Tag: Magic/Supernatural (page 1 of 29)

BOOK REVIEW: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

BOOK REVIEW: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret RogersonSorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of An Enchantment of Ravens comes an imaginative fantasy about an apprentice at a magical library who must battle a powerful sorcerer to save her kingdom.

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

**ARC provided by Publisher-I have SO MANY QUOTES I WANT TO SHARE-but I love getting ARCs more. SO hopefully I’ll have the time to come back and add quotes in the future when it releases! 😊 **

You have no idea-no idea-what it means to me to have received this ARC. An Enchantment of Ravens was my favorite book of 2017 after Rook stole my heart completely and Isobel fought her way through my crusty exterior, as well. It would belittle my love for this author to say her writing and stories are anything less than extraordinary as she has proved not once, but twice, that she is an amazingly fierce story-teller. No, it wasn’t just a fluke, her first book-It’s clear she has much to say and will continue to do so with her hauntingly beautiful YA fantasies.

I’ll admit that the first bit of this book scared me a little because it didn’t start out in a way that appealed to me as quickly as her first work did…but those apprehensive thoughts were quickly shattered when the first grimoire burst onto the scene and put our MC into an absolutely irredeemable situation. And perhaps the most charming thing about this book is the vulnerability and innocence of our main character-bound by duty, but without the slightest clue as to what she was up against-and the unbending will she has to remain loyal, even as everything is spiraling into madness around her.

She knows what she saw, but what she doesn’t know is who to trust. She has a deadly secret, one that may get her killed, or worse, forgotten-sent to an insane asylum where no one ever remembers the inhabitants that reside there. But there is someone who seems to at least care about her well-being a teensy bit, for the most part, and that’s the sorcerer (sorcerers-with which she grew up being told not to trust) who she met when he visited the library before an unlikely chain of events made her the most wanted girl by the most powerful man.

And this is where I just…fell in love. Yes, the danger-of course-but the bond between Silas and Nathaniel, and then with Nathaniel and Elisabeth. And, even, Silas with Elisabeth. I think, in some part, Silas is what makes this book possible. You’ll see what I mean if you read, naturally, but it shows from the beginning just how powerful his bond is with Nathaniel, what he’d do to make him happy, how he helps unflinchingly when most other demon servants don’t care one way or another what happens to their masters. And I understand that this sounds like dribble if you haven’t read the book, but just know that Nathaniel trusts Silas while no one else trusts the demons in their household…because Silas cared for him when there was no one else.

It might come as shocking, as well, that Nathaniel is actually a supremely tortured hero-during the day he’s witty, funny, snarky, protective, and he keeps Eliasabeth at arm’s length, though we have no clue why. Being naïve, she REALLY has no idea-we as readers know he’s just trying to protect her. But, besides the imminent danger she’s in, from what is he protecting her from? And this is a layer in the story that truly seized my soul, because we all know I love a hero who hides scars beneath, who has a story we don’t know or understand that makes them feel inadequate or dangerous. I love these story-lines, and adding Silas’s snark on the matter only adds more heart to the story.

And, naturally, this is a wonderfully addictive slow-burn romance, though it never once took the spotlight in the story. The author warned that, while AEOR was a Fairy-Tale Fantasy, this would only be a YA fantasy, with a-wait for it-smidgen of romance.

Yes…just. Yes. And, even with all of that warning, I still felt like the romance soared onto the pages like a raging inferno…and straight into my heart. That’s TWICE this author has written a romance that knocked me on my feels out of nowhere, and, it’s a gift, really, a talent. I love romance, I really do, but I truly only fall for the fantasies that have a spattering of it in the story, hidden behind a compelling plot and dangerous, high-stakes moments. Which, obviously, that was the case here, so I need not look any further.

And, even more than that…this book made me sob, at the end. I really don’t cry often in books, even though I always seem like an emotional mess, it’s truly not the case. I rarely cry. But, for some reason (just GUESS, UGH, Shoot me in my HEART already), the end hit me harder than I thought possible. The friendship between these three, the loyalty, the unrequited love (so they think) between Nathaniel and Elisabeth, the vulnerability, the humor, and the sense of a girl (and, really, a boy) never quite being able to find a home or a place they feel like they belong, misfits of a sort, until they found each other-it all just built up into a crashing crescendo of feels and the end finally knocked me out. I was depleted. I was hopeful. My soul was pieced together then ripped apart violently…and then there was hope. Again.

