Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











Wednesday's ChildFrom Goodreads: Dylan Brice is living his days out of order, but it hasn’t always been that way. One Tuesday evening in July, he went to sleep expecting tomorrow to be Wednesday, but when he woke up the next morning it was Thursday instead. A frightening and confusing day ensued with Dylan trying to figure out whether he was losing his mind or the victim of some cosmic prank.

If struggling to come to terms with his new reality on his surreal Thursday wasn’t enough of an ordeal, late in the afternoon, just as his anxiety was finally beginning to subside, a voice from the past he’d hoped never to hear again added a terrifying new dimension to his situation. Dylan had once been a warrior in the battle against nuclear terrorism. A sleeper since the months following nine-eleven, he has suddenly been activated to help combat a new, deadly threat. His nerves in a shambles, he finally drops off to sleep hoping he’ll wake up to find Thursday was a dream.

When, after his harrowing Thursday, he awakens on the Wednesday morning he thought he’d missed, he doesn’t know what to believe. He cannot believe Thursday’s events were coincidental. He must be living his days out of order for a reason — some powerful, unknown entity has cast him in a role he never asked for, and everything he holds dear may be at stake. He “knows” he will continue to live Thursdays before Wednesdays until he figures out how to use the unique perspective that gives him to avert a disaster that may be global in scope.

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Imagine if Thursday came before Wednesday, followed by Friday. But only for you… giving you the ability to learn the future and change events. I would have so much fun with that. Of course, I’m certainly not as hardcore as Dylan Brice, so I would probably only use it for selfish gain. Luckily, Dylan is trained to deal with terrorism, able to call in the big dogs and assess violent and potentially deadly situations, which is a huge plus, especially since nuclear terror is on his doorstep.

This is a really cool time-travelish novel set in present day America. Though I admit that I wasn’t really sure what was happening in the beginning, and it took me a little while to warm up to the characters and the situations, I eventually found myself completely wrapped up in the story. It’s a thriller with a bit of mystery thrown in, taking readers on an awesome ride as it all unfolds. If you’re looking for something a bit different with a strong male lead, then this is definitely a novel for you. Four stars.

4 starsI received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Kindle | Nook



Of River and RaynnFrom Goodreads: They found me when I was five; a little girl sitting on a bench in Grand Central Station, soaking wet, asking about the rain.

I remembered nothing about how I got there, or who my parents were. I couldn’t even remember my name. I was tagged, labeled and doomed to cycle through state care for the next twelve years; moving from one family to another. They all rejected me as the dreams began to come, the memories began to return, and things around me began to explode.

Now my mind is full of a world of shadows, things that my heart pleads with me to be true, that I hope are only fantasy. That the disturbing past I see is not mine.

When I sleep I hear whispers of magic, and of evil queens, and a world that exists alongside our own. Things that could never be. But, there is one thing I know to be true. That there was a boy who was torn from me. A boy that I know means more to me than a brother, or than a lover. But what he is to me, I am not sure. I hear him cry for me in my dreams, I hear people call him The Catalyst.

I know I need to find him.

I wouldn’t have tried, if I would have known that finding River would have made all my dreams turn into a haunting reality.

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I have been waiting with bated breath for the release of this novel for a while now, as Rebecca Ethington’s interactive website, riverandraynn.com, piqued my interest way back in June, involving me in the story even before the novel even released. Ethington’s unique way of bringing the story to life captivated me from the get go, and this new wave of interactive storytelling is definitely something I’d like to see more authors begin emulating. Told through a series of videos, journal entries, and social media updates, potential readers were given a glimpse into the world of River and Raynn, the main characters in the novel—a story that, until today, hadn’t actually released yet. This allowed readers like me to meet the characters as Ethington envisioned them, hearing their voices and seeing their emotions and expressions as I viewed cryptic portions of their story.  It also allowed me to actually interact with both River and Raynn via social media… and I fell in love. With River. With Raynn. With the dark nature of the story. This—this interaction—is what bringing a story to life is all about, and I truly loved the novel before I ever opened it thanks to Ethington’s ingenious interactive website. I nearly popped through the roof when River responded to a tweet I sent my followers about how much I loved him. And while I know the story itself is fiction and the characters are actors, the interactiveness of the site and the actors portraying the characters blew my mind and had me continually coming back for more. So. you can image that when I received an ARC of this fabulous novel a few days ago, I tore into it immediately.

I’m extremely excited to note that Ethington’s captivating interactive storytelling moves seamlessly from the web to the pages of her novel, and going into the story I already felt connected to the characters. Yet, one does not need to take part in the interactive website in order to understand it—the web interactions are completely optional and everything you need to know is in the book, but if you want an experience like no other, I highly suggest you visit the interactive site, too. For me, it made having River and Raynn’s story in front of me, in book format, an added bonus, and I love how it is told through alternating first person narratives from River and Raynn—just like the interactive site.

