Tuesday 31 March 2020

Teaser Tuesdays - A Blush with Death

"Bebe's Belles," I muttered. "I sure wouldn't want to be one of them." And with that, I headed back to Venus Envy.

(page 19, A Blush with Death by India Ink/Yasmine Galanorn)

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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 30 March 2020

Heiress for Hire - Early Book Review by Voodoo Bride

Heiress for Hire (Duke's Heiress #1)
by Madeline Hunter

What is it about:
In this stunning series debut from New York Times bestselling author Madeline Hunter, a duke's mysterious bequest brings fortune—and passion—to three young women...

Minerva Hepplewhite has learned the hard way how to take care of herself. When an intruder breaks into her home, she doesn't swoon or simper. Instead, she wallops the rogue over the head and ties him up—only to realize he is Chase Radnor, the man who nearly got her convicted of her late husband's murder. Now, he's insisting that Minerva has inherited a fortune from his uncle, a wealthy Duke. Only one thing could surprise her more: her sudden attraction to this exasperating man...

Chase can't decide whether Minerva is a wronged woman or a femme fatale. Either way, he's intrigued. Since the scandal surrounding her husband's death, she has set up a discreet detective business to rival Chase's own. She may be the perfect person to help him uncover the truth about his uncle's demise. But as proximity gives way to mutual seduction, Chase realizes he craves a much deeper alliance...

What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
This sounded like a really fun Historical Romance, so I was very happy when I won an Advance Reader Copy, and even more happy when it turned out it is indeed a very enjoyable read.

Minerva is a delightful heroine. She has learned to take charge of her own life and does it well. When she inherits a fortune, but discovers that Chase Radnor suspects her of murder, she decides to not sit around and wait, but to investigate the sudden death of the duke herself as well.

I loved Minerva's courage and clever thinking. She is not afraid to do the work needed, but also doesn't hesitate to let others help. I very much enjoyed getting to know her and her closest friends.

Chase is an intriguing character as well. He has a haunted past which made him wary, seeing betrayal everywhere. I liked seeing him falling for Minerva.

Both the Romance and the action storyline were very enjoyable and fun to read. I really liked seeing Minerva and Chase try to one-up each other. Even when working together sparks fly. I was completely invested in the two of them solving their problems and getting together.

All in all a deliciously fun Historical Romance. I will keep an eye out for the other books in this series for sure!

Why should you read it:
It's a very enjoyable and fun Historical Romance

buy from bookdepository
Expected publication: April 28th 2020

Friday 27 March 2020

The Rust Maidens - Book Review

The Rust Maidens
by Gwendolyn Kiste

What is it about:
Something’s happening to the girls on Denton Street.

It’s the summer of 1980 in Cleveland, Ohio, and Phoebe Shaw and her best friend Jacqueline have just graduated high school, only to confront an ugly, uncertain future. Across the city, abandoned factories populate the skyline; meanwhile at the shore, one strong spark, and the Cuyahoga River might catch fire. But none of that compares to what’s happening in their own west side neighborhood. The girls Phoebe and Jacqueline have grown up with are changing. It starts with footprints of dark water on the sidewalk. Then, one by one, the girls’ bodies wither away, their fingernails turning to broken glass, and their bones exposed like corroded metal beneath their flesh.

As rumors spread about the grotesque transformations, soon everyone from nosy tourists to clinic doctors and government men start arriving on Denton Street, eager to catch sight of “the Rust Maidens” in metamorphosis. But even with all the onlookers, nobody can explain what’s happening or why—except perhaps the Rust Maidens themselves. Whispering in secret, they know more than they’re telling, and Phoebe realizes her former friends are quietly preparing for something that will tear their neighborhood apart.

Alternating between past and present, Phoebe struggles to unravel the mystery of the Rust Maidens—and her own unwitting role in the transformations—before she loses everything she’s held dear: her home, her best friend, and even perhaps her own body.

