As both dragons and Riders struggle to return to the ways of old, from before the land fell into darkness, the evil king undermines their every move with spies and sabotage. Bower knows their efforts are doomed without a final assault against the palace, but […]
Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands. Partial synopsis provided […]
By law, any child born in Idara is free, even if that child is born in a slave brothel. But as Cinder grows into a beauty that surpasses even that of her mother and grandmother, she realizes that freedom is only a word.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Of Sand And Storm
Series: Fairy Queens #5
Author: Amber Argyle
Publication Date: August 11, 2016
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, LLC
Page Count: 175
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Cover Artist: ---
My Rating: ★★★★
“She was the wind, and wind could never be caged.”
After reading Cinder, the name Cinder had been killed for me, but the main character in this book totally redeems it.
Of Sand and Storm is a very dark, and oppressive story. Sex trafficking holds a strong undertone throughout and ensnares the reader in the devastating realm it creates. It is not an easy read, because of this reason, as the reader is placed directly into the bowels of the beast.
Cinder, along with her mother and grandmother, are held in a brothel. While Cinder is “freeborn,” her life certainly doesn’t reflect it. Her “Mother” (as she prefers her “proteges” to call her,) Zura, holds her family’s enslavement and situation against Cinder. Zura coerces her into servitude by threatening her mother and grandmother’s livelihood. (Not that Ash and Storm had much, to begin with anyway.)
Cinder’s character is phenomenal. She is challenged at every angle, with HARD decisions. Yet, she remains true to herself and is willing to lay everything down for those whom she loves. This is a major theme throughout this book series, and I’m really appreciative of that. Many books nowadays focus on antiheroes, and their characters have little-to-nothing to offer. They don’t help the reader to think, to internalize, and to grow as a person. It is without a doubt that Of Sand and Storm does this.
Darsam is a wonderful and redemptive hero character. He seems shady and shallow at first, but his role in the plot requires him to be so. I won’t reveal why here–I guess you’ll just have to read it and find out.
The plot line is depressing, but there is so much which comes from that aspect and is turned into good, making this a valuable and engrossing read.
Audiobook Review: Read December 2017
I received a copy of this audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
This is my second time reading Of Sand and Storm. I read the entire Fairy Queens series towards the beginning of 2017 and absolutely fell in love with the plot, characters, world-building, and writing style. Listening to the audiobook version of Of Sand and Storm made me rethink my original ratings of this book, as well as the rest in the series. My conclusion is that I don’t think I rated these books high enough. Whether it’s due to being reintroduced to this fantastic story or reliving Cinder’s experience by hearing her tale, Of Sand and Storm yet again, knocked me off my feet.
Of Sand and Storm was narrated by Elizabeth Evans. She did a fantastic job of bringing this story to life. Her voice matched the characters well and did not possess overpowering or distracting qualities to the plot or characters themselves. While there weren’t many tonal differences between characters, her dictation of them was easy to follow as the correct emotional variances were portrayed at the appropriate times.
Overall, I thought this audiobook was very easy to listen to, and the plot even more powerful the second time through.
My Rating: ★★★★★
Fairy Tale Friday #3: Fairer-Than-A-Fairy (Plus-Belle-que-fée) by Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force
Fairer-Than-A-Fairy (PLUS-BELLE-QUE-FÉE) Written by Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force Fairer-Than-A-Fairy (originally published in French under the name Plus-Belle-Que-Fee), was written in 1698 by French author Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force. La Force, a French novelist and poet, was best known for her tale Persinette, which […]
Have you ever read a book that had a friendship that gave you all of the feels?
I can honestly say that I haven’t read many books that actually have made me feel much towards the characters. I’ve read a decent number of books, but perhaps not enough to have a wide enough variety to pick and choose from. However, out of the books that I have read, there have been a few friendships that I really admired, for varying reasons.
This is a difficult topic for me to discuss because I’m very picky when it comes to this! Quality always trumps quantity for me. I feel like characters who are able to obtain that sort of relationship really need to be something special. Each of these examples are definitely special in their own way, and have been inspiring for me throughout my reading journey, as well as in everyday life.
I won’t be putting these in any particular order, because they each hold about the same amount of importance in my eyes.
Albert & Joey from War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
Freshly coming off from this read, I absolutely adored the bond that developed between Joey and Albert. Even though Joey is a horse, there’s something to say about the ties we create with our animal companions.
