Month: February 2018

Why I Love Kindle Unlimited

Why I Love Kindle Unlimited

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Since the topic of the day (and this month) is LOVE, let’s talk about something that has captured my affections. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it. Or maybe, you haven’t… Either way, it’s the topic of today’s Top 5 Wednesday, […]

Book Review: The Fire Queen by Emily R. King

Book Review: The Fire Queen by Emily R. King

Though the tyrant rajah she was forced to marry is dead, Kalinda’s troubles are far from over. A warlord has invaded the imperial city, and now she’s in exile. But she isn’t alone. Kalinda has the allegiance of Captain Deven Naik, her guard and beloved, […]

I Messed Up Book Tag

I Messed Up Book Tag

Happy Monday, Everyone!

I hope this Monday finds you all recharged and ready to take on the week. I was tagged by Darque Dreamer Reads for the “I Messed Up Book Tag.” Be sure to check out her lovely blog! If you like faerie tales, she’s you’re gal to follow!  

The tag is comprised of seven questions and goes as follows:

A character appearance that you misread or imagined differently.

Honestly, I can’t think of a character at the moment that I imagined differently. I do find this happening a lot when books that are made into movies (i.e. Pieta from The Hunger Games). However, that’s one person’s idea of how the character should be

A character name that you have been pronouncing wrong.

Ha, Feyre from The Court of Thorns and Roses series. I’m still not sure if I have it right. I pronounce it like “fairy,” but I’ve seen other people saying it differently. So, who really knows?

An overused trope that is your guilty pleasure.

I’d say “the plain Jane who gets her man” is probably my guilty pleasure. I’ve yet to get sick of these types of characters, as they are normally quality-driven and have more to them then characters who are known mainly by their looks.

A cliche character type that you like better on screen than reading about.

I’d have to say the mysterious cute boy. I think it works better on screen because movies allow characters to be more shallow and require little-to-no time for character building. While I still don’t necessarily like this type of character, it’s more tolerable here. 

For books, these characters often don’t work for me because there isn’t enough to them. They are too one-dimensional, distinguished by that one fact that makes their character obscure. 

Have you ever not read or completed a required-reading book for school?

This happened one time. It still haunts me to this day. I remember at the end of Summer break, in high school, I decided to switch to an AP Literature course. Over the Summer, these students were supposed to read Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. And I tried, I really did to get through that book. But, that short time frame wasn’t enough for me to trudge through this long, and dark (a.k.a. non-Summer) read.

Have you ever skipped (or wanted to) a chapter from the point of view of a character you weren’t interested in?

Oh yes, I’ve never retained the gall to do so though.

Have you ever canceled social plans to read a book?

Social…what? What are those? Kidding. From what I can remember, I haven’t canceled plans. However, I wasn’t necessarily sad if things didn’t always work out because then I had extra time to read or do other things.

If you are interested in doing the tag, go for it! Let me know in the comments below so I can check out your answers 🙂

eARC Review: Keeper by Kim Chance

eARC Review: Keeper by Kim Chance

When a 200-year-old witch attacks her, sixteen-year-old bookworm Lainey Styles is determined to find a logical explanation. Even with the impossible staring her in the face, Lainey refuses to believe it—until she finds a photograph linking the witch to her dead mother. Partial synopsis provided […]

The Sunshine Blogger Award

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Thank you, Jordan from The Heart of a Blogger for nominating me for The Sunshine Blogger Award! I think this is the perfect time for this award amidst the wintry, snowy, and dreary days. It’s snowing and overcast here in Michigan today, and I’m dreaming […]

Of Light and Darkness Re-Launch & Of Blood and Magic Cover Reveal!

Of Light and Darkness Re-Launch & Of Blood and Magic Cover Reveal!

Of Light and Darkness: [RE-LAUNCH]

Publisher: Parliament House Press

A stunning debut that is a fiercely imaginative, multilayered dark fantasy for fans of The Bear and the Nightingale. 

Filled with Slavic folklore, Of Light and Darkness is the first part of an epic series not to be missed!