What did I think of it:
The good thing about having friends getting you books for Christmas and your birthday is that sometimes you get a book you didn't even know was out there. Like this one. And let me tell you: I can't believe this book went so under my radar, because it's is beautiful.

Set during a time of economic depression this is a tale full of heartbreak and sadness. As their future and neighborhood crumble around them, five teenage girls start a strange metamorphosis. Phoebe wants to help, especially as one of the girls is her cousin and best friend, but nothing seems to be able to stop the strange disease that turns the girls into the Rust Maidens.

I was drawn into this story from the start. It alternates between 1980 and about 25 years after that when Phoebe returns home for the first time and is once again confronted with everything that happened. She has to relive everything or risk starting another cycle of destruction.

This book is about loss, decay, change, and facing your future. Kiste uses the rust maidens as an achingly beautiful and sad metaphor to show the loss of hope when faced with your world falling apart. It might be set in 1980, but it feels very relevant seeing how many people are struggling today. When reading the book I was totally engrossed in the story and all the emotions it holds, and it lingered with me long after finishing it.

A powerful and atmospheric story that I will certainly reread, even though it isn't an easy read at times.

Why should you read it:
It's an achingly beautiful read.

buy from bookdepository

Thursday 26 March 2020

On McPig's Radar - Cold Iron Heart

Cold Iron Heart (Wicked Lovely #0.5)
by Melissa Marr

How far would you go to escape fate?

In this prequel to the international bestselling WICKED LOVELY series (over a million copies sold), the Faery Courts collide a century before the mortals in Wicked Lovely are born.

Thelma Foy, a jeweler with the Second Sight in iron-bedecked 1890s New Orleans, wasn’t expecting to be caught in a faery conflict. Tam can see through the glamours faeries wear to hide themselves from mortals, but if her secret were revealed, the fey would steal her eyes, her life, or her freedom. So, Tam doesn’t respond when they trail thorn-crusted fingertips through her hair at the French Market or when the Dark King sings along with her in the bayou.

But when the Dark King, Irial, rescues her, Tam must confront everything she thought she knew about faeries, men, and love.

Too soon, New Orleans is filling with faeries who are looking for her, and Irial is the only one who can keep her safe.

Unbeknownst to Tam, she is the prize in a centuries-old fight between Summer Court and Winter Court. To protect her, Irial must risk a war he can’t win--or surrender the first mortal woman he's loved.

Coming May 2020

Wednesday 25 March 2020

The Deep - Book Review

The Deep
by Alma Katsu

What is it about:
Someone, or something, is haunting the Titanic.

This is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the passengers of the ship from the moment they set sail: mysterious disappearances, sudden deaths. Now suspended in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone during the four days of the liner's illustrious maiden voyage, a number of the passengers - including millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, the maid Annie Hebbley and Mark Fletcher - are convinced that something sinister is going on... And then, as the world knows, disaster strikes.

Years later and the world is at war. And a survivor of that fateful night, Annie, is working as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic's sister ship, the Britannic, now refitted as a hospital ship. Plagued by the demons of her doomed first and near fatal journey across the Atlantic, Annie comes across an unconscious soldier she recognises while doing her rounds. It is the young man Mark. And she is convinced that he did not - could not - have survived the sinking of the Titanic...

What did I think of it:
I'm a sucker for stories involving the Titanic so I couldn't resist this book.

And this is a really cool read. The story switches between 1916 and 1912, set on both the Titanic and her sister ship the Britannic. It also switches between several viewpoints, especially on the Titanic.

I was very much intrigued by the story and thought Katsu did a great job at setting the mood. I did think that there were a bit too much viewpoints though. As interesting as some of them were, there were a couple of storylines that cluttered up the main storyline. That aside I was hooked from the start and kept reading to see where things would lead, even while knowing the fate of both the Titanic and the Britannic.

All in all this is a very atmospheric and suspenseful read with intriguing characters and unexpected turns. I can advice it to anyone who loves a spooky historical read.

