Just One More Chapter

Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light. 

-Vera Nazarian

 

I'm just trying to light up the world as much as I can one SciFi/paranormal/fantasy/space opera/time travel book at a time. 

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Aurora Rising

Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) - Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman

Holy nuclear heck in an intergalactic handbasket!!

 

Where do I start??


Let's start off with some admissions. I am proud to be a HUGE Scifi geek! Besides that I'm a proud lover of Space Operas. Put those together and Aurora Rising sounds taylormade just for me and my ilk. This particular book happened to be one of my most anticipated books of the year. I preordered it WAY back when and then waited... I waited as months passed... I waited as seasons changed... I waited and waited for any form of news or advanced review to be revealed just so I could see how my literary dream fared. Do you know what?? All this build up and anxious waiting led to a supernova explosion of...MEH. I might have been spoiled with some amazing, underdog gems early on in the year but I never thought that I'd be so spectacularly let down by my prize pony... and man oh man was I ever disappointed!

 

This book was a pairing of not so stellar Space Tropes, a boring Space Heist, uninspiring drip drop Space Romances (if you can call them that) and a boat load of dueling POVs WHICH were at best- annoying and at worst -the cause of malignant time reimbursement wishing. Here are my 2 shiny pennies of thought- there definitely could have been a more seamless cohesion if only the list of POVs were whittled down to say 1 or 2. I understand that it's easier to convey a character's perspective by having us rummage around in their head but being inside so many minds felt disjointed and... well... mental (and not in the fun "I'm lovably quirky" kind of way). Sometimes more is just more and I wish that this book had something more. The characters were okay. The action was better but sporadic. The world development was lacking depth except for the imaginative, unique and varying "Alein" species...those were fun BUT I say, with a heavy heart, that I could have easily...happily...put this book down, unfinished mid way, in order to save time (and emotional attachment) for the next contender for Book of the Year.

 

Overall: was this dud of a Sifi Space romp horrible? No! But that No comes with a strong PSA warning-- if you have been an anxious ball of space dust waiting to read this book... if you are so excited your teeth are vibrating... then not only have you most likely injested too much caffeine but you will also likely face snoozing, apathy, and crushing disappointment in your immediate future.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor

I have come back to this series a second time (something I'm not known to do), looking to relive the majesty that was my first encounter with Laini Taylor. I listened on Audible instead of reading it this time around and I am SO glad I did because I love love LOVED it just as much as my initial read through, which is Ah-MAZING to me. The narrator was so incredible that I jumped to look her up to see what else she brought to life and a few have made their way onto my TBR because of her talent. This is most definitely one of my all time favorite series and categorically, hands down one of my all time favorite authors if not #1. Every word is suffused with passion and let me tell you... Mrs. Taylor is a master wordsmith! She will make you feel like you are captivated, entranced and 100% present in the moment. This is achieved with beautific writing, extremely complex and robust characters and majestic world building.


I ship Karou and Akiva so so very much that it hurt (at times) to hear how they would vascillate between "I love you, I can't live another second without you" and "I hate you, I wish I had let you die on that battlefield"...coming together and repelling like magnets... and just like magnets, they repel just as strongly and they unite. Another relationship I am COMPLETELY in love with is Karou + one of the absolute best secondary characters of all time... it is Karou's tiny yet mighty best friend Zuz. Zuzzana is an amazingly sassy, fiesty, loyal tiny tiger of a character. I would totally read any and all future books with her and her handsome, violin playing boyfriend in it!

 

This book is lyrical yet not pretentious. It is great at making you question just who are the bad guys? Who's at fault? Who started all of this and how will it end? Who will be victorious and at what cost? I can't gush enough about this series. Imho it is shear Perfection! If you are going to check this series out I wholeheartedly suggest that you go the audiobook route, the narrator gave it that little extra jun use qua. I could go on and on but I'll spare you the fangirling and just ask this... why are you still here? GO and immerse yourself...bask in the glory of Laini Taylor's unique mind!

 

Overall: if you haven't read any of her work then I suggest, with all of my heart, that you start here or with another of her masterpieces, Strange The Dreamer.. you'll thank me later, I promise.