Raised among a secret society of Witches, Shifters, and Elves, human-born Charlotte Ruzikova finds that she is the freak in her world of magic and monsters. When she stands before an army of impossible obstacles, the likelihood of survival in this coming-of-age modern fairy tale is slim. After Charlotte captures the attention of the young Elven prince, her scorn results in an all-out war between light and darkness.

Charlotte knows no other home than the one nestled deep in the woods of the Czech Republic, where Witches draw spells of enchantment, Shifters throw tea parties, and Elves are the closest in kin. But as genocide and war threatens life as she knows it, Charlotte will fight for what she believes in… truth, bravery, and most importantly…love. Fighting with a coven of rogue monsters is tougher than is seems, but she will stop at nothing to save them…and she’ll do it before the sun comes up and light takes over forever.

Of Blood and Magic: [COVER REVEAL]

Prepare for another epic quest amidst the monsters that hide in plain sight in this highly-anticipated sequel in the Of Light and Darkness series.

Months after their brutal victory over the villainous Aiden and his hierarchy of Vampire-hunting Wizards, Charlotte and Valek have returned from Prague to their home in the Bohemian Occult City. This time, however, they are accompanied by their new band of magical misfits. By daylight, all seems peaceful since they’ve toppled the Regime, and the coven of rogue yet lovable monsters has finally found freedom.

But Charlotte soon discovers that, much like her adopted Vampire family, she has developed a strange addiction of her own, and it’s steadily destroying her from the inside out. Valek defies all odds, trying to save his love, but to no avail. With danger lurking around every corner, the couple begins to realize that their happily-ever-after might not end so happily after all.

Will they conquer Charlotte’s strange new disease…or will she drown in her own blood?

With over a decade of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries, Shayne Leighton is a creative professional with edge and quirkiness. Her debut novel, Of Light and Darkness hit Amazon’s coveted Top 100 overall bestsellers list once during the fall of 2015, and again in the summer of 2016, reaching the #4 spot. Having a background in film science, Shayne has produced book trailers and marketing materials for New York Times bestselling authors and major publishers such as Cynthia Leitich Smith (Tantalize, Candlewick Press), Alex Flinn (Towering, Harper Teen), and Kimberley Griffiths Little (When The Butterflies Came, Scholastic Press). She strives to be the Guillermo del Toro of the publishing industry. Shayne is a Libra and a Ravenclaw. Her favorite book is The Night Circus (though soon it may be Six of Crows). Her wand is made out of Hazel wood with a Unicorn hair core 12 1/4″ long and reasonably supple flexibility. Her patronus is a robin. Find out more about Shayne, her books, music, and design work at www.ShayneRocks.com

Book Review: Chasing Odysseus by S.D. Gentill

Book Review: Chasing Odysseus by S.D. Gentill

A thrilling adventure of ancient myth, monsters, sorcerers, sirens, magic and warring gods … the fall of Troy and a desperate chase across the seas in a magical ship… Synopsis provided by Goodreads. Book: Chasing Odysseus Series: Hero Trilogy #1 Author: S.D. Gentill Publication Date: […]

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2018: January Wrap-Up

PopSugar Reading Challenge 2018: January Wrap-Up

This past month I sort of neglected this challenge… While I did get to check a few of my pledged reads off the list, (it really was only a few) I had hoped to get at least four or five completed! I guess whatever I […]

eARC Review: Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones

eARC Review: Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones

Released today, February 6, 2018!

When troubling signs arise that the barrier between worlds is crumbling, Liesl must return to the Underground to unravel the mystery of life, death, and the Goblin King—who he was, who he is, and who he will be. 

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Shadowsong

Series: Wintersong #2
Author: S. Jae-Jones
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Page Count: 368
Format: ebook
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Retellings
Cover Artist: Anna Gorovoy
My Rating: ★★★★★

Shadowsong: A Novel (Wintersong)Shadowsong: A Novel by S. Jae-Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

1) Wintersong: ★★★★★

For anyone who has read (and loved…or disliked) Wintersong, be prepared, because this sequel is probably not what you are expecting. But trust me, if you allow yourself the opportunity, this book can sweep you away in a storm of folklore, complexity, and utter lyrical beauty all on its own.