But rest assured, even with all the information online leading up to this fabulous book’s release, I was still surprised by events in the novel as it indeed went in a completely different direction than I expected it to, and lovers of fantasy novels and world building are going to absolutely adore the parallel world that Ethington creates as the story unfolds. Truthfully, I’m not really a fan of fantasy or otherworlds, I’m more of a contemporary paranormal lover myself, but I was floored by the revelations and events Ethington creates in this novel, and all I can say is, you need to read it.

With magical ties, great evil, a fantastical world, a smidgen of romance, and many dire, dark circumstances, this novel is a gem that is sure to leave you wanting more. The characters are realistic and well written, and living their story alongside them is both harrowing and exhilarating at the same time. I really, really enjoyed the novel, and I am excited for more to come–especially as the interactive journey continues with more in-depth videos to come with deeper insight into each chapter of the novel! Four and a half stars.

4.5 stars

I received an ARC of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Meet my book boyfriend, River:

Watch the official trailer:



Heir of FireFrom Goodreads: Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

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This novel, like the others in the series, in indeed very, very good, but it’s also extremely long. Even with series that I absolutely adore, there sometimes comes a time when reading that I tend to zone out a bit, and I’m sorry to say that that did happen with Maas’ third novel, Heir of Fire. Whereas the other novels tend to be a bit more action packed and, let’s face it, shorter, this novel is nearly 600 pages and there is a bit more down time than I personally can handle in a 600 pager. Don’t get me wrong, the novel is fantastic, but there were a few points in the middle where I personally felt like it was just dragging along. Thankfully, Maas would come in a spruce it up a bit with a fight scene or some other tidbit that would throw me right back into the pages with a vengeance, so the downtime was few and far between, but enough that it sticks out in my mind.

Heir of Fire follows four different stories at the same time, all including a new cast of characters to love, which was tons of fun. We are given an indepth look at events in both Adarlan and Wendlyn, following Chaol and newcomer Aiedan as they placate the King of Adarlan, Dorian and newcomer Sorcha as they work together to protect Dorian’s secret, Celaena and newcomer Rowan as he teaches Celaena how to harness her powers, and newcomer Mannon Blackbeak, an iron witch intent on fulfilling her duties to the King of Adarlan before retaking her homeland. I have to say, that out of all of them, Manon’s story was the most interesting to me. It is with Manon that we are introduced to the Wyvern, beasts I liken to a dragonish creature, similar to the black fell beast—sometimes known as a Hell-Hawk or Nazgûl-bird—we see the Witch-King of Angmar and his comrades ride in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. As the witch covens fight to tame the Wyverns, Manon seeks to win the games with her coven of 13 in order to lead the vast witch army—a group of cutthroat women who despise the other covens. Though I will admit that some of Manon’s story did feel like it could be cut out—I certainly didn’t need all the background information that was provided—readers will walk away knowing Manon and the Iron Witches quite well, and I am extremely interested to see what happens when Manon meets Celaena as some foreshadowing is at play that has me wondering just where Manon’s loyalties will lie.

Celaena’s story paints her in a much weaker light throughout this novel. In fact, all the characters are painted as weak as this novel unfolds. Chaol is not the same, unable to speak his mind to his best friend Dorian, and even Dorian seeks solace in the most surprising of places. I guess that at some point the strong characters must be portrayed as weak in order for growth to happen, as well as for the plot to thicken, but I found myself losing patience with them as the story unfolded as they continually backed down throughout the novel.

The end, however, was a wake-up slap to the face, and suddenly everyone we love, and I do mean everyone, is in danger, leaving me on pins and needles for the next installment, though I see that right now this series is slated for six novels, and we’ll only be at number four with the next—I do hope Maas picks up the pace in the next segment. Four stars.

4 stars

I received this novel from publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

This title releases today.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



The Kiss of DeceptionFrom Goodreads: In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

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This novel is fairly intense; although the beginning had a bit of a slow start, as the novel evolved, I found myself completely wrapped up in the world that Pearson has created in this fantastical novel. Lia is a well-written, layered character, and as the story progresses we learn so much about her. She is strong-willed, compassionate, devious, and good-hearted all in one, and getting to know her was an absolute joy. Her plight is one that, while I don’t identify with from personal experience, I completely understand—if you’ve ever found yourself in a situation with no decent possible outcomes, then you, too, will be able to connect with Lia’s thoughts and feelings as this novel unfolds.

