Happy Book Birthday – Auralict (The Divided Realms #3)

Title: Auralict13301603
Series: The Divided Realms (#3)
Author: Maggie L. Wood
Pages: 346
Release Date: September 30, 2015 (TODAY!)
Find it on Goodreads!

Following the nightmares of the Goblin’s Gauntlet, Willow faces life with a broken spirit and a broken heart. She is easy prey for the seductive faerie prince, Theon Thornheart, who tempts her with a powerful, addictive elixir that warps her magic. Meanwhile, dark forces in Clarion set the stage for a new Game that will place humans, faeries, and goblins in a magical battle of wits. Does Willow have the strength to resist Theon’s temptation and the ability to restore the Balance of the realms?

Buy it from: Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Chapters/Indigo | Kobo

It’s been a long time coming, but finally, the third book in The Divided Realms series has been released! If you’re a long-time fan (and you’ve waited even half as long as I have to get your hands on this book) there’s no time to waste! Will Willow and Brand end up mending their shattered relationship? Will Dacia find a way to enter the wold of Mistolear? Will the goblins make it to earth? What is Theon up to, and whose side is he really on? And what in the world has Malvin been up to?

But if you’re new to the series, let me introduce you to…

Title: Captured26804059
Series: The Divided Realms (#1)
Author: Maggie L. Wood
Pages: 199
Find it on Goodreads!

Willow Kingswell has been listening to her Nana’s tales of enchanted kingdoms for as long as she can remember. But when she is transported to the realm of Mistolear, she is stunned to learn that the stories were true. Suddenly, Willow has to fit into a royal family she didn’t know she had, deal with customs she doesn’t understand, and sort out her feelings for Brand, the knight who has sworn to protect her. Willow may also be the key to saving Mistolear from a terrifying spell that has trapped two kingdoms in a life-or-death chess match. Could she, a meager pawn, really be the most powerful piece on the board?

Buy it from: Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Chapters/IndigoKobo

Title: The Darkening26804095
Series: The Divided Realms (#2)
Author: Maggie L. Wood
Pages: 203
Find it on Goodreads!

Life in a magical realm is anything but normal for reluctant princess, Willow Farrandale, but she is doing her best to adjust. She enjoys spending time with her new friends, especially her sworn knight Brand – despite his infuriatingly old-fashioned rules about “proper courtship.”

The peace does not last long, however, as a misstep in Clarion dooms Willow to play another faerie Game. Willow and Brand are thrown into the Goblin King’s Gauntlet, where a host of bloodthirsty creatures are on the hunt. Their only companions are two faerie siblings – the wily, inscrutable Dacia and the seductive Theon. Can Willow and Brand trust their “allies,” or are the siblings playing their own sinister Game?

Buy it from: Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Chapters/IndigoKobo

I loved these books when I was in middle school, and I’m already about halfway through Auralict right now–I promise it won’t disappoint! I should hopefully have a review coming in the next week or two, so keep your eye out if you’re curious about the end of this fantastic series! Plus, I have an interview with the author herself lined up, so if you’ve ever had anything you’ve wanted to ask about the series, now’s your chance! Just comment below and I’ll do my best to include it.

*And as a fun bonus, maybe you remember the series when it was first published by Sumach Press? Here are the original covers and original titles:

357657  1569115

Advertisements

Waiting On Wednesday – Last Song Before Night

Title: Last Song Before Night23704941
Author: Ilana C. Myer
Pages: 417
Published by: Tor Books
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Find it on Goodreads!

A high fantasy following a young woman’s defiance of her culture as she undertakes a dangerous quest to restore her world’s lost magic in Ilana C. Myer’s Last Song Before Night.

Her name was Kimbralin Amaristoth: sister to a cruel brother, daughter of a hateful family. But that name she has forsworn, and now she is simply Lin, a musician and lyricist of uncommon ability in a land where women are forbidden to answer such callings–a fugitive who must conceal her identity or risk imprisonment and even death.

On the eve of a great festival, Lin learns that an ancient scourge has returned to the land of Eivar, a pandemic both deadly and unnatural. Its resurgence brings with it the memory of an apocalypse that transformed half a continent. Long ago, magic was everywhere, rising from artistic expression-from song, from verse, from stories. But in Eivar, where poets once wove enchantments from their words and harps, the power was lost. Forbidden experiments in blood divination unleashed the plague that is remembered as the Red Death, killing thousands before it was stopped, and Eivar’s connection to the Otherworld from which all enchantment flowed, broken.