Why should you read it:
It's a cool and suspenseful Historical read.

buy from bookdepository

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Teaser Tuesdays - The Deepest Blue

She wished he'd told her. She would have talked him out of this sooner, so he wouldn't be clinging to this false hope.

(page 38, The Deepest Blue by Sarah Beth Durst)

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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 23 March 2020

Twelve Kingdoms Reread: The Snows of Windroven - Book Review

The Snows of Windroven (The Uncharted Realms #2.5)
by Jeffe Kennedy

What is it about:
A new power is at work in the Twelve Kingdoms, unbalancing the fragile peace. For the High Queen and her sisters, it might mean a new alliance—or the end of the love of a lifetime…

As a howling blizzard batters the mountain keep of Windroven, Ami, Queen of Avonlidgh, and her unofficial consort Ash face their own storm. Their passion saved them from despair, but Ash knows a scarred, jumpy ex-convict isn’t the companion his queen needs. He’s been bracing himself for the end since their liaison began. When it finally comes, the shattering of his heart is almost a relief.

With a man haunted by nightmares and silent as stone, Ami knows only that Ash’s wounds are his own to hide or reveal. She can’t command trust. But just as they are moving apart, a vicious attack confines them together, snowbound and isolated with an ancient force awakening within Windroven itself. If they truly mean to break their bond, Ami and Ash must first burn through a midwinter that will test every instinct—and bring temptation all too near…

What did I think of it:
Ash has been my favorite hero in this series for a long time, only being dethroned by a certain shifter. In The Tears of the Rose he is mysterious and very intriguing. In this novella he is the viewpoint character, so we get to see what he's hiding behind his silent exterior.

And that is a lot!

I loved getting to know Ash better and to see what past hurts and what insecurities he is carrying with him. He will have to learn to open up and to let go of the things that are hurtful for both him and those he loves. Ami on the other hand has already grown a lot. She shows a surprising lot of strength and wisdom in this novella, forcing Ash to confront his demons. There also being actual demons to fight makes things even more dire.

At the end of The Tears of the Rose I felt satisfied with the romance, but this novella gives me a powerful conclusion I didn't even know I needed. This novella is beautiful and tense, taking you on an emotional and suspenseful ride you don't want to miss.

Why should you read it:
You need this novella if you read The Tears of the Rose, believe me.

Find buy links here

Next: The Shift of the Tide

Friday 20 March 2020

Wildcard - Book Review (repost)

Wildcard (Warcross #2)
by Marie Lu

What is it about:
Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo's new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she's always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo's grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone's put a bounty on Emika's head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn't all that he seems--and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?

What did I think of it:
I loved Warcross, so I pre-ordered Wildcard right after finishing Warcross.

And this is a great read as well!

I love Emika, and I was rooting for her to find a way to reach Hideo and let him see reason. I liked that her team members are there for her and try to help her as much as she lets them.

And then there is Zero and his people. I distrusted them from the start and worried about Emika. She gets involved in their plans and soon finds out she's in over her head. I was anxious to find out what would happen to her and to Hideo and his plans.

There is of course less Warcross in this book, as playing a game of Warcross (instead of the dangerous games she gets caught up in) is the last thing that's on Emika's mind. Still there are some really exciting scenes set in the virtual world. I loved discovering what was going on and what secrets everyone was hiding. I finished the book in a day, because I had to know how this duology would end.

And I can tell you that I was very satisfied. There was one tiny moment near the end that made me fear I would love the book, but hate the ending, but luckily it was false alarm. The only thing to hate about this book, is that it's already the end of this series. I wouldn't have minded more books I can tell you.

All in all this is a great read and I will most certainly reread this duology. I will also keep an eye out for what Lu will write next.

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

Buy from bookdepository

Thursday 19 March 2020

Warcross - Book Review (repost)

I've been rereading this duology, so here's a repost of my review.