Albert and Joey are similar in many ways. Both having suffered poor treatment by Albert’s father, they are able to grow to trust one another from that common ground. Not only that, they are able to replace fear with hope, anger with love, and abandonment with belonging through the bond that they have. The story these two have is just beautiful!
Frodo & Sam from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. TOlkien
This may be an obvious pick, but this timeless friendship is, and always will be one of my favorites. While Frodo has his (several) moments were he doesn’t deserve Sam’s friendship, Sam doesn’t even consider abandoning his dearest friend. In the midst of utter chaos, Sam is the steadfast character that never falters. He puts Frodo before himself, and sacrifices his own needs in order to keep a close eye on Frodo who is heavily burdened with the ring. This friendship is build around utmost sacrifice, loyalty, and pureness of intent, and Frodo becomes all-the-better because of Sam.
Jane Eyre & Helen Burns from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
While this friendship doesn’t last long, it is one to cherish. Jane and Helen both attend Lowood Academy when they are young girls. The conditions at the school, and treatment from the teachers to the students are ghastly. It isn’t an inviting atmosphere to consider making friends in, yet, Jane and Helen are drawn to one another.
Several times, the two take punishment for the other. Having a deep understanding of suffering in their young ages, Jane and Helen are able to grow close to one another, and support each other until Helen’s tragic death. This friendship may be brief, but the amount of time cannot account for the depth of empathy these two had for one another.
Jules & Arsinoe from the Three Dark Crowns series by Kendare Blake
Jules and Arsinoe have an enticing friendship. I find it so refreshing that a character can simply be happy for another without envy! Arsinoe, who is supposed to be the Naturalist Queen, has little-to-no ability with her gift. Yet, her best friend Jules is the most powerful Naturalist in generations. Time and again, Arsinoe shows her disinterest in coveting Jules’ ability, and is content with her own person. She does try some tactics to obtain some form of ability, but her endeavors do not cause a rift between herself and Jules. There are other factors in their friendship that cause some tension, but for the most part, they are not impacted by them.
Corona & Mora from The Lily of Life: a fairy tale by Carmen Sylva
Corona and Mora’s friendship is yet another example of unconditional love. Similar to that of Frodo and Sam’s friendship, Corona cares immensely for her sister Mora. She too, goes to the ends of the earth in order to save her sister’s beloved. While Corona’s intentions may be slightly jaded initially, she gives up her own desires in order for her sister’s to be fulfilled.
What are your favorite bookish friendships? Tell me why and how they have inspired you!
Let me know in the comments below!
It’s been a long time since I’ve done a book haul post! It’s literally been months since I last did one, which means I’ve been successfully sticking to my book-buying ban! I must admit, I’m doing this ban a bit begrudgingly because they’re books. I want […]
Release day February 27, 2018! Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can’t make a scene at your sister’s wedding and break a relative’s nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her […]
Nine While Nine
Publisher: Parliament House Press
Isabeau Finne’s perfect world utterly unravels when she meets Death’s right-hand man one fateful night, spiraling her life into a world of chaos and the impossible.
Suddenly, she is no longer Isabeau and becomes part of the most secretive inner-workings of Death itself, as well as an otherworldly dominion of ancient magic.
Now beings—which we were taught as children were merely fictional creations of wildly whimsical minds—are edging their way into her world as well.
Buggans and Kobolds and Vargs…oh my!
She yearns for the simplicity of her old life—this one is full of dangers, unanswered questions, and cryptic dreams.
After one particularly anomalous dream in which she learns of the Nine While Nine Legacy, things become truly precarious.
Now, someone sees her as a risk…a threat…and wants to eliminate her.
Fortunately, she falls under the protection of Gideon—unless she leaves his territory—which is the one thing she wants the most…and wants the least.
Stasia Morineaux grew up in Southern California, pursuing faeries in the garden and seeking spirits in the local graveyard with her cat Bartleby; they also spent countless nights hunting down things that went bump!
She resettled recently in Asheville, North Carolina with her hubster and kiddoo, as well as with a bevy of creatures…both real and “imaginary”.
Mysterious dreams, copious hours of awesome music, and obscene amounts of coffee fuel her writing sessions of paranormal, urban fantasy, dark fantasy, the supernatural…and sometimes even a sprinkling of chick lit!