~ Enjoy!

Alizarin Crimson by Erica Millard

Alizarin Crimson (Prism #1) - Erica Millard

This is a good, solid read. The premise is semi unique. I say semi because there are a lot of familiar tropes and they are sprinkled liberally throughout. Tropey things like (but not limited to):
- Hostile/warring sects of people who possess extraordinary powers, who are hell bent on world domination and who parrot Magneto's rhetoric nearly verbatim.
- A coming of age arc for our MC, Aya, who is trying to explore her newfound abilities while also being on the run/trying to duck those who are seeking to exploit those emerging abilities.
- An MC that is multitasking all the while by testing the boundaries of her capabilities, navigating the minefield of budding teenage hormones and traversing the globe, with a hot guy in tow who is totally into her (or is he?!?), National Treasure style.


Aya has a very unique Power, she's a Colorist. This particular Talent is incredibly rare, super powerful and, unfortunately for her, highly sought after. It had never before been encountered by those in the book as well as by us literary voyeurs ... outside the book. Our protagonist grows steadily, not only in ability but in maturity as well. Her curious, often times deadly, and very poignant experiences are her catalysts for impressive growth. She begins to transition from naive child to weather weary woman by the end...as all good tropey heroines do. My main gripe is maybe just a splash in the bucket but it niggles, and itches and it just doesn't sit right with me... I won't spoil anything but to say that it involves Aya's name being known (and invoked) by a certain person in the (way back in the day) past, an ability that was soooooo far out of his Talent wheelhouse as to be beyond improbable. This wasn't explained or even discussed as highly iffy but was brushed aside with one or two "huh, that's weird"s. Oh well... it might be addressed in later books but I'm not sure if I'm into this one for the long haul, even if it's just to find out what's up with that pet peeve.

Overall: If you're looking for a solid read with fleshed out characters and good writing... A plot that revolves around: Characters who possess extraordinary (varying) abilities who fight one another for the chance at global domination. Characters that travel the world in search of ancient artifacts... relics that are destined to give one sect the ability to rule over the Normies and whose whereabouts are determined through criptic clues. Then you can't go wrong with this book!

 

Also, you might like to know that book #2 (Cobalt Blue) is ready and waiting for you as soon as you are finished with this one. It's always nice to be able to pick up directly where the first book left off... while the character's names and the plot's twisty bits are still fresh in the noggin. Will I proceed to Cobalt Blue? Hmmmm, I'm on the fence about that especially since I am light headed and giddy from a sudden influx of much hyped, highly anticipated reads that have recently moved from my Preorder list to their forever home in My Library. I don't know if this story will have the lasting power, that lingering whisper enticing me back to it over the roaring cacophony of the other book's plots. Only time will tell BUT please don't let my indecisiveness deter you from picking this one up, I can be capricious like that sometimes. In any case, this book is a 3 stars read that I suggest to anyone seeking to spend a few enjoyable hours escaping into another semi unique Reality.

 

~ Enjoy

Two Thousand Years by M. Dalto

I have to call it. I have had this book on my dashboard for almost 5 months. I have picked this up and uncerimoniously put it back down more times than I care to admit and DEFINITELY more times than I usually give a read. I just can't get into it and that's confusing since the synopsis hit all the right notes. I was intrigued. The book's premise is unique... something I relish... BUT the writing is so incredibly bland and stilted that it physically and mentally hurt to go on. Sounds harsh right?!? I 100% don't mean it to be but the dialogue and plot are just put out there...robotic like. This is what happens, now this happens, this person says this, that person replies... no emotion...no breath of life...no je ne sais quoi. The world building is severely lacking making this feel monochromatic, stiff and boring. The characters are underdeveloped as well. The MC is annoying and I feel zero connection with anyone or anything.


I loathe giving up on a read mid way but there just isn't enough hours in the day or days in ones life to spend time on reading something that doesn't make you lose yourself or at the very least rationalize the time spent. It could be because I have been reading some REALLY excellent books lately, straight to Favorites type reads. I think it has set the bar pretty high. Either way, it wasn't for me and I set my limit at hmmm hmmm tries before I call it. So here we are... I HATE to say it but...


