Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)
by Sarah J. Maas

Goodreads Synopsis:

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Timesbestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

My Review:

4 of 5 Stars

Beauty and the Beast has to be my favorite fairy tale in existence. Because of this I had some high hopes for this book. While it still doesn’t quite measure up to the wonderful Disney movie of my childhood, it was a really enjoyable read and I’m painfully anticipating the sequel!

The Glorious

  • This fairy tale actually has faeries! I loved this aspect especially since these aren’t just the ordinary cliche fae that appear in a number of books. They are a race and a culture all their own and I appreciated the level of detail I got in knowing them.
  • The world building was amazing as well as the background story and history with the war. I’ve read some other books recently where I really wanted this added information but didn’t get it. The really special part of this world building however was that it didn’t feel like it dragged on forever. I didn’t feel like I was reading to ‘catch up’ to current events. I don’t necessarily mind this but it’s nice when a plot keeps moving while I’m learning.
  • I fully believe that all villains need a backstory. I need to know why they are evil, what drove them to where they are, all of that heart breaking stuff. The Glorious side of this is that we get a bit of this, and yes – it broke my heart. The nice balance though is that while I knew the villains story to a degree, I still could glorify in hating her.

The Somewhat Glorious

  • Feyre kind of drove me crazy through the book. I wanted to just shake her to get her out of her own  head. That being said, her behavior was completely normal given her circumstances and history. I did find it amazing how much she really grew by the end of the book and how her new knowledge, wisdom and experience will work in the continuing story.

The Not so Glorious (for me)

  • I am not a big romance person. I tend to shy away from anything that involves too much mushy, lovey-dovey, googley eyed, maidens in distress, swooning under the moonlit sky.. stuff. With this it’s not that I didn’t like it but at times it just felt a little over the top. In some moments it pushed me a bit away from the story because I was just rolling my eyes. Again, this is really just a personal preference. If you enjoy the romance with the electric arms touching, breath gasping across a crowded room.. thing, you will completely adore this.

 

Review: A History of Glitter and Blood

A History of Glitter and Blood
by Hannah Moskowitz

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Beckan and her friends are the only fairies brave enough to stay in Ferrum when war breaks out. Now there is tension between the immortal fairies, the subterranean gnomes, and the mysterious tightropers who arrived to liberate the fairies.

But when Beckan’s clan is forced to venture into the gnome underworld to survive, they find themselves tentatively forming unlikely friendships and making sacrifices they couldn’t have imagined. As danger mounts, Beckan finds herself caught between her loyalty to her friends, her desire for peace, and a love she never expected.

This stunning, lyrical fantasy is a powerful exploration of what makes a family, what justifies a war, and what it means to truly love.

My Review: 

3 of 5 Stars

This was possibly the weirdest most unusual book I’ve ever read. Several times I almost DNF’d it but the sheer absurdity of it kept me going. I was first pulled to the book honestly.. faeries and glitter, you can’t beat that right? That screams “look at the shiny” all over it. But then I started reading.

the-fuck-is-thisThese Faeries are immortal but they get eaten by gnomes they just sort of put up with being around. Well, parts of them get eaten. Legs, Arms, Ears.. but the really, really weird part is something else.  I won’t divulge the weirdness, but I promise you it was creepy.

My biggest actual issue with the book was that this is really meant to be young adult fiction but the content is fairly .. explicit. The F Bomb is used a lot. A lot isn’t really even a good measurement of how much swearing is really in the book – far more than I felt necessary to be honest but, eh. Second, there is a lot of sex. Not just regular sex either – prostitution with drug use as a nice little bonus.

huh-faceI’m still not really sure what to think of this book because it was so.. odd. I’m not sure if I liked it. I’m giving it three stars mostly because I’m amazed at it’s ability to completely baffle me. I did also really enjoy the artwork which is really good at least to me. I would have ranked it higher had there been a little more world building or perhaps something more about the war itself. Alas, I still have no idea where this really takes place which is a bit bothersome.

This is not a book for everyone. In fact I’d probably say most people will not like this book. That being said if you enjoy the strange and bizarre you might enjoy this story if you can manage your way around the alternative writing style (and not get offended by copious amounts of teen swearing, sex, and drug use).

This book was provided free from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion and I was compensated in no other manner.

Review: God is With You Every Day By Max Lucado

God Is With You Every Day
By Max Lucado
Published by Thomas Nelson

Description:

 

It’s easier to face the day when you know God is with you.