I can’t even begin to explain all the feelings I experienced while reading this coveted ARC, but I can try. And I hope that this review shed a positive light on how wonderful this book made me feel after becoming depleted and depressed after a totally random appendix ER situation (which, in turn, is why this review is JUST NOW being written) where I wasn’t able to do anything I normally do, rendering me lazy, without exercise, and somewhat helpless and at other’s will…so, yes. This book was a saving grace, and I will abso-lutely be pre-ordering the hardback so it can sit next to my other favorite, featuring a stubborn fae and another fierce and inspiring heroine. I just cannot wait until I can read it again. I hope you’ll read it, too.

*************************

My God did this book make me bawl like a baby-I was an utter mess. That hasn’t happened in FOREVER!

RTC.

***

MY LIFE IS MADE. I will be starting this, oh, immediately!!!! Who needs an appendix when you get early Christmas presents like these! *heart eyes emoji*

View all my reviews

BLOG TOUR + BOOK REVIEW: Gathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms #3) by Morgan Rhodes

BLOG TOUR + BOOK REVIEW: Gathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms #3) by Morgan Rhodes

In preparation for the impending final release of the Falling Kingdoms series *eek*, we are singing our praises for the third installment, Gathering Darkness! I must admit that this is the book that really made this wonderful series unforgettable to me. Magnus and Cleo start to turn a corner and *stuff* really begins to hit the fan! We are so honored to be involved in this tour and cannot WAIT for more people to fall in love with this addicting and unputdownable series. We are hoping for nothing but the best....but waiting this last month might just be the end of us as we await everyone's fate! Below is a 5 star review and all you need to know about anyone and anything from these stories (though, who needs to learn about anything other than Magnus? Hmmm...I may be biased). Enjoy!

BLOG TOUR + BOOK REVIEW: Gathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms #3) by Morgan RhodesGathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms #3)
by Morgan Rhodes
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

In GATHERING DARKNESS, book three of the New York Times bestselling Falling Kingdoms series, the stakes have never been higher as three teams push forward on a race to find the Kindred, the four elemental crystals possessing ancient all-powerful magic, first:

Prince Magnus has just witnessed torture, death, and miracles during the bloody confrontation that decimated the rebel forces. Now he must choose between family and justice as his father, the cruel King Gaius, sets out to conquer all of Mytica. All Gaius needs now are the Kindred - the four elemental crystals that give godlike powers to their owner. But the King of Blood is not the only one hunting for this ancient, storied magic...

• THE KRAESHIANS join the hunt. Ashur and Amara, the royal siblings from the wealthy kingdom across the Silver Sea, charm and manipulate their way to the Kindred, proving to be more ruthless than perhaps even the King of Blood himself.

• THE REBELS forge ahead. Princess Cleo and vengeful Jonas lead them, slaying with sweetness, skill, and a secret that can control Lucia's overpowering magic - all so they can use the Kindred to win back their fallen kingdoms.

• THE WATCHERS follow Melenia out of the Sanctuary. They ally in the flesh with King Gaius, who vows to use Lucia's powers to unveil the Kindred.

The only certainty in the dark times is that whoever finds the magic first will control the fate of Mytica... but fate can be fickle when magic is involved.

 

Cleo’s cheeks flamed. “I hate you.”

“Good. You should never forget your place in this palace. You continue to live only because my father doesn’t yet want you dead. You have no power here. And, most especially, you have no power over me.”

It’s always extremely hard to talk about each book in a long series in a review, because you begin to spoil and become repetitive….but for Magnus?? I’d try just about anything. This series, while easily dismissed by those who aren’t truly enraptured by one of the characters, has a way of really getting under your skin. It’s not so much the scenarios, though those are of some note as well, but about the characters and the deep-rooted connections you make with them.


