Winter Glass

Winter Glass by Lexa Hillyer is the sequel and conclusion to the Spindle Fire duology.

In this one we pick up where we left off. Isbe and Aurora have been reunited and that reunion has caused a domino-like effect on the kingdom of Deluce. Aurora has been torn from her dream world, where she could talk and feel, and brought back to a world where she is but a pretty symbol. Isbe has returned from Aurbon with Prince William in toe and even though the pair share an intimacy that neither want to give up, the prince must now marry Aurora to hold the alliance.

Amidst this all is Queen Malfleur, who is turning the people into monsters and determined to get… well.. more. More power. More control. Nothing is enough for this evil queen.

And in this fairytale world, as in most, the only way out is through… Isbe and Aurora must look within themselves to face the battles ahead as well as truths neither want to face. Will Isbe and Aurora beat Malfleur or will the cost be too great?

Just like my review of the first book, there was just something missing here for me. It was an interesting fairytale retelling and I still really like this idea of fairy tithes, but it was just a book that I could finish and not think about again. Something that kept me entertained for a bit but made no real impression on me.

I was actually a bit confused by the book actually… well mostly Aurora’s story. In the first book, Heath was such an important part of her story and Wren was more of a side character for her and yet in this one the roles are completely reversed and Heath is sort of pushed to the side. Almost like the author didn’t know what to do with him outside of that fairy dream world. This bothered me.

I was also bother by the fact that it was such a big deal in the first book that William marry Aurora and he an Isbe can’t/can/can’t/can/can’t be together but in this one the obstacle again like fluffed over, just like Heath. It’s almost as if the author finished the first book and wanted to keep the same characters but also wanted to write a different story. THAT’S what this felt like to me, a different book.

Not a bad read but meh. This one gets a middle of the road 3 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

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Deranged Angels and Cannibal Hearts

Deranged Angels and Cannibal Hearts is the third book in the Dead Things series.

*Spoiler Alter-Don’t read this review if you intend on reading the first two books*

We pick up after the disastrous end of the second book. Quinn is with Silas and still soulless; Mace is still a ghost and Ember is devastated, and Evangeline is dead; there are missing limbs, kidnappings, PTSD and more death. Our ragtag pack of misfits are in pretty dire straights.

One thing is for certain, the pack will only survive the coming battles by working together as one. But this is easier said then done. Secrets are running rampant, omissions and lies hide the truth, and mistrust leads to fractures within the group.

Can the pack overcome their differences and fight together for the good of their town? For the good of everyone? 

So, I started my review of the second book by saying that a lot happens over the course of the book… Like a lot. Which, if I am being honest, got me a little lost in this one. I couldn’t for the life of me remember who Evangeline was, except that she died and when I went back to the character overviews in the beginning, of course there was no recap of Evangeline. After finishing this whole book, I still can’t recall her a 100%.

The individual stories in this book work for me. The pairings, the drama, separately they work. However, there was something about the flow that didn’t quite bring all of these stories together. Could it be that there was just so much going on that I was waiting for the pieces to all fall together… maybe. Maybe everything will be summed up and tied into nice little knots in the last book and all will be well in the world. But for now, I feel like I am playing the waiting game. Waiting for all the pieces to fit.

The characters are still quite realistically sarcastic, which I like. We use sarcasms and snark so much in the real world that it is good to see an author who can use it correctly. Although Kai was starting to annoy me a little bit with his whinny, but well-founded, panic/fears. Two couples I do like though are Ilsa and Wren and whatever is going on with Tristen and Tate.

Finally, I had a really, really hard time getting past the editing. For two pages, the wrong characters name was used–I mean really? There were also a lot of… wrong words. Using he instead of him, I’m instead of I–that sort of thing. I just have a really hard time looking past that sort of thing, which often makes my reviews a bit harsher than they would be otherwise.

I am invested in this story and need to see where it ends up but because of the above (mostly the editing), this one only gets a grudging three stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is the first book in a new West African inspired fantasy series.

