Books I've Read

REVIEW: Becoming the Witch

Becoming the WitchTitleBecoming the Witch

Author: J.M. Davies

Pages: 180

Genre: Fantasy

SeriesThe Rise of Orion #0.5 (prequel)

Edition: eBook ARC from Xpresso Book Tours

Blurb: As Miss Elizabeth Marshfield, I’ve never had a choice. My marriage to Sir Charles Dempsey is arranged. Love plays no role in this, but my sizable dowry does. On my eighteenth birthday, as I promise to honor and obey, eerie voices unlock a curse and an ancient magic I didn’t know I possessed, and they won’t rest until I answer them.
My husband suspects I’m mad—and mad, I may well be. But this cold-hearted brute cares naught for me as his mistress warms his bed.

I don’t know who I am anymore. Even the blacksmith, Barnaby, can’t disguise his contempt, despite saving me from a fall from my horse. So why does this insolent man affect me so? He reveals he’s a Roma called Raven, and the birthmark of the moon I have branded on my wrist proves I’m entwined in his destiny. Even talking with him could mean the hangman. But my heart has spoken, and I know nothing will ever be the same.

For once—I will choose my fate, even if it leads to a noose around my neck.

Review: So this was really interesting. I’ve never read a prequel for a series that I hadn’t read before, or even heard of, really. I will say that this book definitely makes me want to look into the Rise of Orion series because this prequel was really good! Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for the review copy!

It was also really short, which since I’ve been reading a lot of behemoths lately, was nice.

I really enjoyed the writing in this. It was crisp, clean, and had lots of details that made the world really come alive on the page. It made the scenery really stand out, both the heaviness of the Dempsey estate and the wildness of the Roma camp, and it also made the abuse that Elizabeth goes through feel very visceral and real. Those scenes were difficult to read, but they are supposed to be. This is not a happy story, but these events set into motion future events later in the series. One thing that Elizabeth deals with is hearing the voices of her past lives, so I can only guess that she will be coming back in a future life at some point? I hope so.

Speaking of Elizabeth, let’s get into the characters. Elizabeth is a really well-written character, a spunky, independent young girl who is forced into a marriage with a very controlling man. Watching her change over the course of the story, trying to escape, and ultimately succumbing to her fate was a very well-written story arc. Sir Charles is a terrible villain who, on top of being an abusive and horrible husband (even flaunting his mistress right in his wife’s face), is also part of some sort of secret society that we only get hints at here. It definitely made me want to learn more.

There are lots of other supernatural elements — the magic of the Roma people, vampires, werewolves, witches — that are only touched on here, but I can only assume we get more details into these different groups as we go into the series itself. There was a bonus chapter included , the first chapter of book #1, so I know that the prequel is set in a different time period — it’s in the 1800s, whereas the series itself looks to be a modern, urban fantasy. Still, I really enjoyed this author’s writing style, so I would really like to continue reading this to see where it goes.

GoodReads rating: 4 stars

Books I've Read

Book Review: Where I End and You Begin

Where I EndTitle: Where I End and You Begin

Author: Preston Norton

Pages: 304

Genre: YA

Series: none – standalone

Edition: eBook ARC from NetGalley

Blurb: Ezra Slevin is an anxious, neurotic insomniac who spends his nights questioning his place in the universe and his days obsessing over Imogen, a nerdy girl with gigantic eyebrows and a heart of gold.

For weeks, Ezra has been working up the courage to invite Imogen to prom. The only problem is Imogen’s protective best friend, Wynonna Jones. Wynonna has blue hair, jams to ’80s rock, and has made a career out of tormenting Ezra for as long as he can remember.

Then, on the night of a total solar eclipse, something strange happens to Ezra and Wynonna–and they wake up in each other’s bodies. Not only that, they begin randomly swapping back and forth every day! Ezra soon discovers Wynonna’s huge crush on his best friend, Holden, a five-foot-nothing girl magnet with anger management problems. With no end to their curse in sight, Ezra makes Wynonna a proposition: while swapping bodies, he will help her win Holden’s heart…but only if she helps him woo Imogen.