God Is With You Every Day is a brand-new 365-day devotional from Max Lucado, and his first new devotional since the creation of the Grace for the Moment® line. Max’s signature reassuring and encouraging voice, paired with the practical, relevant, and personal message that God is with you every day, makes a great way to start each day of the year.

This devotional begins each week with a prayer and scripture, followed by six days of devotions and scripture for reflection. Weaving messages of comfort, grace, and encouragement, this book is wonderful for anyone who wants a fresh infusion of faith to start each day, as well as those walking through difficult seasons of life such as loneliness, grief, or change.

You can face each day with courage – because God is with you.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

About the Author2737

More than 120 million readers have found inspiration and encouragement in the writings of Max Lucado. He lives with his wife, Denalyn, and their mischievous mutt, Andy, in San Antonio, Texas, where he serves the people of Oak Hills Church.

My Review:

4 of 5 Stars

I’ve recently begun really exploring my faith again and have a number of devotionals that motivate me on a daily basis. I find these to be great when I need something small, especially in the morning or sometimes right before bed. I’ve read other books by Max Lucado and always enjoyed his writing style so I knew I wanted to try this one.

The first thing I noticed when I had the book in my hands is the incredible quality of it. I have a few devotionals that aren’t bound all that well and after only a month or two these tend to start looking a little worn – often with damaged spines. I can tell this won’t be an issue for this devotional and that it will most likely hold up through out the year for multiple reasons. First, it’s got a thick and almost plush cover which gives it a good bit of weight. Second, the spine is very solid. I admit I’m hardly an expert on book binding but I can tell extra thought was put into this. Rather than just being glued I believe it has a sewn binding complete with a bookmark ribbon. Which brings me to my third item. I love the fact that it comes with a ribbon to hold my place. Sure you can grab a scrap piece of paper or a bookmark but I constantly lose these and traditionally sized bookmarks are often too big for the regular devotional sized book. Being able to just open right up to the day I’m at is a huge plus.

Now for content which has me a bit on the fence. Don’t get me wrong – it’s great content. Every day comes with a bit of scripture and a bit of writing that pertains to it. Certain days also feature prayers. Also helpful is a full topic and scripture index included in the back. I’ve loved a few days that I’ve read and others just feel like they miss the mark for me personally. It’s not bad, just not necessarily fitting for my life right now. That being said as I read through it I knew several others who would get much more out of this devotional than me (and I’ll be passing it on as a stocking stuffer to my lovely sister).

I don’t think you can go wrong with this devotional. It really is beautiful, enjoyable to hold, and contains some great ideas. These books I like to think of as snacks for the soul – and this fills that description perfectly.

This book was provided free from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion and I was compensated in no other manner.

Review: Illuminae

23395680Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
by Amie Kaufman

Goodreads Synopsis:

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

My Review:

5 of 5 Stars

I admit I was a bit skeptical about this book at first, primarily because of the layout and different way it is written.  In the end though I ended up really enjoying being able to see the different pieces of evidence including the chat logs.

It took me a little while to really get into the story.  At first I was slightly annoyed by Kady but began to realize how realistic of a teenage character she truly was.  Everything that happened felt believable and realistic.  I was quickly wrapped up in what was happening.

The twists were the absolute best part.  I didn’t expect them at all the way they ended up happening and it kept me on my toes and thinking right through to the end.  I do recommend this as a book to get in hard copy due to the pictures and various graphics.  It was okay to read on my tablet but I look forward to getting a solid copy to read in the future.

This eGalley was provided free from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion and I was compensated in no other manner.

Review: The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

CharThe Library at Mount Char
by Scott Hawkins

Goodreads Synopsis:

Carolyn’s not so different from the other human beings around her. She’s sure of it. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. She even remembers what clothes are for.

After all, she was a normal American herself, once.

That was a long time ago, of course—before the time she calls “adoption day,” when she and a dozen other children found themselves being raised by a man they learned to call Father.

Father could do strange things. He could call light from darkness. Sometimes he raised the dead. And when he was disobeyed, the consequences were terrible.

In the years since Father took her in, Carolyn hasn’t gotten out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father’s ancient Pelapi customs. They’ve studied the books in his library and learned some of the secrets behind his equally ancient power.

Sometimes, they’ve wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.

Now, Father is missing. And if God truly is dead, the only thing that matters is who will inherit his library—and with it, power over all of creation.

