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Genre: Magic

Friday, November 4, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Heartless

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Blog Tour, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Blog Tour Review: HeartlessHeartless by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 8th 2016
Genres: Emotions & Feelings, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Family, Fantasy, Friendship, Love & Romance, Magic, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Young Adult
Pages: 464
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
Setting: Wonderland
four-stars

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.
Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Also by this author: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Winter

First Line(s): Three luscious lemon tarts glistened up at Catherine.

First things first…there are FOUR days until HEARTLESS!

Can you believe it?!? The wait is almost over!

excited-baby

We all know the story of Alice in Wonderland even if we’ve never read the book by Lewis Carroll we at least know the Disney version about a plucky girl who falls down a rabbit hole and goes on a most extraordinary adventure. There are songs and shenanigans and run ins with the evil Queen of Hearts. When you watch the movie or read the book the Queen is always cast as a villainous character and as a viewer its easy to sympathize with Alice and cheer her triumphs. But you don’t always think about why the Queen is so evil or that maybe Alice isn’t as nice as you originally think. We grow up conditioned to think about fairy tales in a certain way that it can be a bit shocking to see alternate versions of the stories we love. We see this in the stories of Gregory McGuire and on the show Once Upon a Time and now here, in HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer we get to see a new side to the Queen of Hearts. Not only does HEARTLESS make you think differently about a story you thought you knew but its also a bit of a unicorn in the world of fantasy books in that it is a standalone book.

lurking

HEARTLESS is a story that will suck you in from the start. This book is such a different sort of story from Meyer’s series, The Lunar Chronicles and yet you still get her signature writing style and her ability to spin a beautiful story. HEARTLESS is not a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, its a prequel. Its a story that came about because Meyer’s asked the question why is the queen so evil? Was she born this way or did something happen to make her this way. Catherine (aka the Queen) is a girl much like the readers of the book she has hopes and dreams and a love for baking that will make a reader’s mouth water throughout this book. She’s of a noble family but she dreams of opening a bakery with her friend and maid.

cupcake

But we all know that’s not how the story ended up and I loved Meyer’s take on the story. I love the characters that she created and how she incorporated some old friends. It was a wonderful mix of original and new and told in a way that I think would make Lewis Carroll proud. HEARTLESS is a book that will suck you in with its whimsy and you’ll fall in love with Cath. You’ll turn the pages hoping against hope that somehow the ending of this story will be different and that Cath will get her bakery and her happily ever after. You’ll hope that in the end you’ll learn that the Queen of Hearts is a different girl altogether. But not all stories have a happy ending and sometimes your heart has to break. And boy does Meyer’s play with your heart but everything that happens needs to happen and despite the lack of a HEA its still possible to love this book. In fact, its kind of hard not to like this story and I highly recommend it.

broken-heart

irishdarkblue

JOIN THE #HEARTLESSCOUNTDOWN!

Join Fierce Reads in celebrating all things Heartless by Marissa Meyer! Starting Monday, September 19, they’ll be counting down to on sale with daily challenges where you can show your love and excitement, AND where you’ll have the chance to win a special edition advance copy of Heartless and MORE every single day.

Enter for your chance to win each day from September 19 – November 8 on Twitter or Instagram using #HeartlessCountdown and #Sweepstakes.

Fierce Reads will be posting weekly challenge updates and adding more links and information for some challenges as we get closer. Click here to take a look at the schedule and join in the excitement!

four-stars
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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Audio Review: The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: The Immortal Heights by Sherry ThomasThe Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas
Narrator: Philip Battley
Series: Elemental Trilogy,
Also in this series: The Burning Sky, The Perilous Sea
Published by Harper Audio on 13 Oct 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Friendship, Historical, Love & Romance, Magic, Romance, Royalty, Survival Stories, Suspense, War & Military, Young Adult
Length: 10 hrs and 49 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Burning Sky, The Perilous Sea

Place(s) Traveled To: The Sahara Desert // Delamer, The Domain // Atlantis

First Line(s): Somewhere in the most immense desert on earth, a thousand miles south of the Mediterranean Sea and just as far west of the Red Sea, rose a line of sheer sandstone cliffs.

THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS is the third (and final) book in Sherry Thomas’s Elemental Trilogy and as such I was terrified to read it. I had an ARC of it long before it was published but I couldn’t bring myself to pick it up because once I turned that last page then it was be over. I would have to leave this world and these characters and while I can always re-read the series its just not as special as that first time. Those moments that make your heart pound because you know that your favorite characters may not live to see the end of the story. But in the end, the lure of Titus and Iolanthe was was strong and my love of the audio version was too strong for me to stay away.