Forming an uneasy alliance, Ezra and Wynonna embark on a collision course of mistaken identity, hurt feelings, embarassing bodily functions, and a positively byzantine production of Twelfth Night. Ezra wishes he could be more like Wynonna’s badass version of Ezra–but he also realizes he feels more like himself while being Wynonna than he has in a long time…

Wildly entertaining and deeply heartfelt, Where I End and You Begin is a brilliant, unapologetic exploration of what it means to be your best self.

Review: Y’all, this book was absolutely delightful. I love books that are quirky and funny, but also have a really good, heartfelt message.

It’s obviously not an original idea – there are several Freaky Friday movies after all. I really enjoyed how they took two people who were so different, who completely hated each other, and put them in this situation. Most notably: one is a boy and one is a girl. The body swapping doesn’t happen just one brief time. It happens over and over for MONTHS. That means, you guessed it, Ezra has to figure out what a period is and Wynonna has to figure out what to do with a penis. That also doesn’t take into account the fact that they are both best friends with the other one’s crush, so there is a lot of awkwardness as they have to try and act like everything is completely normal.

Ezra is a really sweet character. Shy and a little goofy, being stuck in Wynonna’s body forces him to break out of his shell a little bit. It was easy for him to hate Wynonna, but living her life makes him realize that she is the way she is for a reason. Her family life is not great and her attitude has been a way to put up walls to protect herself from hurt. I also really enjoyed Ezra’s mixed-up attempts to patch things up with Wynonna and her estranged father.

In the end they all manage to end up friends: Ezra, Wynonna, Imogen and Holden, as well as perform in the Shakespeare play Twelfth Night as part of a detention punishment at school. It’s also particularly amusing when Ezra and Wynonna switch right before the performance starts: after learning the lines of the other person all school year. Shenanigans!

The big takeaway from this book though is, to borrow a turn of phrase, that you never really know a person until you walk in their shoes. Ezra began the school year thinking that Wynonna was terrible, and vice versa. They ended the year as friends after fully realizing why they were the way they were, and that maybe they should have just given each other a chance the first time. The reason that the body swapping started was very poignant and well done.

GoodReads rating: 5 stars. I really enjoyed it.

Books I've Read

Book Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Empire of StormsTitleEmpire of Storms

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Pages: 704

Genre: YA Fantasy

SeriesThrone of Glass, book #5

Edition Read: Kindle

Blurb: The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Timesbestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what—and who—to sacrifice if she’s to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.

Review: I’m finally getting around to writing this review! Huzzah! Needless to say, there will be spoilers ahead for the first books in this series, so read at your own risk.

Be

Ready

For

Spoilers

Go!

Plots within plots within plots!

First off, I love that Lysandra is able to be her shape shifty self. She’s awesome.

The stakes are higher each time with these books, which is one of the things I love best about them. It isn’t enough that Aelin is alive – that doesn’t mean she can get her kingdom back. The nobles who live in Terrasen still have to approve of her as queen. And they aren’t ready to do so, not unless she can bring some heavy alliances with her. Seriously, they really shouldn’t underestimate Aelin, not at all. I was completely amazed at all she accomplished by the end of this book. She is not fooling around, and she’s not going to let some crusty old men tell her what to do for her kingdom.

With the King of Adarlan gone, we needed a new villain, and this book really delivered. Erawan is a terrifying villain and it was wonderfully evil to see him as his true self, not hiding in another human body. He is not to be trifled with, very powerful and has some very powerful beings on his side.

Manon continues to be my absolute favorite part of this series and I’m so excited that she’s with the main group of characters now. More Manon is a good thing in my book. I also really love how Elide came into her own a bit more. She is starting to regain some of the confidence she lost as a captive for so many years and it’s the absolute best. The fact that she gained the heart of one of someone like Lorcan just proves how amazing she is. So much untapped potential.

