invested in the story and wanted to keep reading.

The ending is quite the shocker and you bet I'm eager to see what's next for Jess and his friends.

Why should you read it:

It's a cool YA Fantasy read.


Buy from bookdepository

Tuesday 8 May 2018

Teaser Tuesdays - Dinotopia Lost


For the moment we are all displaced, he mused as he started forward. People and furniture alike.


(page 5, Dinotopia Lost by Alan Dean Foster)


---------

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday 7 May 2018

The Dazzling Heights - Book Review


The Dazzling Heights (The Thousandth Floor #2)
by Katharine McGee


What is it about:
All that glitters is not gold.

New York City, 2118. Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a breathtaking marvel that touches the sky. But amid high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, five teenagers are keeping dangerous secrets…

Leda is haunted by memories of what happened on the worst night of her life. She’ll do anything to make sure the truth stays hidden—even if it means trusting her enemy.

Watt just wants to put everything behind him…until Leda forces him to start hacking again. Will he do what it takes to be free of her for good?

When Rylin wins a scholarship to an upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being there also means seeing the boy whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return.

Avery is tormented by her love for the one person in the world she can never have. She’s desperate to be with him…no matter the cost.

And then there’s Calliope, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who arrives in New York determined to cause a stir. And she knows exactly where to begin.

But unbeknownst to them all, someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind. After all, in a world of such dazzling heights, just one wrong step can mean a devastating fall.


What did I think of it:
I was intrigued by the cover of this book, and it sounded like it might be a suspenseful YA read, so I decided to give it a try.

As you can see it's the second book in a series. I didn't know this, and truth be told only found out it's a second book when I had finished it and was curious if there were more books in the series. So it can absolutely be read without reading the first book.

The story is less suspenseful than I hoped, but it was very entertaining. There are several viewpoint characters, and I must say that I liked reading about them all. Some are less likeable than others, but even the less likeable characters are interesting. At times it was a total teenage drama fest, but I was having fun with it instead of getting annoyed.

The plot isn't all that exciting. It focuses more on all the relationships between the characters and all their petty and not so petty secrets. There was one storyline that felt a bit tacked on, but that might have been because I didn't read the first book. I also would have liked a bit more worldbuilding that really made it feel like the future. As it was it didn't feel particularly futuristic.

All in all an entertaining read. I might pick up the next book if I happen to run into it, but I won't hunt it down.

Why should you read it:
It's an enjoyable YA read.


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Sunday 6 May 2018

Special Message for My Email Subscribers

This is a public service announcement... with guitar!!!

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If you are an email subscriber however:

You may have heard about the new General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR"), that comes into effect May 25, 2018.

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Friday 4 May 2018

My Lady Jane - Book Review


My Lady Jane (The Lady Janies #1)
by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows


What is it about:
Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown…

Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended…

Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.

The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads?


What did I think of it:
This is such a fun read.

As you can see my copy of this book has 'The not entirely True Story' under the title, so I went into this book knowing it would not come close to historical events. If you do not like it when people take liberties with history this is not your book. If you do however like a re-imagining of historical events and like your books funny, pick this book up!

I myself was hooked from the start. I loved the humor used in this book, and I loved Jane from the start. She's a total bookworm, how could I not love her!? Besides Jane, both Edward and Gifford/G are viewpoint characters as well. I really liked them as well, although they couldn't beat Jane.

The first part of the book does mostly follow historical events (horses, other shape-shifters and such aside). It's later on in the book that the story steers away from history all together. I can tell you I was eager to find out what would happen to everyone, and if Jane and G could learn to work together. Edward's predicament was just as suspenseful, and I cheered the three of them on to stay alive, keep their heads, and get a happily ever after.

All in all a fun and very entertaining read. I think I'll pick up the next Jane book (which is about another Jane and can be read as a standalone) once it releases.

Why should you read it:
It's a funny and enjoyable read.


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Thursday 3 May 2018

On Voodoo Bride's Wishlist - An Extraordinary Union


An Extraordinary Union (The Loyal League #1)
by Alyssa Cole


As the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past . . .

Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.

Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton's Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.

Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy's favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other...



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Wednesday 2 May 2018

Dreams - Book Review


Dreams
by Olive Schreiner


What is it about:
This is the second book by Schreiner, South African author and feminist, who is best remembered for her novel, The Story of an African Farm. It contains eleven short stories based on Schreiner's dreams and life on a farm in South Africa.

What did I think of it:
I came across this book at an antique shop years ago, as a teen. I was reading mainly in Dutch back then, and bought this book as it was cheap (not being in the best shape) and I wanted to practice my English outside of my text books in school. This particular version of the book is from 1904 and published by a Dutch publisher who added some footnotes with translation of unfamiliar terms.

I fell in love with it and even tried to convince my English teacher to let me add it to my book list, but she didn't know the book or author so refused.

After reading The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde I remembered this book and realized it had been years since I read it. time for a reread to see if it was as beautiful as I remembered.

And it certainly is. Of the eleven stories in this book only the last one isn't for me. The others are hauntingly beautiful. Some are just a few pages long, others a bit longer. Schreiner uses a lot of allegories and metaphors in a way that makes that the title of this book is a fitting choice: not only are a few stories brought as dreams, they feel dreamlike and ethereal as well. Each story brims with emotion and hidden heartache.

I loved revisiting this book, and my favorites from back then still resonate with me now. You bet I'll keep this little pearl on my shelves for many more years to come.

Why should you read it:
It's a hauntingly beautiful read.


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Tuesday 1 May 2018

TBR Orphans - April


I managed to read two orphaned books in April.

Ruins had been in my TBR pile since August 2015
Under Different Stars since April 2015

How did you do on your challenges?