:::hanging my head in shame and defeat:::


I'm DNFing this one.

 

*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

Shadow Frost By Coco Ma

This book was a bit of a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, there were some really solid aspects I could get behind and on the other hand there were a few very glaring, critical flaws. On the whole though, the writing was well done. The world building was decent BUT the character development was spotty and the character dialogue was excruciating...especially the zero to 100 I hate you nope wait that's Love I feel...yup, definitely Love and I happen to love you more than anyone or anything in my entire world...GRRRRR!

 

There were 6 POVs, which can make things messy if not done well. Here it was slightly disorienting but otherwise it flowed rather nicely.


Princess Asterin, one of our MCs, was a fairly competent female heroine if not a tad oblivious, obnoxious and annoying. She had a tragic backstory, which made her compelling yet her powers (like many characters in this story) were mastered WAY too easily. For me, this is a BIG no no and throws up all sorts of red flags, deep sighs and dramatic eye rolls. I like when my characters have to work hard and earn their achievements as well as deserve their "True Love's" desire (which works both ways). It's just more satisfying that way. Asterin's best asset, however, was her ability to pull people... especially powerful people...into her personal gravitational field and garner a deep sense of loyalty and protectiveness from them.

 

One such valiant protector was Quinnlan. Quinnlan had a yummy yummy gooey center surrounded by a rather fickle hard, prickly shell of PTSD from years and years of abuse at his father's hands... a much (re)visited, almost to the point of projectile nausea, character defining anchor point in his tragic backstory. I was torn between wanting to kiss his damaged psyche to bits, bitch slapping him... the pages and chapters of wide eyed mooning was a bit much to digest... or jumping into trouble just so he could rescue me, damsel style. BUT unfortunately, I am not fictional and Quinn... well Quinn's state at the end of the book is a detail I won't discuss... spoilers and all...but only time will tell.

 

A couple of MCs that enjoyed were Rose and Harry. Rose was practically (a bit too) perfect in every way. She was a badass magic wielder, fighter, strategist, friend, cousin and all around MVP. This type of star player that can do no wrong and is awesome just by breathing can and will irk me in large doses. Thankfully she was more of a side character and thus it wasn't as glaring and painful to witness. Harry, on the otherhand, was a surprise for me. When we first heard about him I thought he'd be a stereotypical bad guy that we'd be preprogrammed to despise BUT I ended up loving him. He was loyal, endearing, and more emotionally fragile than one would think.

 

Overall: I wish I could rave about this one I really do. The synopsis ticked all the right boxes for me but ultimately, in my humble opinion, it was spectacularly middle of the road Meh. The characters were almost always predictable and their dialogue was extremely sophomoric. The love matches seemed trite, stilted, forced and clunky at times BUT even so, they also managed to be sweet at other times so there's that. The plot had too many convenient or easily foreseen twisty turns for my taste. BUT on the bright side, the story's writing was strong. It did seem like the author knows how to write very well but when it came right down to the heart of the tale, the meat and potatoes were lacking compared to the well crafted prose. The latticework of ideas was solid and the writing was good but the rest fell short for me... except for Harry...BUT alas, a Harry (or a barrel of Harry's, although that would admittedly have been a MUCH different story) does not a cherished novel make. I wish it did.


*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

A Spark of White Fire

A Spark of White Fire - Sangu Mandanna

I just turned the last e-page of A Spark of White Fire and all I can say is WOW... THAT WAS AWESOME!!!

 

It was a perfect blend of SciFi and Fantasy. I have been craving Space Opera reads lately and this book was everything I wanted and more. I am not well versed in Indian Folklore so I had no idea what to expect going in BUT I think it was better not knowing ahead of time what the building blocks were and just letting the story unveil itself as Mrs. Mandanna saw fit.

 

I loved every aspect of this tale! Besides the one time I gently tossed the ereader, not being able to bear witness to another word of what Esmae was scheming (against the wrong person I might add), I fervently tore through the rest of the book with wild abandonment. Hours passed by in what seemed like mere blinks... one minute I'm at 1% and just settling in, the next thing I see when I look down, it says 92% and I'm begging for my ereader to be wrong.