Warcross (Warcross #1)
by Marie Lu

What is it about:
For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

What did I think of it:
I will confess I was wary when I started on this book. I have tried two other books by Lu. The first I finished, but it didn't impress me, the second I DNFed. The blurb of this book did sound good though, and when it was picked as this month's read at an online book club I'm part of, I decided to give it a try.

And to my surprise I loved it!

Emika is of course a bit of a Wunderkind, good at everything she tries, but not in an annoying way. I was interested in her life from the start, and when she meets Hideko I was hooked.

The whole Warcross game was intriguing and it's clear Lu is a gamer herself, she makes Warcross and everything connected to it feel real and exciting. I actually chuckled when I encountered a reference to Leeroy Jenkins. I was as invested in Emika finding out what's going on as I was in seeing her team win the games. The scenes where they are in Warcross are creative and full of action.

I liked seeing Emika grow over the course of this book. She is closed off and stubborn at first, thinking she can handle everything on her own. It was nice to see how she warms up to others and starts trusting. Her investigation into the security problems of Warcross is dangerous and I rooted for her to stay on top of things and survive.

And then there's Hideko. If there's one thing I can say against this book it's that there's not enough Hideo. I loved him. He's a very complex character, and got more interesting and intriguing with every scene he's in.

And then there's the ending! I can tell you that the ending made me love this book even more! You bet I'll be getting my trotters on the next book, because I want more!

Why should you read it:

It's a cool futuristic YA read full of action.

Buy from bookdepository

Wednesday 18 March 2020

Podcast = Carien is interviewed by Robin Shantz

I'm being lazy today, but here's a podcast featuring my owner!
The picture is of me and Robin Shantz, the interviewer in the podcast.

Invaders From Planet 3 - Ep 37 - Dublin Worldcon Voice of the Fans 3

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Teaser Tuesdays - The Deep

God knows there's only life and death and nothing in between.
But then: a woman's voice. It was thin, as though coming from a long way away.

(page 60, The Deep by Alma Katsu)

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 16 March 2020

A Girl Named Digit - Book Review

A Girl Named Digit (Digit #1)
by Annabel Monaghan

What is it about:
Farrah "Digit" Higgins may be going to MIT in the fall, but this L.A. high school genius has left her geek self behind in another school district so she can blend in with the popular crowd at Santa Monica High and actually enjoy her senior year. But when Farrah, the daughter of a UCLA math professor, unknowingly cracks a terrorist group's number sequence, her laid-back senior year gets a lot more interesting. Soon she is personally investigating the case, on the run from terrorists, and faking her own kidnapping-- all while trying to convince a young, hot FBI agent to take her seriously. So much for blending in...

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

Digit is a bit of a wunderkind: math genius, popular, brave, good looking... but that didn't diminish the fun. I was hooked from the start and invested in the story.

Even when Digit did stupid things in my opinion, she didn't get in too much trouble. There were some suspenseful scenes, but Digit and her FBI sidekick can think on their feet and are always ready to save the day.

All in all a fun and enjoyable read. I can recommend it to anyone looking for a quick and entertaining YA read.

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

buy from bookdepository

Friday 13 March 2020

When We Were Magic - Book Review

When We Were Magic
by Sarah Gailey

What is it about:
Keeping your magic a secret is hard. Being in love with your best friend is harder.

Alexis has always been able to rely on two things: her best friends, and the magic powers they all share. Their secret is what brought them together, and their love for each other is unshakeable—even when that love is complicated. Complicated by problems like jealousy, or insecurity, or lust. Or love.

That unshakeable, complicated love is one of the only things that doesn't change on prom night.

When accidental magic goes sideways and a boy winds up dead, Alexis and her friends come together to try to right a terrible wrong. Their first attempt fails—and their second attempt fails even harder. Left with the remains of their failed spells and more consequences than anyone could have predicted, each of them must find a way to live with their part of the story.