The Red Death’s return can mean only one thing: someone is spilling innocent blood in order to master dark magic. Now poets who thought only to gain fame for their songs face a challenge much greater: galvanized by Valanir Ocune, greatest Seer of the age, Lin and several others set out to reclaim their legacy and reopen the way to the Otherworld-a quest that will test their deepest desires, imperil their lives, and decide the future.

Pre-order it from: Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | B&N | Chapters/Indigo

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books on my Fall TBR

bookrecsandpaperweightsTTT

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week, I’m listing my ten most anticipatory reads on my fall TBR! (But in no particular order…)


sorcerer_front mech.indd  13206900  23704941

Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho
Winter, by Marissa Meyer
Last Song Before Night, by Ilana C. Myer

23127048  Fire-Falling-Cover-Only  24795912

Air Awakens, by Elise Kova
Fire Falling, by Elise Kova
Worlds of Ink and Shadow, by Lena Coakley

18464362  18798983  21569527

Updraft, by Fran Wilde
The Wrath & The Dawn, by Renee Ahdieh
The Heart of Betrayal, by Mary E. Pearson

21936937

Blackhearts, by Nicole Castroman

Book Review – The Sin Eater’s Daughter (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1)

Title: The Sin Eater’s Daughter21936988
Series: The Sin Eater’s Daughter (#1)
Author: Melinda Salisbury
Pages: 336
Published by: Scholastic Press
Release Date: February 26, 2015
Find it on Goodreads!

MY RATING: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS. 100% RECOMMENDED (FOR THE STRONG OF HEART)

I am the perfect weapon.
I kill with a single touch.

Twylla is blessed. The Gods have chosen her to marry a prince, and rule the kingdom. But the favour of the Gods has it’s price. A deadly poison infuses her skin. Those who anger the queen must die under Twylla’s fatal touch.

Only Lief, an outspoken new guard, can see past Twylla’s chilling role to the girl she truly is.

Yet in a court as dangerous as the queen’s, some truths should not be told…

~My Thoughts~

I’m going to warn you right now–this book will break your heart.

You think the story will unfold like the summary tells you it will. There’s the beautiful prince, fated to marry Twylla, and the brash young guard who comes to know her better than anyone. There’s the dangerous, powerful, manipulative queen, and a court that bends and sways at her desire. There’s a lush fantasy world; incredible and original magic; and a conspiracy hidden in plain sight. There’s tension, mystery, great characters, and brilliant writing. And there’s romance, one so hot and so sweet you can’t help but swoon~

But it’s a trap! IT’S A F*CKING TRAP.

This book will pull you in. You’ll fall in love with Twylla, with her little sister that she loves more than the world, with the prince who needs her help, with the guard who steals her heart. You’ll come to hate the way the Queen abuses her power, how ruthless and cold she can be, but be warmed by the friendly smile of the king at her side, and the tenderness you catch glimpses of in her son. You will be swallowed, headfirst, by the seamless and captivating writing; you will be crushed by the loss Twylla suffers in her short and isolated life. And when the book is finished, the last page finally empty in your hands, you will remember the story for what it was: A GIANT, UNFORGIVABLE DISASTER.

The ending of this novel will carve out your heart and crush it under someone’s heel. It will run hot and toxic through your blood until the heartache turns to blinding rage. I was so upset with the ending of this book that I not only gave it ZERO OUT OF FIVE STARS, I also kicked it under my couch, refused to look at it, or touch it, for days, and lay on the floor fuming for HOURS. The end of this book just broke my heart.

So I will recommend it, absolutely. It’s been a few months now, and I can give credit where credit is due. Melinda creates something so breathtakingly good that for a split second you forget yourself. You forget that you’re reading a book about a princess who falls in love with her guard instead of the prince, you forget that there’s kind of a love triangle (but not really), you forget that this book has one of the best religious sub-plots you’ve ever, ever seen. You forget that Twylla is strong and kick-ass, that Lief is headstrong and passionate. Melinda makes you forget everything, because all that matters is the story as it’s happening under your hands, as it flashes before your eyes. So when the ending comes, you don’t see it coming at all.