As always, Philip Battley does an amazing job bringing all of these characters to life. You would think that its an odd choice to have a predominately female POV story narrated by a male actor but it really works for this series. Battley becomes all of these characters and I hear his voice in my head when I pick up the print version of these books. Battley’s voice combined with Thomas’s words make for an enthralling story and I always hated when I got to my destination and had to stop listening. This is definitely one of those series where I recommend the audio over the print because the narration is just so good.

Immortal Heights Quote

THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS is not a perfect book there where times I rolled my eyes and wanted to shake some of the characters for the things that they did. They could be annoying and frustrating and I just wanted to wrap them up in a cocoon of protectiveness and prevent them from coming to harm. The ending was also a bit anti-climatic based on all that came before but its also one that worked for the story. I also didn’t hate the epilogue which, as regular readers know, isn’t something that happens often.

I loved this whole series and I am so sad to see it come to an end. The random head jumping and the action of some of the characters could be frustrating at times but I loved them in spite of all their flaws. I loved the prose of this book and how the words just flowed over me. Its an addicting story that made me laugh, made me cringe, and made my heart ache. Its a must read for any fantasy lover and I can’t recommend it enough.

 

irishdarkblue

Irish Recommends - Burning Sky

Add

four-stars
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Monday, July 13, 2015

Review: Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer LathamScarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on 19 May 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Arabian, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Magic, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Las Almas Bay, Unknown

First Line(s): The kid was cute. Her bare, knobbly legs swung back and forth like pendulums between the chipped legs of my client chair.

Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham was a book that I was really looking forward to reading this year as its a debut novel featuring a Muslim-American. Yay diversity!! And while I did like the story I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped I would. Scarlet Undercover was a quick read but it wasn’t as mysterious or suspenseful as I was hoping it would be. Much of the mysterious elements came in the form of characters being cryptic and not revealing what they knew in a timely manner. This just frustrated me to no end because so much could have been avoided if the various characters didn’t keep secrets and just communicated with each other. Also, being cryptic is not the same as laying red herrings and weaving  a tapestry of misdirection and false truths until you get to the big reveal.

I did enjoy the character of Scarlett but did find elements of her character to be a bit unrealistic. The secondary characters were also interesting but none of them ever really shined all that bright. While I often enjoyed Scarlett’s voice when looking back I find both her and her friends and family to all be forgettable. There is a romance element to this story but like the overall mystery its a bit lukewarm and falls short of creating that heart achy feels that I so love in a story. Again, the romance and the mystery all suffer from lack of communication and as such the love interest and the story line could have all been easily resolved if people just talked to each other.

Scarlett Undercover Quote

The plot pacing of Scarlett Undercover could have also been better. So much happened due to convenience and it often made my eyes roll when events and people just appeared and disappeared exactly when needed. Despite all my high hopes for Scarlett Undercover I was left underwhelmed with the story. I also felt that the ending was a bit rushed and then there were all the unresolved threads. As far as I know Scarlett Undercover is a standalone book but there is definitely enough left open to spawn a sequel or two. Which, if it happens, I’m on the fence on if I would read it or not because while this book was just ok I never really became invested in the story.

I did like that Scarlett was smart and sassy as well as being a diverse heroine. This book was bursting with diversity which is a good thing but sometimes felt a little forced. Just as the paranormal elements of this book felt forced because they were just randomly tossed in and not fully explained or developed. Scarlett Undercover was just an ok read for me but if you are looking for some snarky diversity then you should check it out.

irishdarkblue

IR - Scarlett Undercover

Add Clarity by Kim Harrington to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Review: Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick RothfussThe Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 2
Published by Daw Books on 01 March 2011
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Adult, Assassins, Death & Dying, Demons, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Friendship, Magic, Mystery & Detective, Mythology, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 1107
Format: Paperback
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Four Corners of Civilization –
Commonwealth: The University // Imre // Tarbean
Vintas: Levinshir // Severen
Ademre: Haert

First Line(s): Dawn was coming. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence in three parts.

Its always hard to review a book that is the second in a trilogy and its even harder when that trilogy is an epic fantasy as is the case with Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. Wise Man’s Fear is a book that has been on my shelf since publication when I purchased a hardcover copy when Rothfuss came to town for a book signing. But then because of its size and the face that I hadn’t yet read The Name of the Wind it sat on my shelf until recently when I decided it was time to buckle down and read it. What I love about Rothfuss’s writing and The Kingkiller Chronicles is that even with the time between reading book 1 and this one it was so easy to slip back into this world.

