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Genre: Survival Stories

Friday, June 3, 2016

Review: Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Captive Prince by C.S. PacatCaptive Prince by C.S. Pacat
Series: Captive Prince,
Also in this series: Prince's Gambit, Kings Rising
Published by Berkley Books on 07 April 2015
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Fantasy, GLBT, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Survival Stories
Pages: 270
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
Also by this author: Prince's Gambit

Place(s) Traveled To: Ios, Akielos // Arles, Vere

First Line(s): Damen came back to himself in stages, his drugged limbs heavy against the silk cushions, the gold cuffs on his wrists like lead weights.

When I first heard about CAPTIVE PRINCE by C.S. Pacat  prior to its release by Berkley Books I didn’t think it was a book for me and so promptly forgot about it. Fast forward to a year later and it seemed like I couldn’t get away from mention of this series in all my social media from a variety of readers. I then decided to look into CAPTIVE PRINCE further and requested a copy from my library to read. Regular readers know that I’m usually really wary of hyped up books and that was the case with CAPTIVE PRINCE and yet its because of the hype that had me curious to know more. The story is told from the POV of Damen who is the Crown Prince of Akielos who is captured and sent into a life of slavery by his own half-brother who has overthrown the kingdom. To increase tensions the place where Damen is sent is to Akielos’s rival nation and he’s given to Prince Laurent, whose older brother Damen killed years earlier during a war between the nations.

Tension abounds in CAPTIVE PRINCE and I have to admit that I was enthralled with this novel. The political intrigue was gripping and tensions were high. I loved Damen’s voice and really felt for the situation that he found himself in. I was also really drawn to Laurent, who reminded me a lot of Gen from Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series. Like Gen, Laurent is always several steps ahead of everyone and is an expert at holding his cards to his chest and in pretending to be something he’s not. I loved how these two interacted together as they started to feel each other out and while there is no real romance in CAPTIVE PRINCE you can see the seeds being set for the romance that is to come. But first both Damen and Laurent must go through some personal journeys and deal with some hard truths before they can get to their HEA.

Captive Prince Quote

Another thing that I liked about CAPTIVE PRINCE was the world building. Pacat created a rich and vibrant world that was easy to visualize throughout the story. I loved how she set up the various kingdoms and how distinct they were. I also liked how vivid the tensions were between Akielos and Vere which were also reflected in the tensions between Damen and Laurent. Although, I will admit that there were some things that happened in the court of Vere that I did not care for. There was a rape culture that existed that just made me uncomfortable and I rushed to get through one scene in particular. I also felt that CAPTIVE PRINCE was well written although Pacat seemed to have a fondness for big fancy words that were often unnecessary where a normal word would do. I pride myself on my vocabulary but there were times that I was glad to be reading CAPTIVE PRINCE on my kindle as it was easy to look some words up.

CAPTIVE PRINCE isn’t a perfect book and its not a book for everyone but I for one enjoyed the story. As I said, I didn’t think that it was going to be for me but in the end I was really glad that I gave it a shot as I really liked the overall story even as there were things here and there that I didn’t not care for. CAPTIVE PRINCE was a book that took me by surprise and then stayed with me long after I turned the last page. Its a compelling read and one where I was glad to have easy access to the second and third books of this series because once I finished CAPTIVE PRINCE I wanted to jump into the other books immediately. This is definitely a book that I’ll be re-reading in the future as I just fell in love with the main characters and their story. And I think that many of you will as well if you just give it a shot.

irishdarkblue

IR - Captive Prince

 

Add Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Important Note: Even though I compare CAPTIVE PRINCE to YA titles this is not a YA book and contains mature themes. This Irish Recommends is more for the adults who read YA and my blog. 

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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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Friday, February 26, 2016

Audio Review: Armada by Ernest Cline

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

Audio Review: Armada by Ernest ClineArmada by Ernest Cline
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Published by Crown on 14 July 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Dystopian, Friendship, Sci-Fi, Survival Stories, Suspense, War & Military, Young Adult
Length: 11 hrs and 58 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Beverton, Oregon // Unknown, Nebraska // Moon Base Alpha

First Line(s): I was staring out of the classroom window daydreaming of adventure when I spotted the flying saucer.

When I went to BEA last spring there were only a couple of books that I needed to get and one of those was ARMADA by Ernest Cline. I loved his first book, READY PLAYER ONE (my review) and was so excited to see what he came up with next. But then I became torn because it was announced that Wil Wheaton would be narrating just as he did with READY PLAYER ONE and I decided to wait until I could get my hands on the audiobook.