As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her.

But Carolyn can win. She’s sure of it. What she doesn’t realize is that her victory may come at an unacceptable price—because in becoming a God, she’s forgotten a great deal about being human.

My Review:

4 of 5 Stars

Confused and shocked is how I felt for a vast majority of this novel.  It’s a bit surprising for me to say at the same time that I enjoyed that.  For a while I honestly wasn’t quite sure what was going on.  This isn’t one of those books that takes its time trying to explain things to you.  The author is abruptly throwing you into the many layers of the plot and it’s up to you to sink or swim.

I vaguely knew what might happen with Carolyn though not how or why.  I had guessed some basic elements not very far into my reading.  The journey though was something else entirely.  I’d expect one thing or think I knew what was happening only to find myself in another jaw dropping scene.

Close to the end there were a few scenes that had me in tears.  All of the confusing pieces started to come together.  What I loved most about this is that the characters in the book were experiencing some of the very same things.  Carolyn, Steve, Erwin were all growing and understanding more which was amazing to see.  Steve ended up being my favorite by far.

I was first pulled into the book by the idea of a library.  After reading the description I was a little worried because it was .. odd.  I was right about that.  This has to be one of the weirdest, oddest, out there books I’ve probably ever read.  I don’t think this book is for everyone.  You really need to be prepared for the very strange trip that you’ll go through while reading it.  For me though, I know I’ll never be able to look at librarians the same way again.

This novel was provided free from the publisher through Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion and I was compensated in no other manner.

Majorly MIA – Life Goblins and More

I’ve not been able to post any reviews (or anything really) in quite a while now.  Life became incredibly busy and then confusing.  I’ve gone through two different moves in the last two months and am now preparing for an even larger move half way across the country in November.  Until then I only have spotty (at best) access to wifi or even charging my tablet where most of my books to review are located.  I’ll still be reading my actual books and posting reviews as I’m able.   Yet again, reading and books are saving some of my sanity.  I’m looking forward to getting back for real, hopefully in mid to late November!

Also, if you’ve requested a review in the last few months I will do my best to get to these as quickly as possible.  There will be major delays however as none of what’s happened was expected – such is the way of life goblins of doom.

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Cover Reveal : Sugar Skulls

Mantchev-SugarSkulls-20230-CV-FT-PSeditSugar Skull by Glenn Dallas & Lisa Mantchev
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: November 10th 2015
Genres: Dystopia, New Adult, Science Fiction

Synopsis:
Welcome to Cyrene, a city where energy is currency and music is the lifeblood of its young citizens. Everyone lives on the grid, and the residents of the world’s largest playground are encouraged to pursue every physical and emotional pleasure imaginable.

Vee is the lead singer of the Sugar Skulls, an all-girl band that is Corporate’s newest pet project. Micah haunts the city like a ghost after an overdose of a deadly illegal street drug knocks him off the grid. When Micah and Vee forge an immediate, undeniable connection, their troubled worlds collide.

Trading concert stages for Cyrene’s rooftops and back alleys, they have to evade vicious thugs and Vee’s possessive manager as they unravel the mysteries connected to their dark pasts. And before the curtain falls, Micah and Vee will bring the city to its knees in their desperate bid for love, home, and a future together.

GoodreadsPurchase

Excerpt:

If strings ran up my spine, she just plucked the high E, a fierce vibration that shakes me to my core.
She looks away, and quakes subside into mere tremors. Propping myself up against the bar, I abandon my drink to process the last few seconds.
All these months, there’s been nothing. But just now? I felt it. I feel it. I pulse with life, lightning dancing across my skin as she batters the crowd with furious verses.
But I’m stuck on that first gasp.
One note. One word. She laid me low and resurrected me in one fell swoop.
Who is this girl?

AUTHOR BIOS

GlennWhen not working on puzzles for Penny Press or writing about them for PuzzleNation, Glenn Dallas is an author of short stories and at least half of one novel. After appearing in the acknowledgments of several outstanding novels, he looks forward to returning the favor in the future.

LisaLisa Mantchev is the acclaimed author of Ticker and the Théâtre Illuminata series, which includes Eyes Like Stars, nominated for a Mythopoeic Award and the Andre Norton Award. She has also published numerous short stories in magazines, including Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, Weird Tales, and Fantasy. She lives on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State with her husband, children, and horde of furry animals. Visit her online at http://www.lisamantchev.com.