Really and truly, it’s the characters that make this series. I love all of them so much. They are just so well written, well-rounded, interesting, flawed, and great to read about. The story is also very good and keeps going in places you don’t expect, but the characters are really what sells it.

This one left off on such a HORRIBLE CLIFFHANGER!!! Especially since I’m not planning to read the next book for a while!!! And by horrible, I mean exciting and terrifying and wonderful. I honestly have no idea where this story is going to end up, but I am here for it.

GoodReads rating: 5 stars all the way

Blog Tours · Books I've Read

BLOG TOUR: Art of Death

ArtOfDeathTourBanner

Hello everyone! Today I am very excited to participate in the blog tour for Art of Death by Becca Vincenza, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours! This was a super fun read, so please continue on to find out more!

About the Book

ArtTitleArt of Death

Author: Becca Vincenza

SeriesCurse Breakers Book #1

Publication Date: September 4, 2018

Genre: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

Find It: GoodReads, Amazon

(At the time of posting, this was also available as a free read on Kindle Unlimited!)

Blurb: What if a single act of rebellion had the power to change your fate?

Rowan and Abel Hayes’ birth ended a centuries-old family curse, but being a curse breaker has its drawbacks. Now they live a life full of rules.

When Rowan breaks a rule, she sets a powerful chain of events into motion that she never could’ve imagined. Abel is kidnapped, and it’s up to Rowan to save her twin. Can she rely on the aid of an old friend who once betrayed her? Or will new enemies prove too strong for her to handle?

Review: Okay, first of all, this book is so much fun! I really enjoy these modern urban fantasy stories that take something mystical and magical and plop them into familiar settings and circumstances. If done right, it makes the story so much more believable and rich. And this story was done very, very right. Of course there are large necromancer families living in Alaska and Seattle! Why not? And werewolves! And vampires! Will-o-the-wisps! Gargoyles! Nymphs!

A very interesting magic setting, focusing mostly on death magic since the main character and her family practice it. Rowan is a fun character – a bit headstrong and stubborn, but hey, if my family was keeping secrets from me and had made all these deals about my life without telling me about them, I’d be a bit miffed too. I love how she is the youngest of all these big, burly brothers, but still manages to hold her own. I also really enjoyed the relationship between her and her twin brother, Abel, as well as their friendship with Indigo, a member of the werewolf clan that has allied itself to their family.

There is a lot more to learn and a LOT of things set up for the next book in the series, and I am very anxious to learn more. Especially about a certain something (no spoilers) that happened to Rowan’s body while she was captured (although if you read the preface at the very beginning, you probably have an idea of what happened). I’m sure that will have ramifications down the road.

Final thoughts on this one: this is a fun, fast paced read that anyone who loves a good urban fantasy story will enjoy. GoodReads rating: 4 stars.

About the Author

11292695_10206647196122375_1780725495_n

Becca Vincenza lives in *wonderful* Michigan. For a passion of all things paranormal and adventure, she writes both in Urban Fantasy worlds, and Paranormal Romance. When she isn’t writing, she is reading and vice versa.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Newsletter

Enter the Giveaway!

One lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon giftcard, plus a signed copy of Art of Death!  Be sure to enter via this Rafflecopter giveaway link. This one is international, so be sure to enter! Good luck!

Follow the Tour!

May 20th
Lost In A Book
I Smell Sheep
Book reviews and recommendations
2 Girls and a book

May 21st
Book Briefs
Cats Luv Coffee Book Reviews
Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!
4covert2overt ☼ A Place In The Spotlight ☼

May 22nd
Taking It One Book at a Time
Midwest Romantic
Life With No Plot

May 23rd
Sassy Southern Book Blog
shemarieblogs
Reviews by Leeve
Jessica Rachow
Book Addict

May 24th
Birdie’s Bibliotheca
My Life Loves and Passion
Incidental Inspiration
Casia’s Corner
Book Butterfly in Dreamland

May 25th
Good Books & Tasty Morsels 
Cranky TBC
Books a Plenty Book Reviews
Tyto Forest
Jazzy Book Reviews
bookishnerdygirl

ButtonXBT

 

Blog Tours · Books I've Read

BLOG TOUR: The Bone Charmer

TOUR BANNER

I’m very excited to share this book with everyone. Check out this blog tour for The Bone Charmer by Breeana Shields, hosted by the Fantastic Flying Book Club!