You’ll get to the end and you’ll say to yourself, “I should have known.” And you’re right. In any other book, you would have seen the ending coming from a mile away. But in this book, it completely blindsides you. It guts you raw and leaves you out for the crows. And then it ends, and you’re left with nothing but the shattered pieces of your heart and the burning knowledge that you need revenge, on something, on anyone, and you won’t get it until the second book comes out sometime next year.

So read this book–you absolutely must read this book. Read it for the electric chemistry between the characters, for the characters that come to life and pull you effortlessly into their world. Read it for the beautiful writing, the amazing pacing, the incredible protagonist, and the guard you’ll fall in love with before you can stop yourself. Read it for the Sin Eater herself, a woman who will change the way you think about villains, a woman who you’ll come to respect even if you never wanted too. Read it for the plot, for the world, for the descriptions and the fighting and the tension and the magic.

But please, for the love of all things, read this book at your own risk. And don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Buy it from: Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | B&N | Chapters/Indigo

Ebook Review – Voice of Gods (Blood of Gods and Royals #0.5)

Title: Voice of Gods25546222
Series: Blood of Gods and Royals (#0.5)
Author: Eleanor Herman
Pages: Varies by device (it’s an ebook exclusively)
Published by: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: July 15, 2015
Find it on Goodreads!

My Rating: 2 OUT OF 5 STARS. RECOMMENDED FOR THOSE WHO PLAN TO READ LEGACY OF KINGS.
OTHERWISE, IT’S A PAPERWEIGHT.

As the end of an age approaches, gods whisper horrors, families scheme for power, and one woman may hold the secret to a lost legacy.

At 19, Ada of Caria yearns to take the Snake Blood throne from her mad older siblings—and seeks the help of a young orphaned girl named Helen, the first True Oracle to have walked the earth in more than three hundred years.

Helen may be able to channel the voice of the gods, but she hates her gift, and will do anything to get rid of it—even lie to her best friend, Myrtale, the priestess-princess of Epirus who is destined to marry King Philip II of Macedon even though she loves another. And in the shadows lurks a handsome green-eyed stranger who has more at stake—and more to lose—than anyone could possibly imagine.Amid jealousy and heartbreak, torrid affairs and secret rendezvous, it is spoken by the gods that either Helen or Myrtale —newly named Olympias— will carry the destiny of the known world within her womb.

The prequel to LEGACY OF KINGS, VOICE OF GODS traces the intricate web of love and betrayal that led up to the birth of history’s most powerful leader, Alexander the Great.

~My Thoughts~

I had fairly high hopes for this novella, mostly because I’ve been really excited about reading Legacy of Kings, which is the first full-length novel in this series. Sadly, I was fairly disappointed by this book, for several reasons.

First, I found the time jumps between chapters really abrupt. Almost every chapter opens with “three years later”, “a week later”, “three weeks later”, and after a while, I just felt like there were huge chunks of the story missing. I can understand why this was done–it’s only a novella, after all, and there’s not a whole lot of time for the author to spend bridging all the gaps in the story–but by the end of the book, I felt like all the jumps were basically cop-outs. Instead of trying to flesh out the story, Herman tried to cover as much material as possible, leaving her novella feeling like the shell of a story instead of an actual story.

Second, in terms of characterization, I feel like it was handled poorly. Ada felt more like a plot device than a character, because she seemed to serve only the purpose of helping Helen. She gave Helen a place to live and protected her–that’s pretty much it. I loved the idea of her Snake Blood, but that wasn’t explored anywhere near enough. As for Myrtale/Olympias, I didn’t like her character much at all. I feel like she was supposed to be a character of great strength and ambition? Because instead of knowing that, I was only told, repeatedly, that she was ambitious; I never really saw it. She wanted to be Queen, sure, but she definitely didn’t strike me as a particularly driven character. She just didn’t seem to be doing anything to achieve her goals–she just had some. As for her being a strong character, she wasn’t that either. She was completely dependent on the people in her life, especially her lover. He was her entire world, her primary focus, and I feel like that took a lot away from her character. Lastly, to touch quickly on Helen, I never ended up feeling much for her. Her power was cool, and I liked the involvement of smoke in the activation of her gift, but she felt very flat as well. I mean, I can understand why she was so upset about essentially having to choose between talking to the gods or being a virgin for life, but she didn’t seem to have any other characteristic. She either lusted for sex or she spat out oracles that she understood pretty much right away. Her character had no mystery and no depth.