What did I think of it:
Once again Sarah Gailey proofs it was a good thing I added their releases to my auto-buy list.

Even with an accidental death on their hands and all the problems this brings I envied these girls. The bond they share is special and strong. Their friendship and how they deal with it when that friendship is tested is the heart of this book. The magic they have and the accidental death may play a very important part, but both are less important in my opinion.

It was so cool to see how these girls, who are all very different, come together and stick up for each other. The way they deal with the crisis and the aftershocks was wonderful to read. As they work together to make things right, Alexis has to face her feelings as well as decide what to do with them. I rooted for her to figure things out, and for all of them to solve their problems.

All in all a wonderful read about the bonds of friendship and about figuring out where you stand in the world. You bet I'll impatiently wait for Gailey's next release!

Why should you read it:
It's a beautiful YA read about friendship.

buy from bookdepository

Thursday 12 March 2020

On McPig's Wishlist - The Company of Death

I really hope this book will get a cheaper paperback version, because it sounds so cool.

The Company of Death
by Elisa Hansen

The zombie apocalypse was just the beginning of vampire hunter Emily’s problems. Now she must team up with Death himself in this thrilling apocalyptic adventure series!

It’s been two years since the zombie uprising devoured 99% of the world’s population—and the vampires have come out of the shadows to claim the spoils. It’s Emily Campbell’s job to destroy vampire communes and rescue their human herds, but when a mission goes wrong, and she faces certain undeath, she would rather die than ever let them transform her. The problem is that when she makes a desperate suicide attempt, not only does the Grim Reaper fail to take her life—he also somehow loses all his powers in the process.

Now neither alive nor dead, Emily is stranded in the California desert with Death himself. She has heard the remnants of human civilization are developing a cure that could make her alive again in New York—all the way on the other side of the vampire- and zombie-swarmed continent. Only with Death’s help does she have a chance to complete the journey.

But without his powers, Death is mired in a crisis of his own. And he is not used to having company.

buy from bookdepository

Wednesday 11 March 2020

Crush the King - Early Book Review

Crush the King (Crown of Shards #3)
by Jennifer Estep

What is it about:
A fierce gladiator queen must face off against her enemies in an epic battle in this next thrilling installment of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep’s Crown of Shards series—an action-packed adventure full of magic, murderous machinations, courtly intrigue, and pulse-pounding romance.

Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona has survived the mass murder of the royal family, become a fearsome warrior trained by an elite gladiator troupe, and unleashed her ability to destroy magic. After surviving yet another assassination attempt orchestrated by the conniving king of Morta, Evie has had enough. It’s time to turn the tables and take the fight to her enemies.

There is no better opportunity to strike than during the Regalia Games, a time when warriors, nobles, and royals from all the kingdoms come together to compete in various sporting events. With the help of her loyal friends, Evie goes on the attack at the Regalia, but things don’t turn out the way she hopes. Soon, she is facing a terrifying new threat, and she will have to dig deep and learn even more about her growing magic if she has any chance of defeating her foes.

Because to secure her throne and ensure her kingdom’s survival, Evie must think like a true Bellonan: she must outsmart and outwit her enemies... and crush the king.

What did I think of it:
I've very much enjoyed the first two books in this trilogy, so I was happy to get my hands on an ARC of the last book.

And this is yet another entertaining read.

As I mentioned in my review of Protect the Prince I see this series as Renaissance Fair Fantasy (Yes, my own term), meaning that it's at times over the top, and unbelievable. Much like how the Middle Ages are depicted at Renaissance Fairs. I myself don't mind this at all. It makes for a very entertaining story, but for people looking for serious Fantasy it may be jarring.

This book is the conclusion of the trilogy, so there is a lot going on, all leading to a big finale. Some things had me raising my eyebrows, like a family with an Italian name having a band of bounty hunters with a Dutch name. And maybe Geldjagers may sound mysterious to those who don't know any Dutch, but for me it sounded a little corny, especially as Geldjagers = Money Hunters, so basically a sort of translation of bounty hunters.