About the Book

TheBoneCharmer_Cover (1)TitleThe Bone Charmer

Author: Breeana Shields

Publisher: Page Street Kids

Release Date: May 21, 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Find It: GoodReads, Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Books

Blurb: In Saskia’s world, bones are the source of all power. They tell the future, reveal the past, and expose secrets in the present. Each village has a designated seer who performs readings for the townsfolk, and in Midwood, the Bone Charmer is Saskia’s mother.

On the day of her kenning—a special bone reading that determines the apprenticeships of all seventeen-year-olds—Saskia’s worst fears come true. She receives an assignment to train as a Bone Charmer, like her mother, and even worse, a match-making reading that pairs her with Bram—a boy who has suspicious tattoos that hint of violence.

Saskia knows her mother saw multiple paths for her, yet chose one she knew Saskia wouldn’t want. Their argument leads to a fracture in one of the bones. Broken bones are always bad luck, but this particular set of bones have been infused with extra magic, and so the break has devastating consequences—Saskia’s future has split as well. Now she will live her two potential paths simultaneously. Only one future can survive. And Saskia’s life is in danger in both.

Review: Oh oh oh oh, I really really liked this one! I was really excited to read it as soon as I saw that gorgeous cover, but let’s dive into what really works with this story.

First off, the world building was excellent. I really felt immersed into this place and its customs and beliefs. The way that bone magic works is very interesting and something I would love to learn more about. We get to see some of the training that goes into being able to work with the bones – and there are several different kinds of bone magic, including healing, seeing the past, present or future, controlling animals, etc. – but because of the way that Saskia evolves, her training ends up being highly unorthodox in both of her realities. In the next book (oh, please let there be a next book!), I think we will see even more of this.

Speaking of those two realities, I absolutely loved how they both mirrored each other, but were also distinctly different. It was enthralling to see how they were going to eventually connect at the end.

Basically, I loved everything about this book. I loved the twists and turns (of which there were many), I loved the characters, and I just adored the world. As I said before, I really hope that there is a second book in the works. The ending definitely sets things up that way and I want to see what happens next.

GoodReads rating: 5 stars all the way. This was awesome.

About the Author

author

Breeana Shields is an author of fantasy novels for teens including THE BONE CHARMER, POISON’S KISS, and POISON’S CAGE. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in English.

When she’s not writing, Breeana loves reading, traveling, and playing board games with her extremely competitive family. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, her three children, and two adorable, but spoiled dogs.

Website | GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

Giveaway time!

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway to enter to win a copy of The Bone Charmer! Open to the US and Canada only. Good luck!

Follow the Tour!

Check out the other stops on the tour – this is the last day, but you can see the full schedule of posts here.

 

Books I've Read

Book Review: Kushiel’s Chosen

Kushiel's ChosenTitleKushiel’s Chosen

Author: Jacqueline Carey

Pages: 678

Genre: Fantasy

SeriesPhèdre’s Trilogy #2

Edition: Paperback

Blurb: The land of Terre d’Ange is a place of unsurpassed beauty and grace. The inhabiting race rose from the seed of angels and men, and they live by one simple rule: Love as thou wilt.

Phèdre nó Delaunay was sold into indentured servitude as a child. Her bond was purchased by a nobleman, the first to recognize that she is one pricked by Kushiel’s Dart, chosen to forever experience pain and pleasure as one. He trained Phèdre in the courtly arts and the talents of the bedchamber—and, above all, the ability to observe, remember, and analyze.

When she stumbled upon a plot that threatened the very foundations of her homeland, she gave up almost everything she held dear to save it. She survived, and lived to have others tell her story, and if they embellished the tale with fabric of mythical splendor, they weren’t far off the mark.