Third, the sexual/romantic content in this story needed a lot of work. The story felt like it put the romance first, the history second, and the plot last, if that helps explain anything. And for a book with such a heavy dependence on the romance, the one sex scene in the book is a fade-to-black, where the character wakes up afterwards in ecstasy and pain. There’s other hints at sex, of course, but nothing is explicit, which feels strange, seeing as the few times sex almost occurs for one of the characters, everything is fairly detailed. Where the would-be lover’s hands are, how the girl is feeling, how hot their bodies become. But then sex is just–I gave myself to him, and then I woke up and it was over. It felt like so strange after all the emphasis on romance for the sex in this story to be avoided so painfully.

Fourth, in regards to the historical element of the story, the details were handled well, but envisioning the world itself was really difficult. I feel like the story slid very quickly into dialogue and inner monologue, which is fine, but each chapter had roughly the same set up: description of time of day or location, followed by dialogue and events. After a while, I stopped being able to see the world where the story was happening. Everything was just a dark corridor or bedroom, without embellishment. Personally, I need description in order to bring the plot and the characters to life; I feel like description is a character all of its own, and without it, the world is flat, colourless, and lifeless. I just couldn’t see what in the world was going on in some of the chapters, and even cities that should have been beautiful, like Halicarnassus, held no life for me.

Finally, I felt like the plot of the story was badly planned out. The summary for the novella implies a lot of things that the story itself does not deliver. The man with the green eyes comes and goes, and the two children of prophecy (Helen’s and Olympias’) don’t even have a role in the story at all. I spent all novel waiting for something important to happen with these children, but nothing came. And there’s also no sense of mystery about whose child will be “the one”, seeing as Olympias is very clearly giving birth to Alexander the Great, so…there’s no sense of suspense there at all. And the story itself just of ends, at the end. There’s no arch in the plot, no ups and downs. The story just trudges along and then ends, with all the problems of the second last chapter solved by a few lines in what is essentially an epilogue.

The one great thing about this book is the fact that it provides the backstory to Legacy of Kings, which I am still looking forward to. But if it could have been better fleshed out, or summarized in some kind of prologue, it probably would have been better. Maybe Herman should have focused on one protagonist instead of 3? Because clearly dividing her attention between all these characters did not help her create a well-developed cast or world. If you’ll allow me to paraphrase Bilbo Baggins, the story essentially felt like it was butter spread over too much bread–and for this novella, that proves to be fatal.

Download it for FREE: amazon.ca | amazon.com | B&N

Waiting on Wednesday – Worlds of Ink and Shadow

Title: Worlds of Ink and Shadow24795912
Author: Lena Coakley
Pages: 352
Published by: Amulet Books
Release Date: January 5, 2015
Find it on Goodreads!

Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne. The Brontë siblings have always been inseparable. After all, nothing can bond four siblings quite like life in an isolated parsonage out on the moors. Their vivid imaginations lend them escape from their strict upbringing, actually transporting them into their created worlds: the glittering Verdopolis and the romantic and melancholy Gondal. But at what price? As Branwell begins to slip into madness and the sisters feel their real lives slipping away, they must weigh the cost of their powerful imaginations, even as their characters—the brooding Rogue and dashing Duke of Zamorna—refuse to let them go.

Gorgeously written and based on the Brontës’ juvenilia, Worlds of Ink & Shadow brings to life one of history’s most celebrated literary families.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Finished Series I Have YET to Finish

bookrecsandpaperweightsTTT

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week, I’ve made a list of ten finished series I haven’t finished yet, because…well, reasons.