There were some very obvious things, but overall I really enjoyed Evie's antics and those of her friends. I especially really like Paloma and Cho. I wouldn't mind some extra stories set in this world with them in the lead. The romance between Evie and Sullivan fizzled out in this book in my opinion. It felt a bit like a forgotten side plot.

Small points of critique aside I had a great time with the book. It's fun, enjoyable, and packed with action and intrigue. From what I understand Estep has plans for more books in this world, and I can tell you I'll be along for the ride.

Why should you read it:

It's a very entertaining Fantasy read.

buy from bookdepository

Tuesday 10 March 2020

Teaser Tuesdays - A Girl Named Digit

"Of course. We will look into it. Thank you for coming in."
Was I paranoid, or did I see a tiny smile in his eyes as he shuffled us out, official Fruitcakes.

(page 20, A Girl Named Digit by Annabel Monaghan)

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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 9 March 2020

Twelve Kingdoms Reread: The Edge of the Blade - Book Review

And it was time for The Edge of the Blade in this series reread.
Here's my initial review with notes on rereading at the end.

The Edge of the Blade (The Uncharted Realms #2)
by Jeffe Kennedy

What is it about:
"The Twelve Kingdoms rest uneasy under their new High Queen, reeling from civil war and unchecked magics. Few remember that other powers once tested their borders until a troop of foreign warriors emerges with a challenge..."
Jepp has been the heart of the queen s elite guard, her Hawks, since long before war split her homeland. But the ease and grace that come to her naturally in fighting leathers disappears when battles turn to politics. When a scouting party arrives from far-away Dasnaria, bearing veiled threats and subtle bluffs, Jepp is happy to let her queen puzzle them out while she samples the pleasures of their prince s bed.
But the cultural norms allow that a Dasnarian woman may be wife or bed-slave, never her own leader and Jepp s light use of Prince Kral has sparked a diplomatic crisis. Banished from court, she soon becomes the only envoy to Kral s strange and dangerous country, with little to rely on but her wits, her knives and the smolder of anger and attraction that burns between her and him...

What did I think of it:
As some if you may know I'm a total fanpiggy of Jeffe and her books, so it may not come as a surprise when I tell you I LOVE this book.

But there is so much to love about this book! And not just for fanpiggies like me.

Jepp is a wonderful heroine. She is confident, knows her strengths and weaknesses, and doesn't mince her words. Kral has been raised to think of women as creatures who should be cared for and sheltered (to the point of slavery). He's the perfect hero to spar with the freedom loving Jepp. and spar they do. The banter (and romance) between Jepp and Kral is fun and delicious.

I also loved seeing Dasnaria and learning more about the land and the culture. Most of the time spend in Dasnaria Jepp and Kral are in one place, but still you learn a lot about how the Dasnarians think.

New characters are introduced and some are so intriguing I hope they get their own book. Others are vile and/or dangerous and made that I worried for Jepp. At times the odds are high and it was only the knowledge that this is a Fantasy Romance that I didn't get too nervous. Jeffe sure knows how to tell an awesome romance while also giving you a very suspenseful story - both keeping you reading to find out what happens next.

The ending had quite a punch, and while I was satisfied it also made me hungry for more books in this wonderful world. Luckily it looks like there will be at least one more book, if not more.

Why should you read it:
It's an awesome Fantasy Romance read.

Find buy links here

Notes on rereading:
And yet another great conversation between women in this book. I love Helva and Inga. I wouldn't mind seeing them get a Happily Ever After.

Friday 6 March 2020

Twelve Kingdoms Reread: The Pages of the Mind - Book Review

The Pages of the Mind (The Twelve Kingdoms #4/The Uncharted Realms #1)
by Jeffe Kennedy

What is it about:
An Orphan's Throne

Magic has broken free over the Twelve Kingdoms. The population is beset by shapeshifters and portents, landscapes that migrate, uncanny allies who are not quite human…and enemies eager to take advantage of the chaos.