Rothfuss’s writing is so vivid that I was easily able to recall the things that came before and the things that I was vague on he so kindly explained with cleverly placed flashbacks. Wise Man’s Fear was a long read for me as I only read a set number of pages per day but it gave me something to look forward to wondering where the story would go. Although I do have to admit to being a little disappointed in how events in this story took place and there wasn’t as much ground covered as I would have liked considering how there is only one more book to come. One of my big issues with Name of the Wind was there was so much time spent in Kvothe’s early years that it was slow and it bogged down the story. I liked when he finally went to University and things started to pick up.

Wise Man's Fear Quote

With Wise Man’s Fear the majority of the book was spent at the University and it just seemed like more of the same from Name of the Wind. While I enjoyed the book and fell in love with Rothfuss’s writing all over again I just wish that more had happened. Kvothe has been on this quest of his for so long and there just seems to be so much ground to cover in the final book. Also, none of the characters seemed to grow and change very much and as a result they keep making the same mistakes. There was also this whole long and drawn out section with the fae that I wish I had skipped as it didn’t seem to serve much purpose. I’m sure that Rothfuss will connect all the various dots in a big reveal but it was just frustrating at times at the lack of answers.

Despite all my frustrations, I did enjoy this book. The pages flew by when I read them and it was often hard to stop reading in order to focus on other things. I’m drawn to this world and I am looking forward to seeing how it all ends. Rothfuss is a master at his craft and I know that I just have to be patient as the wait will be worth it, or at least I hope that is the case. The Kingkiller chronicles are daunting reads but if you are a fan of epic fantasy then you certainly want to get to them at some point.

irishdarkblue

IR - Name of the Wind

Add The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss to Goodreads.

Add The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Black Prism by Brent Weeks to Goodreads.

four-stars
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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Audio Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Audio Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund HodgeCruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Narrator: Elizabeth Knowelden
Series: Cruel Beauty,
Also in this series: Gilded Ashes
Published by Harper Audio on 28 January 2014
Genres: Abduction, Adaptation, Assassins, Demons, Emotions & Feelings, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Fantasy, Greek, Love & Romance, Magic, Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Length: 10 hours 17 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Free Download
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Gilded Ashes

Place(s) Traveled To: Arcadia

First Line(s): I was raised to marry a monster.

Beauty and the Beast has never been my favorite fairy tale and when I received an advanced copy of Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge I was intrigued but never seemed to find the time to pick it up. Recently though a few people began to recommend this book to me and I had also downloaded the audio via Audiobook Sync’s annual program of 2014. I was having trouble settling on a new audiobook recently and was looking through the titles I had received from Audiobook Sync and thought I’d listen to a small clip of each of the titles I’d downloaded last year and then choose one. Only when I started the audio of Cruel Beauty I found that I couldn’t turn it off. The narrator, Elizabeth Knowelden, was enthralling. And while she sometimes mixed up her voices I found that I didn’t mind overmuch as I just loved the way that she told this story and brought it to life.

As I listened I also learned that Cruel Beauty wasn’t just a Beauty and the Beast retelling. There were also hints of other fairy tales mixed in Bluebeard, Rumpelstiltskin, and East of the Sun West of the Moon to name just a few. Cruel Beauty also contained not just fairy tales but Greek mythology and this mix of stories added depth and uniqueness to the story. I enjoyed this story and loved Nyx’s struggle as she dealt with her internal struggles over what she was raised to do and what she wants to do. I enjoyed Nyx’s interactions with Ignafex and was intrigued by there relationship. While her relationship with Shade and her sister just annoyed me. Oh how her sister annoyed me. For someone who was supposedly so good she harbored a lot of ill will in her heart.

Cruel Beauty Quote

 

For this one I am partial to the audiobook and I am not sure if I’d feel differently if I’d read this one in print instead. As I said above I found Elizabeth Knowelden’s narration to be enthralling and she’s the one who kept me listening and engaged in the story through that slow beginning. She’s the one who kept me listening when I got really annoyed with Nyx’s sister and with Shade. Knowelden is definitely a narrator that I am going to be looking into more because I’d love to see how she narrates other stories.