Just as I had written in my review for Wintersong, the writing in Shadowsong has a way of making me feel raw. These characters, Liesl, Josef, Kathe, the Goblin King, are utterly stripped of their complexity and bared for the entire world to see their soul. The writing quality has surpassed my expectations in this series and made me appreciate Jae-Jones as an author immensely. What I appreciate most is the risk she took to also bare her own soul within these characters.

Madness is a strange word. It encompasses any sort of behavior or thought pattern that deviates from the norm, not just mental illness. I, like Liesl, am a functioning member of society, but our mental illnesses make us mad. They make us arrogant, moody, selfish, and reckless, They make us destructive, to both ourselves and to those we love. We are not easy to love, Liesl and I, and I did not want to face that ugly truth.

In the author note, she also noted that there is content such as: self-harm, addiction, reckless behavior, and suicide ideation. These traits are shared among several members of the cast.

How can I go on when I am haunted by ghosts? I feel him, Sepp. I feel the Goblin King when I play, when I work on the Wedding Night Sonata. The touch of his hand upon my hair. The press of his lips against my cheek. The sound of his voice, whispering my name. There is madness in our bloodline.

Despite this fact, I think this was a wonderful read. I was utterly surprised by the complexity of this duology. From what I gathered in Wintersong, I did not foresee the path in which this plot would traverse. Shadowsong is a mix of retellings between Goblin Market, the story of Hades and Persephone, and the Wild Hunt. Majority of the time, the plot walks a narrow path, dipping toes in both the fantastical and reality, obscuring which is which. I believe the way in which this book is written is figurative to Liesl’s experience as a character. Her constant battle between living in the “real world,” yet, being enticed by the underground and back to her beloved is palpable.

I who had grown up with my grandmother’s stories, I who had been the Goblin King’s bride and walked away knew better than anyone the consequences of crossing the old laws that governed life and death. What was real and what was false was as unreliable as memory, and I lived in the in-between spaces, between the pretty lie and the ugly truth. But I did not speak of it. Could not speak of it.

Liesl’s fears and deliberations are not without merit. She knows, along with those that still hold to the Old Laws, that there are consequences for each and every action. The Old Laws must be appeased. By thwarting them, the Wild Hunt occurs, seeking souls to balance the scales. As the threat draws nearer, Liesl grows more erratic in her deliberations, trying to protect her sister Kathe, repair her relationship with her brother Josef, and learn to live with herself and accept who she is. Acceptance proves to be a main theme throughout this story. Each character struggles with acceptance of a certain truth in their life, but instead, try to ignore it by

I was so focused on being Elisabeth, alone, I had not thought about what it meant to be Elisabeth, entire. And that meant embracing my past as well as uncertain future. I was so determined to not wallow in my misery that I made myself lonely; I pushed away memories and feelings and connections not only to the Goblin King, but myself. I had mourned, but I had not let myself grieve. I had not let myself feel. Don’t think. Feel.

While I wish there had been more appearances from the Goblin King himself, I’m glad there wasn’t. I think that after Liesl’s experience in the underground required this sort of backlash in her character. Her transformation from the Goblin Queen back to Liesl required addressing. No matter how “romantic” her experience in the underground may have been, (although, it was definitely twisted) Liesl experienced much that required more attention. It is in Shadowsong where Liesl truly becomes a woman and owns each part of herself–whole and broken. That is the beauty of this story–learning to accept that we all have attributes, experiences, memories, and influences that make and break our character. It’s how we deal with those points that define who we are. I couldn’t help but feel forced to look inward and evaluate parts of myself I wished to ignore while traversing these pages. It also forced me to consider others and observing these same qualities that makeup people around me.

“Who are you?” I whisper. He nods at me. You know who I am, Elisabeth. “You are the man with music in his soul,” I tell him. “You are the one who showed me a way to myself when I was lost in the woods. My teacher, my playmate, my friend.” I choke a little on the sobs rising from my throat. “You allowed me to forgive myself for being imperfect. For being a sinner. For being me.” If my brother is my grace, then the Goblin King is my mercy.