Dafne Mailloux is no adventurer--she's a librarian. But the High Queen trusts Dafne's ability with languages, her way of winnowing the useful facts from a dusty scroll, and even more important, the subtlety and guile that three decades under the thumb of a tyrant taught her.

Dafne never thought to need those skills again. But she accepts her duty. Until her journey drops her into the arms of a barbarian king. He speaks no tongue she knows but that of power, yet he recognizes his captive as a valuable pawn. Dafne must submit to a wedding of alliance, becoming a prisoner-queen in a court she does not understand. If she is to save herself and her country, she will have to learn to read the heart of a wild stranger. And there are more secrets written there than even Dafne could suspect...

What did I think of it:
Am I biased because there's a lake in this book that's named after me?

Maybe a little, but only in so much that I made soft squee sounds when coming across references about that lake and the kingdom that lake is in. (Hey: when someone names a lake after you, you're allowed to squee!)

But even if there wasn't a lake named after yours truly, this is yet another story to fall in love with.

Dafne has been supporting and helping others for a long time. Her own dreams have faded, and she has almost made peace with the fact that she will always be the bridesmaid and never the bride, so to speak. Then she is send on a diplomatic quest, and she is pushed into more adventure than she could ever have dreamed of.

I have liked Dafne since she was first introduced in The Mark of the Tala. She's practical, kind, loyal, and a book nerd. She might not know how to handle a blade, but she does know how to handle delicate negotiations - words are her weapon - but when she ends upon an island where no one speaks the same language as she, that makes it a bit difficult to communicate.

But Dafne is no damsel in distress. She rises to the challenge and adapts.

I loved this story and the romance at the heart of it. King Nakoa is intriguing, charismatic, and knows what he wants. The romance between Dafne and Nakoa is delicious and hot. It was so good to read how they try to communicate and get to know each other.

The world building is once again wonderful. I love the exotic island Dafne ends up on and the secrets the island slowly reveals.

The romance and main storyline are resolved in this book (very satisfactory I might add), but there's enough revealed about the world that there is plenty of room for many more stories to come. I can only hope Jeffe will keep writing them.

Why should you read it:
It's a wonderful and delicious Fantasy Romance read.

find buy links here

Notes on rereading:
I adore the 'girl talk' scene where Dafne, Jepp, and Zynda talk about men, women, and more, especially knowing Jepp's story is next. And king Groningen! He's totally written with me and my likes in mind, and I love him so much!

Coming Next: The Edge of the Blade

Thursday 5 March 2020

First and Last Lines - Wicked Lovely

Time for another First and Last Lines!

First Line:
The Summer King knelt before her

A king kneeling? I wonder who he kneels for. Great start to get me intrigued. Also: Summer King = faeries!

Last Line:
It's not perfect, but it will be.

I like this last line. It sounds like a promise. For a Happily Ever After, or a sequel!

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First and Last Lines is based on an idea by invaluable

Wednesday 4 March 2020

The Sound of Stars - Book Review

The Sound of Stars
by Alechia Dow

What is it about:
Can a girl who risks her life for books and an alien who loves forbidden pop music work together to save humanity?

Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.

Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. Deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, humanity’s emotional transgressions are now grounds for execution. All art, books and creative expression are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.

Born in a lab, M0Rr1S (Morris) was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.

Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while making a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.

What did I think of it:
Normally I don't buy books by new to me authors that are more than 10 Euro, unless the book got recommended to me by a friend. But this one called to me: a girl who rebels by having a secret library, an alien who loves music... I decided to break my buying rules and pre-ordered this book anyway (and I got the most gorgeous pre-order goodies as a reward).

And this turned out to be a wonderful read.