For me, Cruel Beauty had a slow start and was a little repetitive at times but repetition is something that is becoming more and more common in books these days so I think its something that I have to learn to deal with and accept. What I really liked about Cruel Beauty was how it ended. The ending wasn’t something that I was expecting and yet at the same time it was fitting for the story that Hodge was telling. Things were wrapped up nicely and I like knowing that this is a standalone book. I love me a good fantasy story and it can be so hard to find a standalone fantasy. I like that Hodge has a companion story to Cruel Beauty in her novella, Gilded Ashes (my review), but do think that it is a story that should be read before this one.

If you like Greek mythology and fairy tale retellings then you should really give Cruel Beauty a try. Its a beautifully written story and one that I enjoyed. The mystery aspect of it is a little simplistic and easy to figure out but I didn’t mind that as I enjoyed the time that I sent in this world. Its a world that I wouldn’t mind revisiting and a book that I will most likely re-read at some point. This one wasn’t quite what I expected and I enjoyed it more than I thought. Its a story that I’d recommend especially for those that listen to audiobooks.

irishdarkblue

IR - Cruel Beauty

Add Entwined by Heather Dixon to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Friday, May 8, 2015

Review: Night of the Soul Stealer by Joseph Delaney

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Night of the Soul Stealer by Joseph DelaneyNight of the Soul Stealer by Joseph Delaney
Series: The Last Apprentice,
Also in this series: Revenge of the Witch, Curse of the Bane
Published by Greenwillow Books on 28 August 2007
Genres: Abduction, Adolescence, Epic Fantasy, Friendship, Ghosts & the Undead, Magic, Middle Grade, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 489
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Revenge of the Witch, Curse of the Bane

Place(s) Traveled To: Chipenden // Anglezarke // Adlington // Blackrod

First line(s): It was a cold, dark November night, and Alice and I were sitting by the kitchen fire with my master, the Spook.

I had high hopes for Night of the Soul Stealer after reading the previous installment in the series, Curse of the Bane (my review) and was filled with action and suspense. Sadly though, Night of the Soul Stealer, did not live up to my expectations and felt more like a second novel while Curse of the Bane felt like it should have been later in the series. Night of the Soul Stealer sees Tom, Alice and the Spook retiring to the Spook’s winter house in Anglezarke. Which is a cold and desolate place and also where the Spook keeps Meg, a witch and also his love. Theirs is a complex relationship and one that made me really uncomfortable since the Spook keeps Meg drugged and when he’s not in Anglezarke he keeps her in an induced sleep until he returns. That is just no ok on so many levels and it really squicked me out.

Meg may be a witch but the Spook has ways of dealing with witches and he should have used one of those methods. So I couldn’t feel too bad for the Spook when certain events happened as they did. I also got frustrated with Tom, a lot. There where times when he was crazy and over the top smart and then there were many other moments when he just seemed to be deliberately obtuse. This makes for a frustrating read since he never seems to learn from his mistakes. Granted, Night of the Soul Stealer, is set only a few months after the series starts but still when you make the same mistakes over and over you should start to learn from them.

Night of the Soul Stealer Quote

Plot wise, Night of the Soul Stealer, was well paced and it was a fairly quick and easy read. The mystery wasn’t a huge mystery and the suspense really wasn’t as great as that in the previous book but overall it wasn’t a bad story. I like Alice and how her character continues to develop as she struggles with being a witch and all that it entails. I like her friendship with Tom and think that they could work well together if only the Spook didn’t keep getting in the way. The Spook is sometimes his own worst enemy and he does himself and Tom no favors by letting his prejudices get in the way. Especially when the Spook is a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to his actions.

As I said above, the things with Meg really bothered me and as a result I’ve stalled in this series. I’m not sure if I want to continue as there are just things about the Spook that I do not like. He tries to come across as morally above everyone else but what he thinks is right isn’t always the case. I’m also not entirely sure if Tom will ever grow up and change. While I expect to suspend a certain level of belief when it comes to a fantasy novel this series just has moments that it can be hard to wrap my head around. Tom can’t be both a wunderkind as well as a clumsy apprentice. He can’t always be the one to save the day while his mentor is incapacitated in some way. Its a formula that has seen itself play out over the course of three books. While it happening once, I can believe it as a fluke or beginners luck or something but not in every book. It just strains belief too much. So I think I’m going to put this series on hold for a bit and reevaluate at a later date.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Revenge of the Witch

Add Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda to Goodreads. (Click here to read my review.)