 

I was extremely impressed with the trifecta of awesomenes...the Writing, the Character development and last but in no way shape or form least, the World building. The writing was gorgeously done, not overly flowery or loquacious. The characters were detailed, complex and downright corporeal. I loved nearly all of them and those that I didn't, I wasn't meant to. I especially liked Esmea and Max. Their burgeoning magnetism was sweet, transcendent yet still seemed fragile and tentative in the way that all new relationships do. Their coupled aura simply oozed the mellow tones of being perfectly matched. Apart they were okay but together they were a force to be reckoned with. I really like them as a team so... fingers crossed. Then there were those charismatic, meddlesome, not quite omnipotent gods. Amba and Kirrin were likeable...for mischievous know-it-alls. Their best attributes were their affection and constant presence in the lives of a(n) (un)lucky few. The gods gave out Boons for the strangest things. For one such recipient, who aquired it by not speaking a single peep for 10 whole years, he was given the formidable Gods made sentient spaceship (who happened to be another favorite character) Titania. The plot could definitely have benefited from more of her/it in the story.... maybe in part 2?

 

Anywho...

 

Let me touch on the subject of the world building. The Whit Fire universe was populated with wondrous new planets, galaxies, nebulae as well as the prerequisite for all good SciFi-Space Opera chimeras...futuristic technology. It was beautifully imaginative. I can barely fathom a more enrapturing retelling of this tale of Abandonment, Acceptance, Hope, Love and ultimately Betrayal and Loss. I cried... that's right, I said it... I cried and I'm not ashamed to admit it. The death of a much beloved character tends to do that to me... I'm only human. Give this one a shot and I bet that if you have even just a lentil bean of a soul rattling around in there, you too will be moved if not to tears then definitely to sniffles by the end.

 

Overall: I LOVED this one!!! It's yet another book going straight to my favorites list. I have been very lucky lately with my reads and this one is definitely near the top of the list. I can not reccomend this highly enough. I wish there were more stars in the rating system to give this story of Hope/Tragedy/budding Love and Rage... so much rage against the backdrop of awe inspiring cosmos.

 

If you are looking for a seamless SciFi Space Opera, Fantasy mashup... if you are into amazingly imaginative new envisionings of folklore... if you love stories of underdogs prevailing against great odds... of gods meddling with the affairs of mortals... of Royal intrigue, power plays and war... then look no further!! This should be at the tippy top of your TBR tower!

 

~ Enjoy!

Kingdom of Exiles by Maxym Martineau

This is a well crafted adult Pokeman(like) romp through lush backdrops with characters that you can't help but love... you just can't... go on, read it, you'll love them too. There is sexual tension to the umpteenth degree. An extremely sloooooooooooooow burn that builds to a crescendo. The creatures are beautifully imagined and undeniably unique. The characters are all loveable and relatable, I want to adopt them all...except Noc, he I will greedily keep for my own nefarious purposes.


I love Noc & Leena... big fan, BUT I especially love Noc. He is incredibly tormented yet compassionate. He shoulders the weight of a powerfully evil curse that makes life torturous when it comes to loving someone...in any capacity. He is unable to express amorous emotions for anyone... ever... or his loved ones, if the feelings are reciprocated, pay the ultimate price.


Leena, on the other hand, is a kick ass heroine and one of the commanding voices of the dueling 2 MCs. She is strong, yet tender towards her beasts and her "family" (which is all sorts of endearing), she is beautiful, deadly and unabashedly, unappologetic when it comes to her lustful appetite.


The writing is solid. I may or may not have shed a few tears (the torment is positively dripping off the pages)...ok, just between us, there was some serious sniffling going on but that's it. The crying is in no way a reflection of the caliber of writing. The world development and character development are both extremely well done. The variety of creatures is exemplary. The characters are so robust (and loveable) you can't help but root for them, cheering for them to succeed and to find their happiness.


There were a slew of blush worthy sexy- time passages which is something I usually shy away from in my choice of reads BUT it was tactful and not overly protracted which made me enjoy the book even more.


Overall: If you're into an adult Pokemon(like) fantasy world with heart racing explicit scenes and damn good World and Character development... then this page turner should be on your radar!!