Author links (Lisa):
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Author links (Glenn)
Website | Twitter

Review : When Mockingbird Sings by Billy Coffey

_240_360_Book.1592.coverWhen Mockingbird Sings

by Billy Coffey

BookLook Bloggers Synopsis:

What marks the boundary between a miracle from God and the imagination of a child?

Leah is a child from Away, isolated from her peers because of her stutter. But then she begins painting scenes that are epic in scope, brilliant in detail, and suffused with rich, prophetic imagery. When the event foreshadowed in the first painting dramatically comes true, the town of Mattingly takes notice.

Leah attributes her ability to foretell the future to an invisible friend she calls the Rainbow Man. Some of the townsfolk are enchanted with her. Others fear her. But there is one thing they all agree on-there is no such thing as the Rainbow Man.

Her father, the town psychologist, is falling apart over his inability to heal his daughter . . . or fix his marriage. And the town minister is unraveled by the notion that a mere child with no formal training may be hearing from God more clearly than he does.

While the town bickers over what to do with this strange child, the content of Leah’s paintings grows darker. Still, Leah insists that the Rainbow Man’s heart is pure. But then a dramatic and tragic turn of events leaves the town reeling and places everyone’s lives in danger. Now the people of Mattingly face a single choice:

Will they cling to what they know . . . or embrace the things Leah believes in that cannot be seen?

My Review:

3.5 of 5 Stars

I have to admit I have a lot of mixed emotions with this novel.  I both really like it and find various parts fairly.. annoying or unsettling.   I’m always a bit hesitant to read christian based fiction because of the way it can often play out with those of faith being almost irritatingly ‘good’ while those without are often cast as stubborn, close minded or worse.  This story didn’t fall into that completely which I really appreciated.  But there were some parts I just truly did not understand.

I am still confused by the fact that Leah was kept at a distance from any of her peers because of her stutter.  I understand it to the point that she needed different kinds of attention than most children.  However, non socialization can’t be a positive thing for any kid – at least that’s my theory and I could very well be completely wrong on that.

What is with the complete dislike of people from ‘Away’?  I’m by no means saying this never happens but I’ve lived in and around small towns before. Yet, I’ve never experienced or seen this level of distrust and hostility toward ‘city folk’.  In fact I’ve often seen the reverse in that the small town people are incredibly generous and kind.   Perhaps this has more to do with the fact the new family isn’t religious rather than from a different environment which I can see as realistic, especially in the ‘bible belt’. (Which also annoys me.)

Every single character including the reverend have major flaws and personal issues.  In a way the events that unfold do so in a way that forces every single person in the community to do some introspection.

I do think that my mixed emotions come more from the uncomfortable feeling the story left me with.  This wasn’t action by any stretch and I’m not even sure it fits ‘mystery’.  The characters and plot all require some thought and deliberation.  Things that seem one way may not always necessarily be that way.  For myself I’m finding this isn’t a book I can read and just put down, it’s left me stuck in thought and pondering.  Because of this (and the included guide in the back of my copy) I can imagine this would make an incredible read for a book group, especially one more spiritual or christian in nature.  The discussions could go on for hours and be quite enjoyable.  That being said if you have strong thoughts or feelings against religion, this probably isn’t the book for you.  If you are able to have an open mind I’d recommend giving it a try just for the questions and topics it brings to light.

This novel was provided free from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion and I was compensated in no other manner.

Ella, The Slayer Book Tour & Giveaway

Ella_Banner

Welcome to my tour stop for Ella, the Slayer by A.W. Exley. Ella, the Slayer is an Edwardian retelling of Cinderella with an undead problem. It is an upper young adult novel.

The tour runs August 10-21 with reviews only. Check out the tour page for more information.


ELLA ebook
About the Book:

The flu pandemic of 1918 took millions of souls within a few short weeks. Except it wasn’t flu and death gave them back.
Seventeen-year-old Ella copes the best she can; caring for her war-injured father, scrubbing the floors, and slaying the undead that attack the locals. ‘Vermin’ they’re called, like rats they spread pestilence with their bite. Ella’s world collides with another when she nearly decapitates a handsome stranger, who is very much alive.
Seth deMage, the new Duke of Leithfield, has returned to his ancestral home with a mission from the War Office — to control the plague of vermin in rural Somerset. He needs help; he just didn’t expect to find it in a katana- wielding scullery maid. Working alongside Seth blurs the line between their positions, and Ella glimpses a future she never dreamed was possible. But in overstepping society’s boundaries, Ella could lose everything – home, head and her heart…

My Review:

4 of 5 Stars

I’m not usually interested in historical romance but when I saw that this just might be different my curiosity was instantly peaked.