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In all honesty, had I not connected immediately with Magnus, this series would have been discarded like many before. I am very busy, and I really only get to read around when I go to bed-about 10 PM, and then it’s right back to the 8-5 grind and I have to wait all over again. So, when I begin a book, series, whatever, I make sure it’s worth my time and that it touches my heart, one way or another. Some books touch me because of just their content (this is probably tribute to a couple years ago, more so than now) and some reach me on a far deeper level than I could possibly imagine….and that is because of the characters.

Magnus glanced at Cleo. She held her arms across the bodice of her rose-colored gown, which was far fancier than anything typically worn on a walk through a thick forest on a hot day. She regarded him with a silent, sour expression-not a new look for her by any means.
“And why are you here?” he asked her.
“I want to help,” she replied.
“Oh, yes. So helpful.”

I never realized, until recently, how much my favorite books really center on the characters and their development. It’s far more important to me now to have character-driven stories rather than all action and no character arcs. Sure, my absolute favorites are those that perfectly balance both story and people, but, lately, more often than not it’s all about if the characters reach me and touch my soul.

Some sought revenge against their mortal enemies with the edge of a sword. Her plan for vengeance began with the edge of a smile.


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And I’m not saying that action doesn’t pull me in….but it’s definitely not my only drive anymore….and you can tell solely on my reviews that my preferences have changed. So, my point? This series, while action heavy and full of blood, destruction, mayhem, and peril, didn’t grip me for that reason. No, this series gripped me on a far more addicting level, and that honor solely belongs to my dear Magnus….and even Cleo.


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As the series has progressed, these two characters have obviously grown, interacted, and became the obsession of many a fangirl-me included-and now, here in book three, we are really getting deeper into their minds, and with that, my obsession is reaching an all-time high. And, frankly, the stories have became far more interesting.

“I think that you hate your father. You hate him almost as much as I do.”
It took him a moment to realize he’d stopped breathing. “And what difference would it make if you’re right?” he finally managed.
“All the difference in the world.”

And, let’s face it, our ship is finally sailing…or is it??? The other best part about this series? I, for once, literally have no clue what’s going to happen and the sexual tension is DRIVING. ME. CRAZY. The twists and turns and admissions and deaths and ridiculous decisions…I swear, even halfway through book four, my head is still spinning. Stop it, Morgan Rhodes! Just…..STOP IT. Make it happen. Fetch TOTALLY needs to happen…PLEASE??


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UGH.

So yeah, this isn’t a great review, but it’s not like anyone can read it if they haven’t read the series if I go all spoilery, so I chose to just…blabber. I miss blabbering. Blabbering about boys and books really does make me happy. So. Yeah. Take what you will from this nonsense…I’m off to work…and then tonight I’m hoping to FINALLY get what I want. I’m totally trusting Brittney, here. She threw me a trust bone, damn it. So I guess I’m supposed to sit here and wait and…trust. You know, until this alleged bone gets here. Ugh.


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Cleo’s cheeks flamed. “I hate you.”
“Good. You should never forget your place in this palace. You continue to live only because my father doesn’t yet want you dead. You have no power here. And, most especially, you have no power over me.”

MY HEART.


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About the Author:

Morgan Rhodes is the New York Times bestselling author of the Falling Kingdoms series and the Falling Kingdoms spin-off series, the Books of Spirits and Thieves. Under another pen name, she’s an award winning author of more than two dozen novels. Morgan lives in Southern Ontario, where she’s currently hard at work on the next Falling Kingdoms book.

 

 

Follow the tour here!

WEEK ONE (Book One: Falling Kingdoms and Two Book: Rebel Spring)
January 9 – The Book Nut
January 10 – Quirky and Peculiar
January 11I Fangirl About Books
January 12Lovely Loveday
 
WEEK TWO (Book 3: Gathering Darkness)
January 15Glimpses of my Books
January 16Book Briefs
January 17In Wonderland
January 18Star-Crossed Book Blog
WEEK THREE (Book 4: Frozen Tides)
January 22Ex Libris
January 23Ensconced in Lit
January 24Step Into a Book World
January 25 – Ria Reads –
WEEK FOUR (Crystal Storm)
January 29My Friends are Fiction
February 1A Page with a View
February 2Never Too Many To Read
 