Zélie Adebola was only a little girl when magic was taken from Orïsha. She was only a small child when her mother was taken away in chains and murdered for her maji blood. But she was old enough to remember the way the world was and what was lost.

Zélie and her people are treated like “maggots;” they are taxed just for breathing and when they can’t pay their taxes they are thrown in the stocks. More than ten years later Zélie and her family are still living with the consequences of “the raid” and under the thumb of a ruthless ruler.

When chance–or fate–leads Zélie on a journey to restore magic, will she be strong enough to be the hope her people need? With her brother and rouge princess in tow, Zélie must trust in the gods and in her own abilities to save the maji from persecution and death.

Children of Blood and Bone is really unlike any other. I’ve been really interested in fantasy books that take place in different settings lately. Recently, I’ve read ones that take place in Russia, the Middle East, Japan and now West Africa. I just love the diverse settings and the different feel these settings give to the genre.

The world building here was well done, although I felt that some history was lacking. Lots of allusions to the past but not many “facts.” One of the things I like to know, when entering a new world, is hints to how that world came to be. Maybe we will get more of a backstory in book two.

The plot is action packed and racially charged. The pace feels quick to go along with the plot and the violence, persecution and more can relate to today’s society–which if you listen to the author’s notes, was the intent.

My only hesitation with this book was the romance. The story started out so great and then there was this all consuming romance that I was really scared would take over a stellar plot. Fortunately, it did take a back-burner but for some reason this is a series where I want the romance to be in the margins.

The narrator of this audiobook was great. I think she really helped to create this world of Orïsha in a way that just reading might not have done. This one gets 4.5 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Rules of Magic

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman is a prequel to her best selling novel Practical Magic.

For the Owens family, magic is in their blood and love is a curse–neither escapable. It’s the end of the fifties in New York City and three siblings are about to learn the reason for their mother’s strange rules: “No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love.”

Franny, Jet and Vincent are each unique in their own way–Franny has a way with birds and fiery red hair; Jet is beautiful and kind and can read peoples thoughts; and Vincent everybody’s favorite and has a penchant for mischief. When Franny turns 17, the siblings travel to Massachusetts to spend the summer with their mysterious Aunt Isabel and their lives are never the same.

As the Owens siblings grow up they will learn what it means to have magic, how to fight fear and what it means to live and love.

I really enjoyed this one. It was definitely more character driven then plot driven in my opinion–though, I feel many would argue this point. It was really interesting seeing how the aunts from Practical Magic came to be the people they are. You don’t really think about their history too much before this book.

As much as I like Fanny’s and Jet’s storylines, I think Vincent’s really drove the story a lot of the time. I know Franny was supposed to be like the glue to the family but Vincent was just such an interesting character and you really see how he changes and how his future affects his present. It’s been so long since I’ve read Practical Magic, that I can’t remember if he pops up at all, but I really hope there are hints of him that I am forgetting.

This was an enjoyable read. It get’s 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Ever The Brave

Ever the Brave by Erin Summerill is the second book in A Clash of Kingdoms.

After saving King Aodren, Britta finds that her channeler powers have connected them, forging a bond between the two that keeps pulling them together. All Britta wants to do is live out her life in her father’s cottage with the man she’s loved since she was a girl. But now that life is threatened and Britta is now the one being hunted.

Evildoers want Britta, so they can control her powers and make her do unspeakable things. Britta must learn to harness her power and control them before she loses herself and the ones she loves.

Can Britta save herself and help the rest of her fellow channlers? And what repercussions will this bond to the king mean for her?

I will admit, I was not the biggest fan of the first book in this series. Ever The Hunted didn’t wow me and neither did this one. In my opinion this series suffers from the old show/tell problem. I felt like I was being told how to feel rather than being able to feel it for myself. The emotions of our characters were either really high or really low, there was never this middle ground where many of our most interesting feelings lie.