The wait for the audio was a great decision because, as always, Wil Wheaton was most excellent in his narration. I just love Wheaton’s reading style and the energy and life that he brings to a story. It especially helped with ARMADA because I found the actually story to be a bit slow and hard to get into. There was a lot of repetition to the story and the story was a little bit too similar to READY PLAYER ONE mixed with ENDER’S GAME mixed with WARGAMES.

Armada Quote

There were no surprises in ARMADA and each big “twist” was just anti-climatic and predictable. The build up was overly drawn out which left very little time for the big climatic battle. Which left the ending something to be desired. If I’d been reading this one in print than I may have DNF’d this one or just ended up skimming to the end to see how it all turned out. The only reason why I didn’t was because of Wil Wheaton.

I’m still a fan of Ernest Cline and I am looking forward to his next book but sadly ARMADA just wasn’t the book for me. The writing was ok it was just the plotting and the pacing and even some of the characters that really didn’t mesh with me.

irishdarkblue

IR - Armada

Add Off to Be the Wizard by Scott Meyer to Goodreads.

Add The End of All Things by John Scalzi to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Friday, January 22, 2016

Audio Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Audio Review: Cress by Marissa MeyerCress by Marissa Meyer
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Series: Lunar Chronicles,
Also in this series: Cinder, Scarlet, Fairest, Winter
Published by Macmillian Audio on 14 Feb 2014
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Death & Dying, Diseases, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Friendship, Futuristic Romance, Love & Romance, People & Places, Royalty, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Survival Stories, War & Military, Young Adult
Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Cinder, Scarlet, Fairest, Winter, Heartless

Place(s) Traveled To: Earth’s Orbit // Luna // Sahara Desert // New Beijing, The Commonwealth // Africa

First Line(s): Her satellite made one full orbit around planet Earth every sixteen hours.

CRESS is the third book in Marrissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series which are all dystopian sci-fi stories that are loosely based on fairy tales. CRESS is the story of Rapunzel and mainly follows the character of Cress and Captain Thorne but as with the other books in the series the story ARC often shifts POV to include all the main characters we’ve met so far. Cress is Lunar but unlike most from Luna she has no gift and is referred to as a shell. She’s feared by those on Luna as the Luna gift doesn’t work on her and she can’t be manipulated that way. However, she was taken as an infant form her family and raised in seclusion and so can be manipulated in other ways as she’s starved for love and affection.

But even though Cress wants to be liked and to please her Luna guardians she’s not a weakling. She isn’t the strongest of the characters, physically, but mentally she can blow most away and her talent behind a computer knows no equal. She is courageous when she decides to defy her country in order to help Cinder and sets off a chain of events that frees her from her satellite prison and brings her closer to the merry band of misfits. Of all the books in the Lunar Chronicles series I’ve enjoyed CRESS the best. I really liked her relationship with Thorne and I liked how she changed and grew over the course of the book and learned just how strong she truly was. My biggest disappointment was that because the POV is so divided now we didn’t get to spend as much time in Cress’s POV as I would have liked.

Cress Quote

In terms of plot, there is a lot of movement but not a whole lot of concrete action. Things happen and its not boring but there is still A LOT of ground to cover in the final book, WINTER, in order for this motley crew to overthrow a kingdom and save the people of Earth from the wicked queen. I’m worried that the next book will be rushed and convoluted especially after some of the reveals that happen in CRESS. I still get frustrated every time they refer to needed an antidote and my eye gets a little twitchy but I am trying to move past that though I don’t think I will succeed until the series is over.

For me, there weren’t a ton of crazy big reveals and I was able to predict many things before they happened. Heck, there are things that were revealed in this book that I was predicting in CINDER (my review) so in terms of mystery its not the best for an avid reader of mysteries. That said I can see the appeal of this story and the fun that people have with it. The series does get better as the story progresses even though I think the author relies too much on switching up the POV. When things get a little difficult to explain Meyer’s just has another POV take over and so at 75% in there is a whole new voice to learn. Its frustrating and unnecessary and probably my second biggest complaint of the series.

Rebecca Soler returns to narrate CRESS and I love what she brings to the table with her narration. Of all the characters in this world her voice seems best suited to Cress and she really helps bring that character to life. Cress is young and innocent as a result of being so sheltered and Soler really breaths life into her character. I’m not sure when I will read WINTER, its a heafty book weighing in at 824 pages and I’ve enjoyed listening to these on audio and am currently waiting in line for a copy to come in at the library. This series started off rocky for me but I am looking forward to seeing how it all ends and if my theories are correct or not.

irishdarkblue

IR - Cinder

 

Add Cinder by Marissa Meyer to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-half-stars
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Monday, May 11, 2015

Audio Review: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

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

Audio Review: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia GrayA Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Series: Firebird,
Also in this series: Ten Thousand Skies Above You
Published by Harper Audio on 04 November 2014
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Parallel World, People & Places, Sci-Fi, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Length: 9 hours 18 minutes
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: Ten Thousand Skies Above You

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England // St Petersburg, Russia // San Francisco, California // Coral Sea (Future)

First Line(s): My hand shakes as I brace myself against the brick wall.