Ellie is a heroine I could totally root for. Even while suffering from anxiety she is not willing to conform to the rules of the invading aliens. They have forbidden all forms of creative expression: book, music, art, etc. Knowing she will be executed when discovered she starts a secret library, lending people books to ease the boredom of their new everyday life. Then a book goes missing and soon after she meets M0Rr1s.

M0Rr1s was also easy to root for. He loves music (especially David Bowie, which made him real easy to relate to) and is trying to collect as much music as he can before all of it is destroyed.

The viewpoint switches between Ellie and M0Rr1s and had me invested and interested from the start. In between their chapters are short chapters about the fictional band The Starry Eyed. Their album The Sound of Stars is both the title of the book, as well as Ellie's favorite album. These chapters set the mood of this book, which is about music, books, bravery, and hope, even more.

All in all I loved this book. It is suspenseful, emotional, and filled with music and stories. I hadn't expected to love it as much as I did, I will confess. You bet I'll keep an eye on Dow.

One extra observation from my owner: I've seen a review for this book where the reviewer complained about 'all the labels'. Yes: several people are labeled. Ellie for instance is labeled as demi-ace, and others are clearly labeled as they/them. Maybe the reviewer who complained about this, and said it was unnecessary, grew up in a very welcoming and open environment where information about sexuality and identity is easy to find, but I can tell you that I loved seeing these things mentioned so clearly. If information about demi-sexuality for example had been easily available for me as a teen, I might have understood myself better, and I might have done things differently. I think it's important for teens (and adults as well) to see themselves represented in books.

Why should you read it:
It's a wonderful YA SF read.

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Tuesday 3 March 2020

Teaser Tuesdays - Mermaidia

In the near distance, the Shiant Islands rose above the water like great hump-backed whales, all sides covered with rich green vegetation. Overhead, the sky filled with the song of gulls and puffins and black-legged kittiwakes. It was the sound of my salvation.

(page 157, Mermaidia anthology, Fury by Merrie Destefano)

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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 2 March 2020

Aurora Blazing - Book Review

Aurora Blazing (Consortium Rebellion #2)
by Jessie Mihalik

What is it about:
Bianca von Hasenberg did her duty for High House von Hasenberg and ended up trapped in a terrible marriage. When her husband dies unexpectedly and leaves her a happy widow, she vows never to marry again. Instead, she uses her connections to save other young women. Information is power and Bianca has a network that would be the envy of the ’verse—if anyone knew about it.

After an attack, Bianca’s oldest brother, the House von Hasenberg heir, disappears from Earth without a trace. Determined to find him, Bianca leaves against orders. When she refuses to return, her father sends Ian Bishop, the director of House von Hasenberg security, to haul her home like a recalcitrant child.

Bianca leads Ian on a merry chase across the universe, but when their paths finally collide, she persuades him that they would be far more successful at finding her brother if they worked together. She will do anything to save her sibling, even if it means spending time alone on a small ship with the handsome, infuriating man who once broke her heart.

As clues lead them deep into rival House Rockhurst territory, Bianca must decide if she can trust Ian with the one piece of information that could destroy her completely...

What did I think of it:
I loved Polaris Rising, so I dove into Aurora Blazing as soon as I could.

And this book might even be better!

I will confess I really didn't like Ian at first. He is a controlling jerk who tries to keep Bianca out of things. I was happy to see Bianca ignoring his unreasonable commands and doing what she thought was right. As the story progresses Ian starts to learn though, and I loved seeing his change and growth as a character. He went from jerk to someone worthy to root for.

I loved Bianca from the start. She went through a lot and is still dealing with things that happened to her in her marriage. Her determination and strength are admirable. I rooted for her to succeed in finding her brother.

There's lots of action, intrigue, and suspense in this book, and I kept reading to see where things would lead. The ending promises lots of intrigue and action still to come for the Von Hasenberg siblings, so you bet I'll get my trotters on the third book when it releases.

Why should you read it:
It's an amazing SF Romance.

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