Reader beware, tissues are a necessity. I was not expecting it in the least, but Pearson definitely made me ugly cry on multiple occasions as I read. There are some awful situations that leave the characters destitute and destroyed, and as Pearson wove the story, I found myself caring for even those I thought I hated. Thankfully, the novel is not too graphic when it comes to the gruesomeness that is war, and the novel is 100% clean as well, which is an added bonus, but know going in that when you least expect, Lia’s world will come crashing down on you. I wept more times than I can count, but I loved it just the same. Pearson has created a poignancy that permeates the story, and it’s amazing.

In terms of other characters, I found myself falling hard for Rafe almost instantly. It’s the tragic “what if” scenario—if either Rafe or Lia had to have submitted to their impending marriage, none of the tragedy would have ensued, but at the same time, neither would have the love. For Lia and Rafe’s sake, I wish they would have gone along with the pressures of their society in this one instance, but I loved their story just the same. Pearson really draws the reader in with her characterization and pacing, and I highly recommend picking up this novel.

I will admit that the cliffhanger in this one made me angry, though. It’s such a great story, and about 80% in I knew there weren’t enough pages left for it to have a satisfactory conclusion—and it didn’t. We are left with an awful cliffhanger that just isn’t fair—I need book two now. Four stars.

4 starsI received this novel from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.  This title releases July 8.

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Obligations of a Cobalt HueFrom Goodreads: Teldine is an isolated mountain kingdom that has been magically protected from ancient enemies for one thousand years by an impenetrable fog wall. Inside the wall, Champions of the Cobaltine Flower keep the peace. But as the fog wall thins, a Champion is killed and the king is murdered. The remaining Champions work together as intrigue, betrayal, and foreign influences threaten the tiny realm.

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This is a very interesting fantasy novel—though I’m not necessarily a fantasy connoisseur, it piqued my interest and I enjoyed it as the plot unfolded. The ideas surrounding the Colbaltine Flower, the sinister plot against the kingdom, and the alternate death world of the champions were extremely unique, and I got a kick out of the afterlife antics within the novel. I will admit that the version I read had a few too many editing errors, but nothing that can’t be fixed with a good editor and a uploading of a revised edition. The plot was fresh, though there were a few holes here and there, but otherwise it was definitely well thought out. Three stars.

3 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge

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 Genre: Urban Fantasy (adult) (new adult)

Synopsis:

I hadn’t set foot in the human world for more than a few hours in over three and a half months. Sure, I was stronger and faster than I’d ever been before, and I had a shiny new sword, but I was seriously chocolate deprived. I don’t recommend quitting cold turkey. And the new sword was a problem — to my mind, anyway. It represented all the expectations of a powerful father and a new otherworldly life. A life that wasn’t the one I’d worked so hard to build. It also represented the responsibility I had to bring my foster sister Sienna to … what? Justice? I didn’t know if that was even possible. What I did know was that Sienna wouldn’t stop, and that I couldn’t just leave everything up to fate and destiny … or maybe I was. Maybe I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. If you believed in that sort of thing.

I just hoped that before the chaos and mayhem renewed, I’d manage to get my hands on some chocolate. It didn’t even have to be single-origin Madagascar. I was utterly prepared to lower my standards.

BUY LINKS

Amazon Universal: myBook.to/Treasures_onAmazon

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/447404

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/treasures-demons-and-other-black-magic

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/treasures-demons-other-black/id889221118?ls=1&mt=11

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/treasures-demons-and-other-black-magic-dowser-3-meghan-ciana-doidge/1119733532?ean=2940046007411

AddtoGoodreads _______________________________________________________________________________

Check out these early reviews

“Once again, Meghan does a fabulous job of telling a compelling story of love and power, life and death, and the strength and weakness of family. This is a great story, and is high on my list of best loved reads!” – Leiah from So I Read This Book Today

http://soireadthisbooktoday.com/2014/06/04/review-treasures-demons-and-other-black-magic-dowser-3-by-meghan-ciana-doidge-2/

“….like practically nonstop action from the moment you start reading. Our cupcake baking, chocolate craving half witch and her friends not only use magic to do battle, but swords, knives, fists.”

Heather from Doubleshot: http://doubleshotbookreviews.com/2014/06/06/treasures-demons-and-other-black-magic-dowser-series-book-3-by-meghan-ciana-doidge/

Sarah Elizabeth via Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/925343083

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About Megan Ciana Doidge

Meghan Ciana Doidge is an award-winning writer based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She has a penchant for bloody love stories, superheroes, and the supernatural. She also has a thing for chocolate, potatoes, and sock yarn.