~Enjoy!

*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

Truly Devious

Truly Devious - Maureen Johnson

I am a well...no, scratch that... I am an ocean of adoration, confusion, and affectionate Feels for this book!!

 

I have to admit that I am quite behind on my ARC reviews BUT I felt like I needed to take some time to read some of the other lovelies on my radar that are not on my early review pile. Note: I'm about to fangirl all over this review so brace yourself.

 

Do you love brilliant, eccentric, expertly crafted characters? Check!

 

Do you love enigmatic "Who Done It"s starring quirky teenage virtuosos that are dealing with untimely deaths and also learning to navigate the terrain of their newly budding hormones? Check!

 

Do you love confusing cliffy endings? Double Check!!

 

Ok, now that we've established that you're in the right place, let's move along.

 

I feel the need to shout from the rafters...I LOVED this book and its writing! The writing was smooth and paced perfectly! The humor was slight, alluring and hysterical (in a subtle way). It held me firmly with rapt attention and I was incapable of dragging myself away. It was amazing how the pages, and hours, just melted away leaving behind a bewildered person shaped puddle.

 

I also LOVED the entire cast! I especially fell for the present day MC, Stevie! She was quietly, nimbly, unapologetically brilliant! She was observant, tenacious and felt like a female Sherlock Holmes... or a CSI- Crime Scene Investigator...or even more aptly a Criminal Minds behavioral analyst... MAN I used to watch too much criminal TV. Anywho, Stevies' best friend, Janelle, was a much appreciated POC representative that happened to be gay and also into the Sciences. GO STEM Ladies!! Nate was a subdued wet blanket but a really good friend in a pinch who put aside his own fears in order to help out a friend. Then there was David... ohhhh David. He was rude and fickle, offputting and angsty but about half way in I fell for his backhanded allure. He was devilishly charming, disarming, a flat out ass AND then back to an exquisitely delicious love interest.

 

Be warned: there were dueling time periods, which normally irks me to no end BUT it worked here and was even remarkably satisfying. The duality felt like there were two mysteries unfolding simultaneously, which there was, and it was pulled off seamlessly.

Now on to that ending...That ending... holy hell in a handbasket!!! I am a mess right now with theories swirling around my head. I am Sooooo confused. I NEED the next book Toot Sweet! I am exclamation point crazy over this!! I know this whole book was carefully crafted to set up for more books to come but come on... that ending was too cliffy for my brain-heart-Feels to take!! I loved David by the end BUT what the hey hey?? Just be prepared to be abruptly confused, annoyed and in love all at the same time.

 

Overall: I am a fanatic for this book!! It's going straight into my favorites list. It will not pass GO or collect any cash but it will live on in my pile of literary loves, which I happen to adore more than cash... well.... maybe not but I still loved this book. It happened to be Mysterious and Unconventional and so well paced that I tore through it like it was my personal letter from Hogwarts!! It caused me to (over)use the exclamation point like I have never before... like I invented the damn thing. Not so unlike my punctuation craze, I was also infatuated with the writing, world development and character development. They were all spot on. The character development was my favorite by far. I loved-loathed & felt deeply for each and every character. I can't gush enough about my affections for this book! I highly reccomend it!!

 

~ Enjoy!

 

Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones by Micah Dean Hicks

This voracious bibliophile is all about scene staging. It is an absolute necessity in a good/great/satisfying read. This gruesome story had that in spades!

 

The premise was unique, which scores major points with me. Taking one look at the book's title, I obviously expected some dark material but I was not prepared for some of the head tripy-ness this book dishes out. Just thinking about being harrassed by a needy ghost that can cause you to black out... whose actions you are not privy to, essentially causing you to be an unwilling passenger in your own body, now THAT'S creepy.