The Glorious

  • A strong badass female character that wields a katana and slays zombies.  I love Ella’s personality and how she’s strong because of the circumstances she’s forced into.
  • I’m not normally interested in romance  but I loved this.  I loved how it didn’t feel completely cliche even if it was sort of insta love ( or was it lust?)
  • The ‘bad’ guys in this book are wonderful to hate.  I appreciate villains whose layers are revealed and we get to know why they are bad.  But sometimes I just want a personality I can gloriously rage at.  I can’t even begin to count the times I wanted to smack Ella’s step mother and sisters right upside their heads.
  • Right before the ending when everything kind of comes to somewhat of a climax – loved the scenes here.
  • The decapitation of zombies, I admit I found it pretty awesome.  It wasn’t super graphic but it was just enough to make it interesting.

The Not so Glorious

  • I loved everything and then the ending and I was just left with … huh?  It wasn’t bad really but it didn’t feel like it fit in with the rest of the story.  It wrapped up nicely while giving plenty of room for another book to continue it.  For a few reasons though, the ending just kind of fell flat for me.

When I think about it this really felt like a Walking Dead meets Cinderella set in the early 1900’s – something I’d never have thought would work together.  The fact that it included such a strong protagonist made the entire read intense.  If, like me, you have a thing for Michonne from The Walking Dead just picture her character set in 1919.  This is a great addition to the zombie genre and I recommend it to any fan of of romance as well.


AWE-200x300About the Author:

Books and writing have always been an enormous part of A.W. Exley’s life. She survived school by hiding out in the library, with several thousand fictional characters for company. At university, she overcame the boredom of studying accountancy by squeezing in Egyptology papers and learning to read hieroglyphics.

Today, Anita writes steampunk novels with a sexy edge and an Egyptian twist. She lives in rural New Zealand surrounded by an assortment of weird and wonderful equines, felines, canine and homicidal chickens.

@AWExley | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest

GIVEAWAY:

$50 Amazon Gift Card

Signed paperback of Ella, the Slayer by A.W. Exley

Open Worldwide

Ends August 26th

Prizing is provided by the author, hosts are in no way responsible.

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This eGalley was provided free from the author through CBB Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion and I was compensated in no other manner.

Review: The Witches of Blackbrook by Tish Thawer

WitchesThe Witches of Blackbrook

by Tish Thawer

Goodreads Synopsis:

Through space and time, sisters entwined. Lost then found, souls remain bound.
Three sisters escape the Salem witch trials when the eldest casts a spell that hurtles their souls forward through time. After centuries separated, fate has finally reunited them in the present day.
One the healer, one the teacher, and one the deceiver.
Will their reunion return their full powers, or end their souls journey forever?

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

My Review:

3.5 of 5 Stars

Starting in the very first few pages while getting to know the characters Trin and Kit I was instantly reminded of the television show Charmed.  Because of this I instantly began picturing Trin as one of the sisters from the show.

After not long I realized the comparison didn’t fit as well as I’d thought at first but the picture had been set in my mind.  Since I absolutely adore the show I really enjoyed this mental imagery.  I was able to get a ‘visual’ sense of some of the magic which made my reading experience even better!

The story seems very character driven to me and a lot of the twists of the story were very predictable.  A few times this got a bit tiring and I wanted to just get on with it already.  I did enjoy finding out we got to the various different parts of the story.  Plus there was one surprise that I didn’t see coming which I was happy about.

I enjoyed the magical side of the story and would have loved to have had more of that.  I wanted further explanation of the powers that each of the sisters had.  I could have done without the over the top romance which felt almost syrupy sweet to me.   It’s not that I didn’t like it at all but there were times it went over into the extreme and pushed me away from the story a little.

Overall it was a great read which held my attention through the suspense.  I knew where it would most likely end up but enjoyed finding out how it did so.  For me, this was a book completely focused on the journey rather than a race to find out the conclusion.  Fans of romance and magic or interesting spin offs to historical events like the Salem Witch Trials should give this a try.

This eGalley was provided free from the author through Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion and I was compensated in no other manner.

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