In her spare time she likes to relax on her balcony, feet kicked up, listening to the squirrels arguing with the crows in her woods.
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, […]
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 […]
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.
Series: Wintersong #2
Author: S. Jae-Jones
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Page Count: 368
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Retellings
Cover Artist: Anna Gorovoy
My Rating: ★★★★★
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.
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.
There’s no denying that YA Fantasy is a common genre read among book lovers. Many books in this genre have become powerhouses of attention. No wonder why it’s so difficult to get to all of these books because there are just so many! While there […]
Release day January 30, 2018! Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her […]
When Amy starts having strange dreams, everything changes. Night after night, she becomes trapped in a shroud of black - a void of silence but for a male voice calling for a girl named ‘Marla’.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Series: Betrothed #1
Author: Wanda Wiltshire
Publication Date: July 1, 2013
Publisher: Pantera Press
Page Count: 315
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Parnormal
Cover Artist: —
My Rating: No Rating – DNF
I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
DNFing at 35%
I was a bit hesitant going into this read. I saw that it has been compared to the Twilight series with touches of Harry Potter. While I didn’t come across anything similar to Harry Potter, there were definite resemblances to Twilight with the whole “everyone loves the main character” thing. If anything, this book is more similar to A Court of Thorns and Roses in the essence of the purpose and character functionality.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t really anything that pulled me into this plot. I disliked the main character Amy/Marla from the get-go. She constantly tries to feigned popularity and beauty, when she knows she has both. Not only that, but her subtle-no-so-subtle attraction to her best friend Jack is obvious to the reader, (and to Jack) and comes as no surprise that she beings to consider a romantic relationship with him.
Jack pulled me against him and gave me a hug. It felt nice to be all wrapped up in his arms.
In 35% of this book, Amy already had some sort of romantic attachment to three different guys. This isn’t over a long span of time either. So, what is the message being portrayed here? It’s okay to go from one guy to the next when a more attractive one comes along? Trying people on for size just to see if it’d work towards your benefit doesn’t count as being shallow? I think it does.
Amy begins to have dreams about a man named Leif, who naturally, turns out to be a prince to the Fae. In her dreams, Leif calls her “Marla” which she finds out later on is her real name. Leif tells Marla that they are betrothed, and destined to be married since before they were born.
This is where the similarities to A Court of Thorns and Roses come in.
#1 All of the prominent (or, basically all) characters are drop-dead gorgeous.
#2 Leif, next in line to the throne, is the most attractive man in the world, just like Tamlin, and Rhysand both were portrayed. Also, he’s always shirtless. (You know–it impedes the wings.)
“There is only one thing that can distract a female from her betrothed–make her question her commitment to him. Two things actually, one is the prince and the other is a king–particularly her own king. There is not a fae woman born, partnered or single, who, when in his presence, can resist the desires of her king.”
In other words…
Why, oh why, must each and every character in a position of power be the most attractive person ever? Or should I dare ask the real question here–why are these characters formulated as objects of lust rather than actual characters with feelings and normal character-y things?
#3 Another similarity is the emphasis on “possession” of the female in a relationship. Leif reveals the history of Marla’s parents, and how his father–the king–desired her mother for himself. When he discovered that she chose someone else over him, he loses his marbles.
“Your mother was no longer pure in my father’s eyes so when she offered to relinquish her husband and return to him, he refused her. And as punishment for choosing your father, he decided that if he couldn’t have Finelle, then Finelle couldn’t have her child.
Leif also showcases the same idea when Marla admits that she thinks he is a figment of her imagination. His possessiveness over her drives him to find her in the human world to prove that he is not fake and makes it clear that she is his, and his alone.
While I know this element seems to ensnare a lot of female YA readers, I just don’t see how this is a healthy example of a relationship? Possession of a human shouldn’t exist. Possession can literally be translated into domination. I don’t agree with this formatting for a relationship as it doesn’t call for mutual love and/or respect between both parties.
Overall, I don’t see this book sending a great message to its readers. Instead of having much depth, it felt like I stepped into an episode of The Bachelor Pad. If you are a fan of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, this may be more up your alley, but beware: from what I’ve seen so far, there isn’t much to take away from it.
Vulgarity: Minimal. 9 total up until the point I stopped reading.
Sexual Content: Some. There were not any explicit scenes as of yet.