The hands of the gods weigh heavily upon Phèdre’s brow, and they are not finished with her. While the young queen who sits upon the throne is well loved by the people, there are those who believe another should wear the crown… and those who escaped the wrath of the mighty are not yet done with their schemes for power and revenge.

Review: First, I just want to say that it is so nice to get to do a regular review! I finished this one back in March, but with all the other NetGalley and blog tour stuff, I haven’t had a chance to put my thoughts down about this one yet. I think I overextended myself on some other commitments for a bit. Whoops.

Anyway, back to this book. This entire series has been sitting on my “Complete the Series” list for several years now, mostly because they are such a time commitment. These books are long! This second book in the trilogy was the shortest, and its still a behemoth! I absolutely adore Jacqueline Carey’s writing. It is beautiful and poetic, but I do think that there are bits that could be cut down just slightly. It rambles from time to time and, while they are beautiful rambles, it does sometimes drag on for a bit too long.

Phèdre is an interesting character who has to make a lot of tough decisions. She was a lot more independent in this book, which was nice to see, but she also does suffer a bit from everyone thinking that she is just amazing/captivating/intriguing/fascinating/etc. I think that part of that might just be the culture of Terre D’Ange and the fact that they are descended from the angels themselves. If you had angelic lineage, people would probably think you were pretty awesome too. Phèdre just takes it for granted at times, which would be odd to me, but makes sense for her.

Speaking of this world, we get to travel it a lot more, and Carey’s world building remains absolutely superb. It is loosely based on Europe, but she adds so much to it. I want to visit all of these places. It’s definitely one of the fictional worlds I wouldn’t mind living in. The political intrigue is also still top notch. Melisande Shahrizai remains a complicated and compelling adversary and, I can tell, will continue to be in the next book as well.

I gave this a 3 star rating on GoodReads, but that was only because of the dragging parts I mentioned earlier. I still highly recommend this book and this series. It is a good series to completely immerse yourself into, but ONLY if you are in for the long haul. Because it is long. And a haul.

Books I've Read

Book Review: The Raven’s Tale

The Raven's TaleTitle: The Raven’s Tale

Author: Cat Winters

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy

Series: none, standalone

Edition: eBook ARC from NetGalley

Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Edgar Poe counts down the days until he can escape his foster family—the wealthy Allans of Richmond, Virginia. He hungers for his upcoming life as a student at the prestigious new university, almost as much as he longs to marry his beloved Elmira Royster. However, on the brink of his departure, all his plans go awry when a macabre Muse named Lenore appears to him. Muses are frightful creatures that lead Artists down a path of ruin and disgrace, and no respectable person could possibly understand or accept them. But Lenore steps out of the shadows with one request: “Let them see me!”

Review: Oh, this was right up my alley! I could tell after only reading two chapters in.

This concept, taking a real historical figure, known for their connections to bizarre and haunting things, and turning their story into a true paranormal tale is really amazing, and Cat Winters does it wonderfully. This makes me want to read a more realistic biography of Poe and see where the similarities are. I know he lost his parents and that they were theater performers (or at least I knew about his mother, didn’t know his father was as well). I don’t know much about his foster family (the Allans), his time at university, or any of his other relationships. It would be very interesting to see just how much Winters did her homework, but guessing from her notes and resources, she did it pretty well.

I love that Edgar’s muse is personified into an actual creature that haunts and torments him. The chapters flip back and forth between Edgar (or “Eddy”) and his muse, a terrifying creature of a woman who he names Lenore (because of course he did). Lenore is absolutely fascinating. There is a constant struggle between them as Eddy fights to rise above where he came from, but also to honor the part of him that revels and loves the macabre. This struggle grows as another muse, one that tempts his love of satire, also fights for Eddy’s intellect and talents.

This book just came out this past Tuesday, April 16th, and everyone needs to go get it, right now. Especially if you are a Poe fan, but even if you aren’t familiar with his work, you will enjoy this.

GoodReads rating: 5 stars