4154255-5449795998-wot-c

1. The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan. These are some of my all-time favoutite books, but I only made it halfway through the seventh book before I got distracted by other books I needed to read. Suddenly, a few years had passed and I figured I needed to start the entire series over again. So now I’m back at book four, remembering exactly why I started this series in the first place. It’s a rich, beautifully written fantasy world without the violence, gore, or explicit sexual content that some hate about Game of Thrones. There’s magic, a phenomenal cast of characters, and the plot will oftentimes grab you by the fringe of your collar–I’ve read some of these books in 3 days, because man, sometimes the story just grabs you and won’t let go.

maximum-ridedownload

2. Maximum Ride, by James Patterson. I loved these books as a teenager, and I waited for each release date after book four. But Nevermore was supposed to be the last in the series–so the release of Forever really caught me off-guard. I wasn’t entirely happy with the ending of Nevermore, but I accepted it (partially because my OTP of the series was endgame, and that was really important to me). This series is definitely a fun, quick read, with some of the best characters I’ve ever read. They leap off the page, more alive than some people you actually know. Other than the characters, however, I’m not sure what to recommend about this series. The writing is typical Patterson, but the plot is flimsy at best, and the mechanics of the books are openly flawed. Nevertheless, a great series, so I’ll have to get my hands on Forever eventually.

The-Ascendance-Trilogy-the-false-prince-35473004-935-475

3. The Ascendance Trilogy, by Jennifer A. Nielsen. I’ve only read the first book in this series, but it was fantastic. I’ve even met Nielsen, and she’s equally fantastic. You’ll fall in love with her writing, if not her characters, and the premise of her series is executed with some of the most brilliance I’ve ever seen.

2f1ca383baac1a6de4c36ccd182dbb7b

4. Dust Lands, by Moira Young. The writing may not be for everyone (it’s written in broken English, to reflect how language has decayed in this dystopian world), but trust me, it’s worth getting used to. Young had created a dynamic female protagonist, and Jack is well-loved by many who have read the series. It’s fast-paced, thrilling, and suspenseful–definitely a series I mean to finish.

black-reckoning-three-books-2

5. The Books of Beginning, by John Stephens. The Emerald Atlas is not without its faults, but it still sits on the top shelf of my bookshelf and remains one of my favourite middle grade reads ever. It has the best execution of time travel I’ve ever seen, and the story itself is fun and thrilling. At the time I read The Emerald Atlas, it was only book of the series that was out–now that all the books are out, I really need to get back to series, but just haven’t found the time.

tumblr_static_tumblr_static_48cd8hfmkpq8cooocc0oscs0s_12806. Divergent, by Veronica Roth. I loved Divergent just as much as everyone else, but I never ended up reading the rest of the series? I always meant to, but I guess the massive hype quelled my interest for a long time. I own the second book, though, and I have no reason not to continue reading. If you love YA and you haven’t read this series, I’d high recommend giving them a try.

montage of dragon covers

7. The Last Dragon Chronicles, by Chris d’Lacey. I started reading this books back in middle school, and have been following the series since the release of Icefire. The premise of the series is original, absolutely, but plot gets steadily….more and more far-fetched as the books progress. The first two, maybe three are excellent, but by the fourth things start to get weird. The fifth was totally ridiculous, but the sixth well made up for that by being absolutely amazing. I own all the books, so I owe it to myself to see how everything wraps up. But it’s a bittersweet thing, knowing I only have one more book to go before the series is over. These books have meant a lot to me, and I’m sad to see the series end.

tumblr_inline_n5h6fpjdgh1s3kb9x

8. Gone, by Michael Grant. This is yet another series where I loved the first book, wanted to read the rest of the series, but at the time, there was only the first book out on shelves. So I read other things and moved on, although I always fondly remember how much I enjoyed reading Gone, and how many questions I still had about the series. Now my boyfriend’s younger brother has started reading them, and I almost feel like I need to stand behind my love of the books and finish before he does. Otherwise, he’ll drop a spoiler, I know he will, and that will kill me.

pj

9. Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan. Can I even write anything here without getting stoned? I read The Lightning Thief several years ago and didn’t like it. But I love the idea behind the series, so I’ve always promised myself I would go back and try the series again. Or maybe the next one; I took to Jason right away, which was nice, since I hated Percy right off the bat. One way or the other, I have to get back to these Riordan books so I can know what all the fuss has been about.

tumblr_static_legacy-trilogy

10. Legacy, by Cayla Kluver. I read Legacy several years ago when I was on my “I must read every book published by a teenager” kick. Of all the books by young authors that I read, Legacy ended up being one of my favourites. Kluver’s writing style is refined and her story is full of surprises. The romance is subtle, but the attraction between the main character and her love interest is undeniable. You’ll fall in love with the world Kluver has created, and her fantastic cast of secondary characters will endear you to the series if the main character somehow isn’t enough. I’ve always looked forward to finishing this series, and one day, I will.