Add The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan to Goodreads. (Click here to read my review.)

three-stars
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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Audio Review: The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher HealyThe Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy
Narrator: Bronson Pinchot
Series: The League of Princes, Book 2
Published by Harper Audio on 26 November 2013
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Adaptation, Espionage, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Friendship, Magic, Middle Grade, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Survival Stories
Length: 10 hours 20 minutes
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: The Kingdoms – Erinthia // Sylvaria // Harmonia // The Orphaned Wastes // Sturmhagen // Avondell

First Line(s): A true hero plays the flute.

 The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle is the second book in Christopher Healy’s League of Princes series and picks up not long after the first book ends. Events have been turned against our princes a but as their heroics are turned into a bit of a farce and Briar Rose is determined to concur all of the kindoms. Which she will do with through blackmail and cunning where she can. But then the bandit king steals an item of power and this will have our luckless League of Princes joining with Briar Rose to get it back.

As with the first book, The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, this book is filled which shenanigans and humor as our bumbling princes and their sassy princesses try to overcome impossible odds in order to save the say. Bronson Pinchot does a great job bringing all of these characters to life making them endearing and bratty depending on who is doing the talking. Pinchot’s narration had me finding reasons to listen to this story to see what would happen next. The only thing missing from the audio version of this story was that I missed all the artwork that I know had to be included in its pages. The artwork was really fun and added to the the story and so without it there was something missing from this one.

Storming the Castle Quote

Overall, I enjoyed this story but there are times when the characters do annoy with their constant bumbling and a refusal to learn from past mistakes. There are also things that are easier for me to see reading this as an adult than some of the intended audiences might. Like the various star-crossed lovers that fill the pages of this book. Just because a fairy sets up two people doesn’t mean that they are destined to be together forever.

However, most of my quibbles and annoyances with this one do come from the fact that I’m not the target audience. There are tools needed sometimes when writing for younger readers that seem repetitive or just plan dumb. But I do think that Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle will have a lot of appeal to both boys and girls who like adventure stories.

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Storming the Castle

Add Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Fablehaven by Brandon Mull to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Review: Half Wild by Sally Green

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Half Wild by Sally GreenHalf Wild by Sally Green
Series: Half Bad, Book 2
Also in this series: Half Bad, Half Lies
Published by Viking Juvenile on 24 March 2015
Genres: Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, Magic, Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Half Bad, Half Lies

Place(s) Traveled To: Verdon, France // Unnamed, France // Black Forest, Germany // Veltarlin, Norway // Unnamed, Slovakia // Barecelona, Spain // Etxalar, Spain // Basle, Switzerland // Geneva, Switzerland // Unnamed Wales

First Line(s): a crossbill calls

I read Half Bad by Sally Green last year and it was an unexpected good read. It was a book that I didn’t know much about and one that I instantly connected with. When I finished Half Bad, I immediately wanted to dive into the sequel and that is exactly what I did when I received an ARC for review. I did have more expectations for Half Wild than I did with Half Bad and there were some things that I really liked with this book and others that I didn’t care for as much. As with the first book I read Half Wild pretty quickly. Its a fun read and I just love this world but there is a lot about this story that makes it very much a transition novel as when I look back on it not a ton actually happens.

There is a lot of running around in this story as Nathan searches for Annalise and while I did like Annalise in the first book I just didn’t get her draw in this one. Especially with some of the things that happened with Gabriel. Because WOW that was some amazing story development and to be honest those were some of my favorite moments in the book. I get Nathan’s nostalgia for his past and his childhood and how Annalise was one of his bright moments in an otherwise bleak life but I really did not like her. And her inclusion in the story and Nathan’s subsequent treatment of Gabriel really took me out of the story.

Half Wild Quote

Another, aspect of the story that I really liked was getting to know Nathan’s father more. I enjoyed those scenes and found them important to the development of Nathan’s character. However, there could have been more depth to them and it just seemed as though Marcus was underutilized as a character. There was so much potential in Half Wild but it just seemed to miss the mark every time an arrow was shot at the target.

Despite that though I am hopeful for how this series will end as most second books in a series are just filler material for the big climax at the end. Although I do have some concerns with what the big climactic moment of Half Lost might be as the focus of this story seemed to veer away from Black Witches vs. White into something else over the course of this book. I do think that Half Wild is worth the read just for the Nathan and Gabriel scenes alone but the rest of it? Well, the rest of the story I could probably do without.

irishdarkblue

 IR - Half Wild

Add Storm Front by Jim Butcher to Goodreads.