Novels – After The Virus, Spirit Binder, Time Walker, Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic – Dowser #1, Trinkets, Treasures, and Other Bloody Magic – Dowser #2, Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic – Dowser #3

Novellas/Shorts – Love Lies Bleeding and The Graveyard Kiss

WARNING: author has been known to manipulate characters with chocolate, sex, and fantastical plotting. Readers beware http://author.to/meghancianadoidge

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Links:

Blog, www.madebymeghan.ca

Twitter, @mcdoidge

Facebook, Meghan Ciana Doidge

NEW RELEASE MAILING LIST

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads Author Page

 

 

 



Deep BlueFrom Goodreads: The first in a series of four epic tales set in the depths of the ocean, where six mermaids seek to protect and save their hidden world.

Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe.

When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin’s arrow poisons Sera’s mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin’s master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world’s very existence.

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If you’re looking for something completely different, I highly suggest giving Deep Blue a try. Unlike any mermaid novel I’ve read before, this novel takes readers on a chase across the ocean floor as Sera and her best friend attempt to reach the mythological witches from her dreams. As the oceans begin the ultimate war against an unspeakable evil, Sera is whisked away on an adventure that is both harrowing and awesome at the same time.

While I will admit the beginning moved a bit slowly for me, as events unfolded and the castle came under attack, the plot quickly picked up and kept my attention. As the plot thickens, we meet six mermaids who must come together and work as one to save the world as we know it, and while this novel only really dives into the circumstances leading up these mermaids ultimate meeting, it was a very fun ride.

Set to release in a series of four books, readers focus on Sera in this novel, and her story is one of immense interest. As she and her best friend flee from those who want to use them for evil, Donnelly ties in the land dwelling world as well, giving the story a realistic feel as readers truly don’t know what all goes on beneath them, in the depths of the oceans. While I personally don’t believe in fantastical entities, it was a lot of fun watching Donnelly make connections between our world and theirs, and I enjoyed the novel immensely once it took off. This is definitely a different, unique story—if you’re fed up with the mermaid tales of the past, then definitely give this one a try. Four stars.

4 stars

I received this novel from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon | Kindle



Blood DutyFrom Goodreads: In a remote mountain valley, a scout is tortured and killed in a brutal rite of summoning. An army of demons will soon be on the move. Fellow scout Jessup Inntour wouldn’t care very much if the empire he reluctantly serves is attacked, but the woman he loves is another matter.

Tamra Dervon, Captain of the Guard of Wayfare Keep, thinks her biggest problem is her love affair with Jessup. The scout is holding things back from her, and she doesn’t know what. But when the seemingly unbeatable army of demons invades, Tamra’s personal problems look very small. Tamra and Jessup find themselves leading a last-ditch defense. Their army is defeated. Jessup disappears in the retreat. As Tamra continues the struggle to defend her homeland, she discovers that another duty lies ahead — to face a demon horde alone.
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For those who really enjoy Fantasy novels, I highly suggest this book. Although my tastes have changed over the past few years and I’m no longer a fantasy fanatic, this novel definitely piqued my interest and kept me captivated from beginning to end. It’s a fast paced novel full of battle scenes and preparation as a blood-lusting King and his army, full of dark magic, march across the land, leaving no survivors. Bent on taking the kingdom of Ilkasar as they approach, the dark King and his mages torture and kill those in their paths, using magic to bind the dead to huge creatures of the dark. Jessup and Tamra, the two main characters of this novel, work to battle against the incoming force, but the army they are up against is much more than they can handle, and it will take an offset of strong magic to break the dark King and his army from taking over all the land.

I really enjoyed the imagery in this novel, and for me, it was like the battles of Helms Deep and Gondor (Lord of the Rings Series) in my mind. With the lumbering monsters and the evil army attaching the forge, it played out in my mind much the same, and it was great fun to read, especially as the defending kingdom is caught completely unawares. The Ixich is a great beast full of magic, and I could see it in my minds-eye as it attacked, using magic of its own to take down the enemy… in this case Tamra and Jessup and their army.

I also liked that in this world, woman fight as warriors alongside the men, and while Jessup is a talented scout, Tamra is the leader of the Keep’s army. She is a great warrior, though tied to her duty even though she wants nothing more than to ride off into the abyss with be lover, Jessup. I love that she is strong and that both men and women alike are shown as strong entities in this novel—it was a fresh change from the many fantasy books I’ve read where the women are helpless and the men must care for all.

Overall, this is a great novel that I highly recommend. Four stars.

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Kindle | Barnes and Noble

(Free at time of this posting)



Spellhollow WoodFrom Goodreads: Imagine embracing your mother one day, then having no memory of her 24 hours later …

That’s how thirteen year old Marie’s story begins in the spring of 1968. Each day her father, James, visits his wife’s empty grave, convinced she was the victim of a vicious bear attack. Marie’s memory impairment forces him to endure his grief silently, constantly reliving the horrifying incident— his wife literally torn from his daughter’s arms, with no trace of her ever found.