As I said in my review of Wintersong, this book may not resonate with everyone. In fact, I’m certain it won’t. It’s not the typical YA/NA fantasy for today’s era, and I’m so glad that it’s not. It has potential to truly challenge its reader and forces them to evaluate more than just a fun, light-hearted plot with a shallow romance. No, Shadowsong has a lot to offer.

Vulgarity: Minimal! I only counted 3 words!
Sexual Content: Unlike Wintersong, there is very little regarding this area in this book. While Liesl does think about her times with the Goblin King, she doesn’t go into explicit detail.
Violence: Moderate. Due to the nature and tone of this book, there are definitely some points (including the content warning listed by the author) that are not light topics for discussion. I still believe this is a New Adult Fantasy, and not quite appropriate for Young Adult readers.

View all my reviews

S. JAE-JONE (called JJ) is an artist, an adrenaline junkie, and erstwhile editrix. When not obsessing over books, she can be found jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, co-hosting the Pub(lishing) Crawl podcast, or playing dress-up. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she now lives in North Carolina, as well as many other places on the internet, including Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, and her blog.

#ARCsAnonymous Wrap-Up: January

#ARCsAnonymous Wrap-Up: January

Well, I wasn’t as successful this past month as I was hoping to be with getting ahead on upcoming ARCs. Normally, the #ARCsAnonymous topics focus on past ARCs, but January was an opportunity to get ahead on some upcoming reads.  What’s #ARCsAnonymous? Well, it’s a group […]

Beat the Backlist 2018: February

Beat the Backlist 2018: February

There goes January. Ugh, Story Sorcerers, we were so close! Novel Knights defeated us by such a small margin. Even though we didn’t win this month’s competition, great work, everyone!  I was able to read eight books for the Backlist challenge. It’s not near as […]

Book Review: Gilded Cage by Vic James

Book Review: Gilded Cage by Vic James

In modern-day Britain, magic users control everything: wealth, politics, power—and you. If you’re not one of the ultimate one-percenters—the magical elite—you owe them ten years of service. Do those years when you’re old, and you’ll never get through them. Do them young, and you’ll never get over them.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Book: Gilded Cage

Series: Dark Gifts #1

Author: Vic James

Publication Date: February 14, 2017

Publisher: Del Ray

Page Count: 368

Format: ebook

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia

Cover Artist: Faceout Studio, Tim Green

My Rating: ★★★½

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1)Gilded Cage by Vic James
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Ignorance bred fear, as Father was fond of saying, and fear bred obedience.

My relationship with this read was strange. While I thought the concept was brilliant, I had a tough time actually getting into Gilded Cage until more towards the end.

Reading the synopsis, my eyes quite literally sparkled.

description

The setting sounded (and was) absolutely amazing. Well, not amazing considering there is apparent oppression of a certain populace. I mean–amazing as in, what a brilliant idea for a dystopian novel!? Getting into the book, however, proved to be difficult throughout the first half. Perhaps it was due to the more explanatory nature in tone in order to set the stage for the remainder of the story? I’m not really sure.

While this book is undoubtedly dystopian, it naturally reads like any historical fiction, which may be a part of my overall confusion and inability to immerse myself into it further. Technically being a science fiction read, this book simply didn’t feel like one, which, by no means is a bad thing! Perhaps because this book crosses some boundaries, it rests at a place higher than my categorical mind can comprehend because I’ve been conditioned to think that “Sci-fi” and/or “dystopia” mostly means futuristic. Gilded Cage certainly breaks the mold that has been determined by most other books in this genre.

The world is set in modern-day Britain, but it doesn’t feel like it. Society is divided into two parts: aristocracy, and commoners. The aristocrats have a major advantage on their side: they can use magic. Because of this, they have assumed positions of power and privilege. Anyone outside of the elite group of magic users must spend ten years in servitude. These unfortunate souls get to pick when they serve, but nothing can get them out of it until after ten grueling years and then their freedom is granted. Nice, huh? Whether it be for a wealthy family, or in the slums, wherever one is placed, he or she must go.