Add Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

three-half-stars
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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Audio Review: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Audiobook, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph DelaneyRevenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
Narrator: Christopher Evan Welch
Series: The Last Apprentice,
Also in this series: Curse of the Bane, Night of the Soul Stealer
Published by Harper Audio on 09 September 2005
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Death & Dying, Fantasy, Friendship, Ghosts & the Undead, Magic, Middle Grade, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Survival Stories, Witches & Wizards
Length: 5 hours 14 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Curse of the Bane, Night of the Soul Stealer

Place(s) Traveled To: The County – Horshaw // Chipenden

First Line(s): When the Spook arrived, the light was already beginning to fail.

I first became interested in Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney when I learned that there was going to be a movie released based on the series. Looking for a new audio I downloaded this from audible and quite enjoyed the narrator for the most part though he doesn’t do the best job with the female voices. The story is quick moving and while Revenge of the Witch is filled with a ton of set up there is a lot of promise for the series.

I enjoyed this book but felt it dragged a lot in portions and didn’t seem as action filled as movie previews appeared. The movie previews also look like nothing in this book so I wonder how many books that the movie pulls from to make up its story. For the most part, I liked the character of Tomas Ward but he does annoy me at the same time. He does some very stupid things and yet is also really smart and despite being a new apprentice often manages to save the day. The two sides of himself just don’t seem to mesh and I hope that he becomes more cohesive as the series progresses.

Revenge of the Witch Quote

The story is also told mostly in first person present but every once in awhile there is this foreshadowing/flashback-eske comment that just really took me out of the story. Tom would be talking about something and then make a statement along the lines of ‘this would come back to haunt me later’ or ‘by the time I did this it was already too late.’ I’m fine with the bulk of a book being mostly a flashback, heck that’s mostly how Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss is told. I just want these things to be more clear from the get go and not mentioned in random, cryptic comments.

Revenge of the Witch was an enjoyable audio and I will be reading other books in the series but as they are short, quick reads I will probably be switching over to print. I do plan on seeing the movie at some point but may way until DVD to do so as I can hopefully get most, if not all of the books read before then. That way I won’t be spoiled in the books if the movie pulls from the full series. This is a series I’d recommend if you are looking for a quick read and its a world that I look forward to getting to know better.

irishdarkblue

IR - Revenge of the Witch

Add Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda to Goodreads. (Click here to read my review.)

Add The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan to Goodreads. (Click here to read my review.)

three-stars
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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E PearsonThe Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles,
Also in this series: The Heart of Betrayal
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on 08 July 2014
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Magic, Mythology, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 492
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Heart of Betrayal

Place(s) Traveled To: Civica, Morrighan // Terravin, Morrighan // Gaudrel Tribe Camp, Cam Lanteux // Sanctum, Venda

First Line(s): Today was the day a thousand dreams would die and a single dream would be born.

Dear reader,

You may have heard a lot about Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson, I know this because since even before it was released mentions of it were all over my social media. There was much love for this book and I was curious but also wary. So very wary. You know me reader, you know that for whatever reason these popular over-hyped books tend to not connect with me as they do with most everyone else in the known universe. But I was curious, even with the knowledge that Kiss of Deception contained a love triangle, I was curious.

I started this one with hope of something amazing but quickly wondered why I was reading. I was bored and Lia was annoying and I kept wondering why I should care about her and her story. I sighed and rolled my eyes and figured out who was the prince and who was the assassin pretty quickly. Lia is judgmental and naive but thinks that she is oh so very clever. There were a few times when I wanted to toss this book aside and call it a DNF. But Twitter friends urged me on and told me to keep reading that it got better so I plodded on.

 

Kiss of Deception Quote

 

And reader, let me tell you true, those friends on Twitter were right because The Kiss of Deception did get better. There was more action in the second half than in the first, the characters all showed more life, and Lia went through some much needed growth. It took awhile but I grew to like these characters and care about their story. It made my heart ache at times and I was happy when certain choices were made. This isn’t to say that I fell in love with the book because I didn’t. Lia still made my head hurt and there were times when I seriously wanted to throttle her. But I could better understand the hype and appeal of this story.

By the end I wanted to know more. I am curious about the next book in the series, The Heart of Betrayal (Goodread) and where this story will go. Second books are always a tricksy thing though and it could be better or maybe not. But I am hopeful for this series and that is saying a lot coming from me. Because if you are a regular reader of Ticket to Anywhere than you know just how picky I can be with fantasy book, especially YA fantasy. So the fact that I want to read more of The Remnant Chronicles is a good thing and if you like fantasy then you might want to check this one out.

 

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Kiss of Deception

 

Add Death Sworn by Leah Cypess to Goodreads! (Click here for my review)

Add Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch to Goodreads! (Click here for my review)

three-stars
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