 

The writing was stark, succinct and unapologetically laid bare for the reader to take it or leave it. BUT let's forget for the moment the whole "ghosts being able to hop inside a person's body and take it for a spin" aspect... asking us to suspend reality enough to allow for ghosts that swarm inanimate objects like cars, music boxes and drains, causing them to fail and clog stretches my frivolity tolerance a bit too thin. The world building, on the other hand, was evocative and sinister as all hell. There were loads of ghosts that don't understand personal boundaries that can overload things as well as people... there were people not haunted with ghosts who were psycho, agro killers anyway... and then there were people just trying to survive this crazy town. My favorite characters were side characters though. I really liked Bethany, Henry and his father. They each brought a fragile yet resilient dimension to the plot. I loved how broken they were not only because it was interesting to see how they dealt with it but to also see how they "fixed" themselves and their situations in the end. I liked Henry, his tinkering brain, and his brilliant, mad scientist ghost interloper who tried and tried but couldn't seem to get anything right. I loved how strong Bethany was and how determined she remained. Henry's father helped out in the weirdest times but for someone so out of touch with reality, he was somehow there for his kids in a pinch.

 

One thing I hate to say is that I could only get through this in spurts. The plot was sufficiently ghoulish but it just didn't grab ahold of my attention and keep it there. There was an unfortunate case of insta-love, which annoys me to no end but at least it wasn't drawn out with deep, protracted declarations. Also, the ending was a tad confusing. I totally love anything and everything about alternate dimensions BUT it wasn't described with enough detail and therefore, it wasn't wrapped up as neatly as I think it was going for. I am definitely not one who needs a story to be wrapped up with a sparkly bow but it did feel like that was where it was going and if so, it failed.


Overall: This nightmarish read was solid. The writing was good and the world building even better. The character development was not as stellar but was still decent. If I could have read it straight through, no stopping and starting and stopping again, I would have rated it higher but as it is, it's a good, macabre story.

*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

The Devouring Gray

The Devouring Gray - Christine Lynn Herman

Sometimes a book niggles at you at every turn, causing you to do the Pick me Up Put me Down game- begging to be read in spurts...

 

Sometimes it snags and scratches at your patience- repeatedly begging to be thrown across the room at high velocity...

 

Sometimes it firmly grasps your attention with lyrically verbose writing and promises of better things yet to come...

 

AND

 

Sometimes it sticks to you like an industrial strength glue that seems impossible to break free from until the very last word is read and the spell is broken...


This book definitely falls squarely within the latter group. It was a creepy, mysterious ride. It wasn't elegant prose, gut-punches in the feels, high octane action or epic battles (although the faceoff at the end was pretty cool) that had me hooked. What had me happily stuck was the ever pressing need to know more... constantly asking "what the heck is going on?" and "What will happen next?".


Christine Lynn Herman sprinkled breadcrumb clues throughout, feeding my greed...my need to know ever more. It was suspenseful, slightly disturbing and the pacing was great. The world building and character development were solid. There were juicy town secrets and Power Plays by both Suped up Humans and Creature alike. Speaking of the dastardly creature... it actually made me second guess who I thought the true monster was at one point BUT in the end it was VERY apparent. There was a modicum of melodrama and the ever popular who did what to whom Blame Game. There was also a lot of "It wasn't me, I'm too righteous for such actions" and finger pointing all around. Reading this little town's deep dark secrets felt illicit. This is definitely how I picture town life in a tiny, non diverse, exceedingly eccentric, homogeneous, Tradition-centric town.


Overall: Was this book Epic? No. Was it deep and poetic?? Also no BUT it was satisfying through and through and I liked it, I really did!


*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

The Night House

The Night House - J. C. McKenzie

Talk about addictive!! I picked this up and couldn't put it down until the very last tantalizing word. I inhaled this book in one sitting. I'm here, eyes burning from lack of sleep, throat sore from hours of disuse and poor hydration, wishing for more. There was Magic, court intrigue and Action. There was a swoon worthy slow burn. There were minor sexy time moments but mostly there was a need to read on, to live inside this world a moment longer. The world building was great and the character development even better. The pacing was intense and the action fierce. There was a butt kicking, wise ass heroine that you can really get behind and then there's Thane..... oh man is there Thane!! He was Yummmmy with a capital Y! He might have come off as too perfect though because no man can know the most elegantly perfect thing to say at the exact right moment... or at least no man I've met on this side of the pages. I was given a copy of this book but I honestly would have happily bought it. The only things that could have improved the experience were to have it be longer and to have more Thane... MUCH more Thane!!