But this strange disappearance is only too common within the 220 square-mile tract of bewitched woodland they live next to, known locally as Spellhollow Wood— the last remaining ancient growth forest in all of North America. Even now in 2013, it is a place tucked away in obscurity.

And of course there was no bear attack. With the aid of a mysterious boy, Perion, and a homeless girl named Courinn, Marie discovers the truth about the mother she has no memory of. When she takes her first steps into the woods, Marie learns what still lurks there among its twisted branches and roots, after some three thousand years.

Kept secret for more than 40 years, this is the first account of Marie Meehanan’s incredible adventures. Now in her mid 50’s, Marie has played an instrumental role in allowing her unbelievable stories as a young teen to be told, contributing over a dozen of her own meticulous illustrations, which detail the events that occurred within the otherworldly forest she grew up among in New York State.

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This novel begins with aspects of the paranormal taking the forefront, and as a lover of all things paranormal, it drew me right in.  The tale actually sent chills down my spine as I began reading, and I could just imagine the scene unfolding as if I was there on the cliff overlook.  And I kind of wish I was. It is an unnerving beginning, with the sudden encroaching fog and the disappearance of Marie’s mother from her grasp; Scotti does a wonderful job setting an eerie stage for the reader.

And then the novel takes a turn toward the fantastical, leaving the paranormal behind as mystical creatures—a unicorn, a reanimated knight, vampires, living trees, slaugs, and many other sinister elements—begin tracking Marie and her otherworldly friends as they attempt to find Marie’s mother and the others that have been lost along the way.

Truth be told, Spellhollow Wood is an intriguing story of adventure and friendship, a true coming of age story.  Full of sinister plots, twists, and turns, it is an engaging read, and though some portions seemed a bit long in sequence for me, personally, I believe it will definitely spark the interest of any MG or YA lover of fantasy.  Not only is the novel reader friendly, but it has great themes within the pages, and though some of the characters were not my favorite, many were true to life and depicted the tween mind wonderfully.  If you’re a lover of all things fantasy, then I definitely recommend this novel.  Three and a half stars.

3.5 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Check out the Trailer that made this a MUST read!



The Moin CoinFrom Goodreads: Inquisitive 13-year-old Lily Winter finds herself in the Moon Realm, the setting of her uncle’s long-ago bedtime tales. Separated from her brother Jasper, armed with only her wits and the Moon Coin, Lily must find her way through worlds much darker than any tales Uncle Ebb ever told. Illustrated by Carolyn Arcabascio.

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Full of fantastical worlds, animals, and entities, The Moon Coin takes readers on a magical adventure they won’t soon forget. With beautiful illustrations and a plot that definitely keeps the reader engaged, this is a story that I highly suggest all lovers of fantasy pick up, regardless of age.  It reminds me, in a way, of The Chronicles of Narnia series—jumping between realms with vivid characters, non-stop action, and an easy to follow, yet mesmerizing, plot.  Though I personally have found that my tastes are moving away from that of fantasy, I still really enjoyed this novel; it’s characterization was great, and the story itself was extremely intriguing.

Though Lily is just 13 years old, she is wise beyond her years, and she comes across as a very mature protagonist as the story evolves.  I really enjoyed getting to know her, and her caring and laid back attitude made me connect with her almost immediately.  Though she’s lost in a world that is not her own, and there are those out to destroy her, she keeps a level head, and with the help of her friends and the creatures inhabiting the moon realm, she learns many things about herself and others, adding to the abounding themes within the novel.  This is a great read, definitely a novel for MG and lower YA readers who love fantasy, though I highly suggest it for the older crowd as well.  Three and a half stars.

3.5 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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9781470129361_p0_v1_s260x420From Goodreads: The Hermitage House Miracle starts with a deep hook. “I’ve given you the last six years of my life, and for what? To always be running from one town to another? Never having a life of my own just so you could live?”

As Jamie lay alone in bed, not knowing his mother had just been killed while driving drunk, he was filled with disturbing thoughts. His mother’s last words to him before going out did not make sense. He was even more confused when she had added, in a drunken slur, “If I had a lick of sense I’d have let old Ernie do what he wanted!”

Why had his mother said she had given him the last six years of her life when he was twelve years old?