 
Many thanks to Penguin Young Readers for including us! <3

BOOK REVIEW: Everless by Sara Holland

BOOK REVIEW: Everless by Sara HollandEverless by Sara Holland
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

In the land of Sempera, time is extracted from blood and used as payment. Jules Ember and her father were once servants at Everless, the wealthy Gerling family’s estate, but were cast out after of a fateful accident a decade ago. Now, Jules’s father is reaching his last hour, and she will do anything to save him. Desperate to earn time, she arrives at the palace as it prepares for a royal wedding, ready to begin her search into childhood secrets that she once believed to be no more than myths. As she uncovers lost truths, Jules spirals deeper into a past she hardly recognizes, and faces an ancient and dangerous foe who threatens her future and the future of time itself.

Oh, I loved this. Full of mystery, intrigue, and… well, more mystery.

The plot was super fun and unique, and for the life of me, I couldn’t predict a thing. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a page-turner here. I’m pretty sure I read the whole thing in almost 24 hours – I seriously couldn’t set it down after the 20% mark.

Really quick – a big thank you to the publisher for providing me with an arc!

In a world where time is bound to blood, and people exchange blood/time currency to live, we follow Jules, the protagonist, as she makes the difficult decision to return to work at Everless, an estate owned by one of the most powerful families in the kingdom (and dangerous, I might add.) Jules and her father previously worked there, but due to a nasty accident and threats from one of the Everless sons, Jules father was determined to keep her from ever going back.

But now she needs the money.

Sooooo Jules returns and works as a servant, though she is quickly noticed by the two sons she knew as a child. All the while, she discovers some big secrets about her past and why she was really kept away from the Everless estate. Craziness ensues when the Queen arrives. Jules’s father shows up and begs her to run away and stay far away from the Queen. BUT WHY?! So basically, we have a very confused Jules who keeps finding tidbits about her past and how its woven through a mysterious history linking back to when time was originally bound to blood iron. Which probably makes no sense without reading. Just roll with it.

Anyway, I can’t say anything else without giving up some major secrets, but I recommend going in blind. There are so many twists and turns, and wowzah, a major plot twist. I did NOT see it coming, and I always see them coming. I’m not even sure if I’m particularly happy with the direction, but I don’t care because the concept was SO COOL. My only complaint is the magic system, while it was SO AMAZING, also felt a bit muddy at times, and the book was a *touch* slow in the beginning. Whatever, I don’t even care because I loved it overall.

Basically, all the stars for the crazy cool, totally original tale. One of the most unique magic system’s I’ve ever seen. And if you’re wondering about romance? Literally, anything I say will be a spoiler, but it was fairly minimal – but a really interesting set up for the sequel. I typically have to have a *smidge* of feels or someone to root for romantically, and you’ll definitely feel that way here, so don’t worry. And if you’re someone who prefers romance to be minimal and not take over the plot, well… check. You’ll be pleased as well.

Needless to say, I’m ready for book two…

 

BOOK REVIEW: Renegades by Marissa Meyer

BOOK REVIEW: Renegades by Marissa MeyerRenegades (Renegades #1)
by Marissa Meyer
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

This was SO fun! I went into it not knowing anything about the story itself, and I was so pleasantly surprised. Think of it as a superhero mashup told from opposing side POVs in a totally unique way. I was worried that with the overcrowded superhero media these days, the constant similar retellings and such, that this one wouldn’t stand on its own.

It totally did. Super fun and unique, while still throwing nods at other stories.

Before I say anything else, a big thank you to the publishers for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Basically, this is a world where prodigies (people with special abilities) used to be oppressed, but a man named Ace Anarchy rose up and fought for their freedom & acceptance. Except, the age of Ace turned into a villainous era, where villain gangs broke out and terrorized the citizens. So in turn, “good” heroes rose up to fight them, called the ‘Renegades’. They overthrew the Anarchists and took control.

So you here you have it – the Anarchists (those who survived living underground) and the Renegades.

“One cannot be brave who has no fear.”

I don’t want to spoil much, but we open up into what DOES look like a typical superhero origin story. We witness Nova’s family and how they meet their end, in which young Nova, who idolized the Renegades, realizes they never came to help her family after promising to protect them. But guess who did? Uncle Ace.