The divide in lifestyles is immediately exemplified by the vast differences between the Hadley family, and the Jardine family. The Hadleys, being of non-noble birth, are commissioned to work for the wealthy and powerful Jardine family. Through a debacle, Luke is placed in one of the factory slums instead and forced to separate for his family.

“There aren’t many that see this place for what it truly is. Even fewer who realize that the slavedays aren’t an inevitable part of normal life, but a brutal violation of freedom and dignity, perpetrated by the Equals.”

Having a vastly different experience from the rest of his family in the factory city, Luke uncovers a populace of people desiring change in the system. The ability to use magic shouldn’t be the sole reason why certain people held high places in society. Seeing the amount of injustice most people must go through for these elite individuals, Luke decides to partake in a diverse and secret group pushing to make a change in the system.

This plot was thick and complex. Even so, the way things took place felt natural and possible with the world created here. In this way, this plot was effortless and functioned well. On the other side, because there was so much happening throughout this story, it was difficult to follow at times. Many characters are cast for variously sized parts, making it difficult to keep track of who’s who and what their purpose is. However, the climax and end of this book does a good job to wrap up the overall plot and clarify the functionality of some people throughout.

I think in general that this book will garner mixed reviews. While the content is original and with depth, the material doesn’t present the “feel-good” atmosphere many readers are looking for. Oppression, slavery, and mistreatment of humans aren’t light topics to discuss, nor should be glanced over lightly. Despite this fact, I appreciated the author’s ingenuity with the subject-matter and creating a world that is dynamic and believable.

Vulgarity: 30 words total (from what I counted – this could be slightly off.) Sexual content: Minimal – some kissing. Violence: At least moderate. Some of the scenes were rather graphic.

View all my reviews

“Ignorance bred fear, as Father was fond of saying, and fear bred obedience.”

Fairy Tale Friday

Fairy Tale Friday

Happy Friday, everyone! There’s something truly magical about Friday. (It probably has more to do with the fact that the weekend in around the corner.) That’s a bit creepy, isn’t it? Because of the lightheartedness Friday brings around, I thought I’d add a new series […]

State of the ARC: January

State of the ARC: January

Is anyone else shocked at how fast January flew by!? I feel like I need to double-check my phone every time I see that it’s already February. I had quite a few ARCs in January that I needed to read. I got to all but […]

Mini Book Review: Chronicles of Steele: Raven Episode 4 by Pauline Creeden

Mini Book Review: Chronicles of Steele: Raven Episode 4 by Pauline Creeden

Peace and safety...a promise often made but seldom kept. Can Raven trust that anyone will be able to protect the young baron as she has?

Synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Book: Raven Episode 4

Series: Chronicles of Steele

Author: Pauline Creeden

Publication Date: October 4, 2014

Publisher: AltWit Press

Page Count: 62

Format: ebook

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Novella

Cover Artist: Alchemy Book Covers 

My Rating: ★★★½

Raven Episode 4 (Chronicles of Steele #1.4)Raven Episode 4 by Pauline Creeden
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

1) Raven: Episode 1: ★★★★
2) Raven: Episode 2: ★★★★
3) Raven: Episode 3: ★★★

The end is rarely ever the end. Our troubles have a way of coming round again when we are not prepared for them.

This was a fun, and rather meaningful short-story series to read. While it’s quick and easy to get through, there are no sacrifices made in the overall quality and plot development. Steampunk accents are apparent, but do not overtake, or distract from the main focus of the story.

As the quest to return the young baron back to safety, Raven struggles with trusting that he will be properly cared for. She has come to care for him, not only for his piece in her redemption but also as her charge.

Trust must be earned and not freely given.

The ending is left wide-open. I’m not sure if there are more episodes to come? I hope so because I want to know if there is more to happen between Raven and Captain Grant, as well as what’s to come for Darius.

View all my reviews

“A man in power is often willing to compromise his character to satisfy his whims. When you make the law, you may find little reason to abide by them.”

“Never allow the routine of daily life to dull one’s sense.”

“Adding a burden to yourself that was never meant to be there doesn’t make you more righteous.”

“…no matter what you’ve done, no matter what the future holds, love will forgive.”

“Sometimes we redeem ourselves just by admitting we were wrong.”


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