Tag: Fantasy

Book Review: Children of Icarus by Caighlan Smith

Book Review: Children of Icarus by Caighlan Smith

It is Clara who is desperate to enter the labyrinth and it is Clara who is bright, strong, and fearless enough to take on any challenge. It is no surprise when she is chosen. But so is the girl who has always lived in her […]

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Fairy Tale Friday #4: The Enchanted Pig (Porcul cel fermecat) by Petre Ispirescu

Fairy Tale Friday #4: The Enchanted Pig (Porcul cel fermecat) by Petre Ispirescu

The Enchanted Pig (Porcul cel fermecat) Written by Petre Ispirescu The Enchanted Pig, originally published as Porcul cel fermecat in Legende sau basmele românilor in Bucharest, Romania in 1882. It was written by Petre Ispirescu, a Romanian folklorist, who wrote several tales that were published throughout his lifetime […]

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My Favorite Teachers/Mentors Found In Books

My Favorite Teachers/Mentors Found In Books

I think we all have someone that we looked up to, or still look up to, throughout our lives.

I know for myself, there were several people at different times of my life that have had a large impact on forming the person that I am today. Without these teachers and/or mentors, I wouldn’t have some of the passions that I possess, wisdom that I’ve gleaned, and a general sense of who I am.

I’ve also received a lot of direction from mentors and teachers in different books. Whether they are non-fiction, or fiction-based, some characters have been very influential and inspirational in my life. I think anyone can find new mentors that they can look up to and learn from in books.

Here’s some of my favorite five mentors/teachers in books that I’ve read.

Jesus Christ from the Holy Bible

By far the most influential person I’ve ever encountered, this man literally changed my life. A good portion of the New Testament is filled with teachings and sermons given by Jesus.

It’s amazing how simple many of his lessons are, yet how profound as well. I could quite literally talk about him, and his teachings all day, everyday, but will sum them up for the sake of this post. Not only has he taught me how to go through life on a day-to-day basis, he taught me why. Why is it important to love God, and love others as I love myself? Well, isn’t that the wonderful mystery of self-sacrifice? There’s nothing more beautiful than putting others above yourself. Without this, I’d be the most self-centered person on the planet. Jesus not only helps to bring balance in my life, but meaning, encouragement, and literally so much more. Really, I can’t say enough about him. 

Apostle Paul from the Holy Bible

Another mentor figure in the New Testament of the Bible is the Apostle Paul. What makes his story so powerful is his conversion. He was the opposite of what Jesus stood for, yet, took a figurative U-turn when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. To me, his life shows that anyone has the ability to change the path they are on. Not only that, but once the truth is revealed, it cannot be denied. For myself, his story and teachings have been incredibly impactful, especially in the sense of leaving “myself” in pursuit of something much greater than me.

Gandalf from The Lord Of The Rings

Gandalf has always been one of my favorite fictional characters. I watched the movie series before reading the books, but loved him even more once I had finally picked them up.

His calm, comical nature is admirable.  Tolkien put a lot of time and effort into creating his character, and developing such a strong presence throughout his books. What I love about Gandalf the most is that he never passes up an opportunity to learn. The part where he talks about the “small things” giving him hope always made me reflect on my own life, and focusing on if I appreciated every aspect of it, big or small, or not. 

Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, & Mrs. Whatsit from A Wrinkle In Time

This interesting trio brings “bizarre” to an entirely different level. Bizarre, yet memorable. Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit, with all their quirks, were incredibly significant characters. They focused on bringing out the best in Meg, Charles, and Calvin by pointing out their faults. Instead of sugar-coating the situation, they challenged the kids to accept parts of themselves that weren’t necessarily “likable.” Even so, these aspects of our characters can grow, change, and morph into something beautiful and powerful. 

Brom from Eragon

Lastly, I wanted to mention Brom from Eragon. Although he doesn’t get much page time, his impact on Eragon as a mentor is evident through the entire series. While he’s rather crass, he’s real, honest, and isn’t afraid of a challenge.

A good mentor must be willing to put himself at risk for the benefit of his mentee, and that’s exactly what Brom does. While it honestly took me some time to like Brom’s character, I really appreciated him at the end of the series, and all that he did for the greater good. 

So, Who are some of your favorite mentors or teachers in books?
What lesson(s) did you learn from them that made them such valuable characters to you?
Let me know in the comments below!

eARC Review: Dragons of Dark by Ava Richardson

eARC Review: Dragons of Dark by Ava Richardson

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 […]

eARC Review: Reign The Earth by A.C. Gaughen

eARC Review: Reign The Earth by A.C. Gaughen

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 […]

Book & Audiobook Review: Of Sand and Storm by Amber Argyle

Book & Audiobook Review: Of Sand and Storm by Amber Argyle

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
Format: ebook
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Cover Artist: ---
My Rating: ★★★★

Of Sand and Storm (Fairy Queens #2.5)Of Sand and Storm by Amber Argyle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“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.

View all my reviews

Audiobook Review: Read December 2017

Of Sand and Storm (Fairy Queens #2.5)Of Sand and Storm by Amber Argyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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: ★★★★★

View all my reviews

Fairy Tale Friday #3: Fairer-Than-A-Fairy (Plus-Belle-que-fée) by Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force

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 […]

Book Review: Dragons of Kings by Ava Richardson

Book Review: Dragons of Kings by Ava Richardson

On the eve of battle, Bower will have to fulfill a mystical prophecy and become the leader he was born to be, or risk his future kingdom falling apart. Surrounded on all sides by deadly foes, he must face not only the evil king, but […]

My Favorite Bookish Friendships

My Favorite Bookish Friendships

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. 

Question time!
What are your favorite bookish friendships? Tell me why and how they have inspired you!
Let me know in the comments below!

Barnes & Noble Birthday Book Haul

Barnes & Noble Birthday Book Haul

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 […]

eARC Review: Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

eARC Review: Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

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 […]

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Nine While Nine Cover Reveal!

Nine While Nine Cover Reveal!

Nine While Nine

Publisher: Parliament House Press

For fans of This Savage Song!

Find Out About Other Books by Stasia Morineax at http://stasiamorineaux.wixsite.com/stasiamorineaux

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.

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, […]

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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 […]

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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.


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