Now, Nova lives with the Anarchists underground. Her alias is the ‘Nightmare’, and she’s able to put people to sleep with a single touch. While carrying out a plan to take out the Council (the original leaders of the Renegades), Nova is stopped by a boy who calls himself the ‘Sentinel’. After a heated battle between the two, Nova barely escapes, wondering who the heck he is, because she’s never seen him or heard of him from the Renegades.

A lone hero? Perhaps.

Enter Adrian (aka smol).

Adrian is the son of an original Renegade – his mother, who was murdered when he was young. Now, he lives with his adopted dads – the two heads of the Council (aka the most worshipped Renegades). They adopted him (and here I cry because it’s so sweet) and he grew up within the Renegade headquarters. He’s brilliant and has a super cool ability which I won’t spoil. But he also has a secret that no one in the Renegades knows about.

He’s the Sentinal.

And when he fought the ‘Nightmare’ (he has no idea who she is underneath her mask), she utters a phrase that tells him she might know who his mother’s murderer is. So Adrian sets out to find her, while Nova sets plots in place to take out the Renegades for good. I’m going to stop there and leave the rest of the book as a surprise. Trust me, just dive in!

As I mentioned before, this is like a mashup of all your favorite superhero movies, but at the same time, the story is totally unique and so are the characters. I didn’t feel like I was reading another origin story or watching a movie I’ve seen a thousand times. This was SO fun, twisty, and fast paced. And visual. Meyer is so insanely creative – we saw that in her Lunar Chronicles series that I loved – and I would argue that this might even be stronger (though no one can replace Thorne.) All the prodigies have crazy cool powers – ones that I would have NEVER thought of. The whole plot is brilliant.

My only complaint is that we don’t get resolution for the one thing I craved, though it will certainly be in the sequel(s). I neeeeeded to see how that played out. Oh well, whatever. I’m hooked, Marissa. You got me.

BOOK REVIEW: The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

BOOK REVIEW: The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca RossThe Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

Oooh man. This has some of the loveliest, most visual writing I’ve ever laid eyes upon. Like… every sentence…. every paragraph… was crafted so perfectly. I feel so inspired.

I feel like 90% of the time I come across pretty writing though, the plot is a bit lost. The good news? That isn’t the case here. Rebecca Ross managed to create an utterly enchanting world and a rich, unique storyline that had me turning pages nonstop.

Brienna is a lovely, relatable MC who is taken to Magnolia House (think of it as a small, specialized boarding school) to grow up and study ‘passions’. Normally, you have to have a certain skillset to attend such a place, but Brienna’s grandfather manages to convince the headmaster to accept her, after sharing her father’s true identity (except Brienna is kept in the dark on this matter.)Anyway, passions fall into five categories: art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge. Except Brienna can’t seem to master any of them. She knows she wasn’t admitted because of her skill, and that it had something to do with her heritage.

Anyway, she forms a bit of a… bond with one of the professors, but when the time comes for the students to leave with a patron, Brienna isn’t chosen. Feeling rejected, the headmaster offers her a deal with a mysterious lord. Meanwhile, she sees memories of someone she believes to be her ancestor but is afraid to confide in anyone.

I can’t say much more, but things get interesting as we learn of Brienna’s real heritage and how it ties in with the dilapidated kingdom in the north. She winds up in a plot to retake her homeland and thus mystery, intrigue, magic, and romance ensues! (I will say this. Romance isn’t the focus, but I was definitely sitting there most of the book thinking… JUST KISS DAMMIT. But don’t go into this just for the romance – it is definitely a slow burn subplot.)

Anyway, this was SO close to a five-star read. The only thing holding me back was I felt like things were resolved so easily in the last 30%. Like there wasn’t quiiiite enough conflict and everything kinda falls into place? And while I loved every minute with Brienna, I felt like the pacing in the middle lagged just a *touch*.

But nonetheless, I still REALLY enjoyed it and I highly recommend the read. Right now, it feels like a standalone, but my gosh I would love for another book in this world. I really can’t brag enough about how fun of a read it was, and how immersed I was in the world.

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