After being sent to live at the Hermitage House for Children, Jamie begins to have a series of strange and troubling dreams. Each dream is about a little blond-haired boy who has a little sister and a mother and a father. But the mother is not his mother who was killed in the car accident and he had never known his father. Yet his dreams are always about the same family, especially the little boy and his dog. And the father programs computers and makes games, even promising to build the boy a video game so lifelike the boy will think he’s actually inside it…

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This is a novel that seems extremely realistic and true to life, but then takes on aspects of fantasy and the paranormal, giving it an edge that can be a bit jarring should readers not be ready for it.  And yet, it’s a very well written story that warms the heart as it unfolds.  Jamie, now living in an orphanage, only remembers the past six years of his life, but as he begins to make friends and interact with others, a luxury he hadn’t known while his mother was alive, he begins to piece together his life through his vivid dreams and a video game that mysteriously appears in the arcade.

And as it unfolds, readers learn the truth behind Jamie’s lack of memories, behind the dog howling on the wind, and about his mother.  A quick read, this novel will leave you hugging your children close as you realize Jamie’s reality and note that the bond between parent and child remains long after the line is cut.  Three stars.

3 stars

Acorn Book Services has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read this novel, via Netgalley.



17560444From Goodreads: Terror strikes the Celtic inspired kingdom of Nemetona when barbed roots breach the veil of a forbidden land and poison woodsmen, including 15-year-old Lia’s beloved father. Lia and three others embark on a quest to the forbidden land of Brume to gather ingredients for the cure. But after her elder kinsman is attacked and poisoned, she and her cousin, Wynn, are forced to finish the quest on their own.

Lia relies on her powerful herbal wisdom and the memorized pages of her late grandmother’s Grimoire for guidance through a land of soul-hungry shades, trickster creatures, and uncovered truths about the origin of Brume and her family’s unexpected ties to it. The deeper they trek into the land, the stronger Lia’s untapped gift as a tree mage unfolds. When she discovers the enchanted root’s maker, it forces her to question everything about who she is and what is her destiny. Ultimately she must make a terrible choice: keep fighting to save her father and the people of the lands or join with the power behind the deadly roots to help nature start anew.

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I’m not necessarily a science fiction or fantasy buff myself, but this is a very well written story that follows Lia as she embarks on a journey into the forbidden forest of Brume.  Within this fantasy world, evil exists in a very real manner, and it is ever encroaching on the people of Nemetona.  Filled with magical creatures and situations, the novel deals with many intense situations, but I personally didn’t really connect with the characters very well.  I honestly think this has to deal with the fact that science fiction and fantasy are usually hit or miss with me as my imagination lacks a bit when it comes to alternate worlds and universes.  As I can’t really see it in my mind, I sometimes struggle to see what the characters are experiencing if it’s not immediately tangible in my own life, and so I sometimes get lost in the mix of it all.  Truth be told, this isn’t any fault of the author, but rather a personal quirk, and I thought this novel, overall, was very well written.  Had I more of a liking for sci-fi and fantasy novels, I’m sure I would have enjoyed this one much more, but as it stands, I still really liked it and think that true sci-fi and fantasy lovers will thoroughly enjoy this novel.  Three stars.

3 stars

I received this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.



14416243From Goodreads: The last few grueling years of training have served Kaltor well. He’s learned to harness the magic within his body, overcome a stronger opponent, avoid capture, and everything else an assassin-in-training needs to survive.

Or so he thought.

But when those they protect at an excavation site release a demon from the Abyss itself, Kaltor realizes just how poorly prepared they all are for what’s coming. Within a single night, their mining camp of one thousand people plummets to a couple hundred terrified survivors, the majority turned against each other by the demon’s potent abilities. Then he turns towards Shaylis, the largest city in the region, for the next stage of his plan.

In a constant battle of both steel and strategy Kaltor and his friends struggle to delay, deceive and defeat their opponent, who’s spent the last thousand years planning out every detail of her assault to perfection. As the number of casualties mounts and her final plan comes to light, Kaltor is left with only one option. He must draw on the secret power within himself, knowing if his true identity is discovered, his life and the fate of the world, will be changed forever.

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Welcome to the fantastical world of Varadours, Sight Seekers, and humans, a world unlike any other. When an amulet in an archeological dig sends prince Melshek over the edge, taking over people’s will, destroying families, and turning them into black veined humans controlled by webbed mouth women, Kaltor and the Varadour assassins must act to save the kingdom before Melshek’s presence spreads throughout the world, though this valor comes at a great cost to all.

Kaltor is a great young male lead, a Battle Born Varadour assassin in training, and a hero at heart. The Varadour assassins have many different powers that range from the ability to promote healing, to blending in with their surroundings, and even to being able to see things that are happening behind their backs.  Kaltor has many powers, but even more that reach far beyond those of his companions, a fact he’s had to keep hidden for years.  Now, fighting for all that is right against a world that doesn’t truly understand his powers, Kaltor will have to make the ultimate sacrifice if he plans to save those he holds dear.