I said in my review of the first book that it felt like the romance was forced and made it feel like the story took second place. I feel exactly the same way with our love triangle in Ever the Brave. The plight of the kingdom and the Channeler’s didn’t really matter as much as who Britta would choose to love. And what information we got about this world wasn’t nearly fleshed out enough.

That being said, I love the titles of these books. They are just fun to say. And I think many will find this an entertain read. It just had too much in some respects and too little in others. Will I read the next one, yes. Am I looking forward to it, not really.

This one gets 2 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-

Beneath the Sugar Sky

Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire is the third book in the Wayward Children series.

We’re back at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children with some new and some familiar faces. As always, Eleanor takes in children who have found their doorways and somehow have lost them again. In this book a nonsense girl named, Rini, from a candy world, falls from the sky looking for her mother.

When Sumi found her doorway, it was predicted that she would do great things and that she would have a daughter. But Sumi died years before finding her way back to her candy coated world… but a nonsense world doesn’t always follow linear rules and now her daughter Rini is here to bring Sumi home.

Can Rini and a band of misfit wayward children do the impossible and bring Sumi back to life? And what troubles… what worlds will they find along the way?

I can’t tell you enough how much I adore this series of little books. Beneath the Sugar Sky gives the reader another look at the “worlds” children fall into–the doorways they stumble through. McGuire creates these sometimes zany, sometimes creepy, sometimes fantastically nutty worlds that I just love peaking into.

One of my favorite things about this series is that each book can easily stand up by its own. Yes, you get a bit of background about the school for wayward children in the first book and some of the characters from the first book appear in the subsequent ones, but I still think anyone could read any of these and be transported.

In each book, McGuire gives you a little more insight into these doorways and other worlds–you learn a little more about how they work. You get a whole new level of information in this book that makes these worlds a little more complex and interesting. But, for readers who aren’t interested in the how and why, you aren’t overwhelmed by details. This series can literally be for everyone.

Have I convinced you yet? Do yourself a favor and pick up this series. Another Wayward book that gets five stars from me!

That’s all for now!

-M-

The Girl In The Tower

The Girl In The Tower by Katherine Arden is the second book in the Winternight Trilogy.

After surviving a night of nightmares and putting her town back to rights the best she could, Vasya finds herself once again at the Frost Demon’s door. Vasya has been labeled a witch by her village, she doesn’t know what to do or where to go–she knows only that she wants to see the world and be more than the wife and mother she was expected to become.

When chance finds her in Moscow, masquerading as a boy, Vasya must learn to blend in or risk revealing herself. Now Vasya must guard her identity and navigate a society of rules, politics and drink or risk losing the freedom she has gained as a man. All the while, dark forces are at work and Vasya is at risk of losing a game she didn’t even know she was playing.

Will Vasya ever be able to face the reality of who or what she is? Will she ever understand this powerful connection she has with the Frost Demon and the world of the demovi? And what will she be willing to sacrifice to protect those she loves?

The first book in this series was so complete that I was actually very surprised to find that there was going to be a second book, let alone third. I absolutely adored the first book. The mixture of myth and folklore, Russian culture and scenery were just extremely well done. Now in The Girl In The Tower we get a little less magic and myth and a little more society and the political culture of the time. And I think it was because of this that I wasn’t as enamored with the book.

This book does, however, achieve second book status in my opinion. In a trilogy, you usual get introductions and backstory in the first book, build up and intrigue in the second, and action and resolution in the third. Vasya and the demovi world were laid out for us and we met our core characters in the first book; in this one we learn more about why this secret world is fading and we learn that there is much more at work behind the scenes.

The Girl In The Tower addresses a lot of themes as well. We get gender roles and inequality, political turmoil, family roles and reversals and more. There is also just a feeling a magic and fairy tale-esq qualities in this book that gives it a very authentic feel.

Overall, this was a book that I enjoyed and I can’t wait to get more Vasya and Morozko in the final book. This one gets 4 stars from me.

That’s all for now!

-M-