 

Over all: I loved it!! I loved every second of this book and wished/craved/needed more! I'm sorry it ended and enjoyed every glorious moment in seclusion, immersed in this world.

 

*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

Descendant of the Crane.... SOOO good!!

Descendant of the Crane - Joan He

This book exceeded any and all expectations I had before, during and after reading it!! I am absolutely floored by how quickly and completely it drew me in and ensnared me. If you're looking for a wild emotional rollercoaster ride with courtly intrigue and a gut punching plot? read on...

 

There were a slew of things going on simultaneously and almost nothing was as it seemed on the surface. It wasn't until the epilogue that I got the full breadth and scope of the book. There was a regicide trial. There was a war brewing. There was a budding/highly unlikely romance slowly percolating. There were magical people being persecuted and there were rampant duplicitous actions abound.

 

Our MC, Hesina, ascends the throne early on but who can she trust? Can she trust anyone? Can she even trust her fallible memories? She is young, malleable, impetuous, head strong, stubborn and a bit naive SO is she ready to rule? Is she ready to rule a country on the brink of war? With nefarious people and deeds amiss, can she navigate court and ferret out her father's murderer? I was swiftly swept up in the beauty of the writing, the plot, the world building and most of all the complex loveable/loatheable characters. There were twists and turns... even the turns had turns. I got to a point where I found myself saying (to myself) "I've read enough books in my life to see where this is going" I sat with a sneer on my face and then BAM!!! our MC was sitting in the dirt and the game totally changed. Not only didn't I see major plot twists ahead of time, I apparently had no idea what game was being played altogether. As you can imagine this left me wanting.. nay, needing more. I couldn't stop reading. I made excuses to hide away and read just a bit more. I waited in my daughter's car rider line, at school, an hour early just so I could continue reading. I read while the rest of the family watched t.v. together. I skipped meals and read through the dead of the night. I was addicted... in the best possible sense. I was a puppet on Joan He's strings and reacted just as she commanded. I loved then loathed then loved then felt conflicted right on cue... AND that ending... it slayed me!! I might have cried. Okay, I did cry but I dare you not to shed some (completely understandable) tears. I was swept up in all of the emotions. I am still reeling days after finishing the book. I let it sit and ruminate in my mind to see if the endorphin high would wear off but I am still just as touched and obsessed as when I read the very last word. I desperately wish I could start over again, naive to what lay ahead...experience this book anew. BUT alas...it will have to live on in my memories and of course in my favorites list.

 

Over all: I LOVED this book!! It deftly elicited all the Feels. It ran me through the gamut of emotions and surprised me at almost every turn. I did guess one twist but that seems paltry compared to how many there were that I failed to foresee. This is going straight to my favorites list and I will wait until the end of time for book #2!! If you're still reading this... what are you waiting for?? Go and pick this one up toot sweet!

~ Enjoy


*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***

Magician's Secret by Zachary Hyman

When we first begin the story we are told that the Magician's Secret is the wonderous and unknown factor of Magic. Even though magic plays a role in grandpa's life (he was a magician), what Charlie really treasures most is his time with grandpa in the attic telling tales about grandpa's life and adventures with the items inside the Magic Story Chest. Stories of grandpa in a dogfight with the Red Baron...Rat-A-Tat-Tat...stories of how grandpa outwitted a T-Rex... Zing! Zing! Zing!...and more. It tells how sadly, most grownups have lost their ability to imagine great big daydreams of possibilities. To this grandpa tells Charlie that they don't have faith in make-believe anymore and that using your imagination can do amazing things like turning a dream into something real. Grandpa teaches Charlie that magic is not only all around us, it's in us too and there's tremendous power in Belief. This book not only has beautiful pictures but a beautiful message to boot. I think we all could stand to remind ourselves to stop and take some time out of our very important/serious/responsible day and just think incredible thoughts and dream miraculous dreams. The power of imagination and belief are not only crucial to the development and wellbeing of our kids but we as adults could stand to be reminded every now and again as well. The Magician's Secret does just that. It is written very well and flows nicely. Sure to be treasured by your little believer.

 

*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***