With the advent of an ancient evil taking over the region, Kaltor steps up to the challenge of defending his people, and the epic fights that ensue will have any fantasy lover enthralled.  The creation of the black veined people and webbed mouth controllers was extremely intense, and the battle scenes and stealth against the hoards of black veined assailants held me captive as a siege against the crown rages on throughout the novel.  Although I found Kaltor’s thoughts to be a bit repetitive at times, I enjoyed his inner monologue as he tried time and time again to overcome the evil around him and convince the remaining people of the kingdom that he and the Varadour’s had their best interests at heart.

The Sight Seekers, with their vivid blue eyes and skills in stealth, create another intense barrier that Kaltor must overcome if he has hopes to save the people, and the many aspects of the world building that Sebrick adds to this novel were extremely well written and thought out.  While I’m not always a fantasy buff, Sebrick did a great job holding my attention and generating interest and feelings on my behalf towards the characters, and I highly suggest lovers of fantasy, world building, and epic war pick this one up.  Four stars.

4 starsI received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.



12174011From Goodreads: Nathaniel Hewitt is a Patriot and resolute supporter of the Glorious Cause, fighting for liberty and self-governance for the American colonies of Great Britain. When he joins the newly formed Continental Air Cavalry, he quickly establishes himself as one of America’s best fliers. Striving for success against the British kites in the air undermines his efforts to court Constance Whitegate, the daughter of the most vocal loyalist in South Carolina. Together they must stay unified and steadfast in the war that threatens to consume them.

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If you love history with a bit of a twist, then this is definitely a novel for you.  Three if by Air adds in the fantastical element of an Air Cavalry to the Revolutionary War, but it also still gives a fairly accurate portrayal of the many events that lead up to America’s freedom from British rule.

Beginning with the Boston Massacre, this novel follows the life of Nathaniel Hewitt as he joins the Cause and fights for liberty from Great Britain, and with his acute attention to detail, Koepke draws his readers in from the very first page as we begin to learn how truly dire life was for those in the colonies.  Nathaniel Hewitt is a very well fleshed out character, and Koepke does a great job making him real for us as readers.  We follow him closely throughout the War, and though the novel is a tad long for my tastes, I really enjoyed this in-depth look at our hero, as well as the alternate look at a battle we’ve heard so much about in our history classes as young students.

I’m not really one for mechanism and scientific explanation, though, so I personally found some of the information regarding the Continental Air Cavalry to be beyond my attention span, but the story itself intrigued me more than enough.  It’s the idea of “what if” that really gets me as I read this story.  Though a little early for the advent of gliders, in terms of history, the Air Cavalry really added to this alternate history, and the twists it brought about (when it wasn’t being technical) were quite interesting to me.  Three stars.

3 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.



17167166From Goodreads: An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.
But her heart never wavers.

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king’s contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king’s bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she’s given a task that could jeopardize everything she’s come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon — forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?

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I am always a little bit wary when reading a sequel to a novel I absolutely adored because I have a fear that it just might not be as epic as the first, and I don’t want a novel to fall short of my expectations.  Fortunately, Maas’ second novel in the Throne of Glass series is just an enticing and kick butt as the first!

This is, truthfully, a fantastic book, and Celaena is once again full of surprises.  And, although the synopsis tells us time and time again that Celaena is an assassin, I guess the nature of her job didn’t really hit me until this novel when we actually see Celaena begin to fulfill her duty and go after people who don’t necessarily deserve to die.  The first time she brought a body part to the king for his inspection, I actually was quite mad at Celaena, but rest assured, there is a rhyme and a reason behind what Celaena is doing, and you won’t be shocked or mad at her for long once she lets you in on her secret.  Readers beware, though, a beloved friend dies in this novel, sparking a darker side of Celaena that we haven’t seen before.  It, too, shocked me just a bit, but I found myself rooting for her the entire way, especially as she uncovers a plot far more sinister then she, or the kingdom, even thought possible. And so it goes, surprise after surprise as you read, and I loved every minute of it.  Especially when Celaena does go after the truly bad guys, showing her advanced training and ruthless nature when appropriate.

There is, of course, a little tiny love triangle, but Prince Dorian is more or less by the wayside, giving Chaol more of a chance to shine in this novel.  But both pine for Celaena, and I loved their many interactions.  It always pleases me to see the softer side of Chaol when he’s with Celeana, and they really are the perfect match.  However, I do love Dorian, too… making this a difficult triangle for me to navigate.  But, when all’s said and done, I think I’m cheering for Chaol, but then again, book three might just make me switch sides.

Full of fantasy of epic proportions, readers learn a lot more in terms of Celaena’s background and birthright, and it’s an exhilarating rollercoaster ride as everything unfolds, clearing up one mystery only to shroud the reader in another. This is definitely one to pick up in the bookstore first thing tomorrow!   Five stars!

5 stars

Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release tomorrow.


18054394From Goodreads: Space is not as endless as Humans thought. In fact, for our kind it all ends at Pluto where the elements of the Greater Drahgosian Empire keep watch to ensure no one leaves the reservation. We are free to explore our own system, to expand and colonize, but to look out beyond our system is forbidden.

Iago has a plan, and if it works he just might be the first human to walk under an alien star. All he needs is a hairless dog, a vindictive Commander, and a Drahgosian starship capable of breaching the vast distance between star systems. Picking up a beautiful alien female like Eema would just be bonus points.

But there is more going on with the reservation than Iago realizes, and his dream may very well be the death of all humanity.

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Those who really like Star Trek and other space intense movies/novels should definitely pick up The Starrunner.  Set in the distant future, this novel begins with the revelation that extraterrestrials have indeed made contact with earth, only to set a rule in place: do not explore outside earth’s solar system.  But why?  Iago, our main character, has spent many years wondering what exists beyond the solar boarders, and in his attempt to see more of the universe,  our story takes off.

Iago is somewhat of a trickster, intent on sticking it to the higher ups from the very beginning of this novel.  And, as the commanders and higher ups don’t take jokes and such very well, Iago soon finds himself in a predicament that could end with his death.  Always resourceful, though, he is able to use his circumstances to his advantage, breaking out of the confines and, indeed, seeing more of the universe, but at what cost?

As this novel unfolds, readers are introduced to many different alien species, many of which have very human characteristics in either looks or actions.  One in particular, Eema, a beautiful alien woman, is not what she seems upon first meeting, and I loved her kick-butt presence, illegal antics and all.  Although she is far from what Iago expected in his cross-universal search, they become companions more out of desperation than true friendship, and watching them banter and learn to work together was a lot of fun, as was learning the reason for the Drahgosian rule against human exploration of the universe.

Overall, I really liked the characterization, especially of Eema and Iago, and the story itself was very good, but it seemed to jump from scene to scene a little less fluidly that I would have liked.  There were times that I would have loved more intricate information about an alien people, or a circumstance Iago and Eema found themselves in, only to be whisked ahead a few months instead, which left me with a few questions here and there, but nothing too vast.  This is a very intriguing novel, and though I’m not really a space or scifi fan myself, as I said before, those who really enjoy Star Trek and other space movies and novels should definitely pick this up, because I think they’ll love it.  Three stars.

3 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 



18043896From Goodreads: Nidad Reik, the last mundane king of Verneece has fallen to the treachery of the sorcerers who once served him. Now the usurpers have gathered from the four corners of the kingdom to divide the spoils of victory. Among those in attendance are the Puppeteer and his ward, the Fortune Teller; the Sword Prince and his latest trollop; the Lady of Perfumes and her guards and lovers; finally, there is the fearsome Stonegrinder, master of earth and stone. The night is filled with feasting, entertainment .and gaming. In the wee hours of a long, winter night there is also murder.

The survivors look upon each other with suspicion of treachery. Who committed the murders and why? Or is there an outside agency moving against them to lay claim to their victory?

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“Set in the Blackstone universe, the history of Verneece before the coming of Queen Spiral is revealed” in this novella by Jason Beineke, a prequel to the Blackstone series.  This imaginative fantasy series expounds on sorcery and world dominance, but for those of you who haven’t yet read the masterful Blackstone novels, then I highly suggest you begin with this novella, especially if you’re intrigued by world building, sorcery, and fantasy—this series is not one to be missed!

Complete with engaging characters able to bend the elements and wills of others, readers are introduced to a band of strong and able sorcerers come to divide the spoils of the conquered Verneece.  Although a tad vulgar and disturbing in places—drinking wine from a skull makes me shudder—this novella truly sets the scene for the murders and betrayal that takes place between the pages, and continues throughout the series, as the gifted magicians begin to suspect and fight amongst themselves.  Showing the vast corruption that pervaded the land prior to the seizing of power by Queen Spiral, a vicious queen readers will get to know in more depth in Drawing the Circle, this novella gives readers a taste of what is to come with its imaginative world, deceptive characters, and jarring situations.  It’s a great read that I enjoyed very much, though I do wish it was longer.  However, a longer read would defeat the purpose, as this novella is meant to whet the appetite for more, and that is exactly what it does.  Had the characters been a little more pleasant, I do believe their plight and overall fate would have left me feeling bereft.  As it is, however, these vile characters gain no sympathy from me.  Three stars.

3 stars



et cetera
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