Its no secret that I can be picky with books and so I was a little wary of Claudia Gray’s A Thousand Pieces of You as it was a book a lot of my friends were talking about and hyped up books and I don’t always get along. Since I do like audiobooks I thought that I would try A Thousand Pieces of You in that format and was a little unsure of it at first. I didn’t trust one of the main characters and then there was that learning curve of trying to figure out just what was going on. A Thousand Pieces of You thrusts you right into the action and while I liked it I just wish there was a little more explanation at the start on what was going on.

By the 50% point though I was totally hooked on this story. I mostly loved the events in Russia and I think that was in part because they were Theo-less. I just got such a creepy vibe from him and that was in part due to the age difference between him and Marguerite. What I did like, was Marguerite. She was a strong character who was just trying to find the truth about what happened to her father. I liked how she wasn’t boy crazy and that she made the best of all the various situations that she found herself in. I didn’t always agree with her choices when she was living the lives of other Marguerite’s but I do understand why she made them.

Thousand Pieces of You Quote

Overall, I did enjoy A Thousand Pieces of You. Once the story got going I couldn’t listen fast enough though there were moments where things seemed to contradict themselves and I found that frustrating. There were things that happened that certain people shouldn’t have known. However, things got to be a bit shaky at the end with hints of WTF-ery that just made me roll my eyes. There were things that happened that made me roll my eyes and I think it took away from the story a bit as it pulled back some of the earlier punches that this novel threw.

The ending of this also starts to set the stage for things to come in the next book in the series and while I get that the seeds need to be set I do think that there were times they were a bit distracting in A Thousand Pieces of You. That said though, this is a book that I would recommend as overall it is a fun and unique read. If you like audiobooks then you might want to check this one out as Tavia Gilbert did an amazing just bringing this book to life. Gilbert didn’t have it easy either as there were many accents that she needed to cover throughout the length of this story. Accents can always be such a tricky thing in an audiobook and Gilbert nails them every single time.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Thousand Pieces of You

Add Hourglass by Myra McEntire to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (Click here for my review)

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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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Review: Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Words of Radiance by Brandon SandersonWords of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
Series: The Stormlight Archive, Book 2
Also in this series: The Way of Kings
Published by Tor Books on 04 March 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adult, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Girls & Women, Mystery & Detective, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Survival Stories, War & Military
Pages: 1087
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Way of Kings

Place(s) Traveled To: The Shattered Plains, Roshar

First Line(s): Jasnah Kholin pretended to enjoy the party, giving no indication that she intended to have one of the guests killed.

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson is the second book in his epic fantasy series The Stormlight Archive and it picks up not long after the events in Way of Kings (my review) end. As with the first book, Words of Radiance took me forever to read because it is a chunkster, weighing in at over 1000 pages, and unlike the first book I had this one in hardcover. In order to make it through the book I decided to read it a small bit at a time so it wouldn’t seem so daunting or kill me from the weight. This method also really allowed me to savor the story and all of its rich details and intricaces. And while I loved the audio of Way of Kings there is something nice about reading the physical book. For one, I get to see how all the names are really written (though the audio was a godsend for pronunciation!) and I got to see all the artwork as it appeared in the book. The artwork really adds to the story and just brings this whole world to life.

As with Way of KingsWords of Radiance is told from mulitple points of view though the main one was Shallan. Shallan is Jashnah’s ward and apprentince and oh my stars a truely annoying character! I wasn’t a fan of Shallan in the first book and so wasn’t thrilled that most of Words of Radiance would focus on her. I much prefered the storylines of Khaladin’s and Dalinar’s POVs and still want to know ALL THE THINGS about them both. Though I didn’t mind Shallan’s present POV as much as I thought I might I did find her backstory to be a bit slow and I just didn’t care. Not gonna lie, I find Shallan to be boring and a bit of a dumb bunny at times.

Words of Radiance quote

The overall storyarc though was super-fantabulous. I just love how Sanderson is weaving all these details together and only revealing what needs to be revealed when it needs to be. But also leaving little seed trails along the way so that when something happens your eyes widen a bit as you flip backwards through the book to find the moment it was just hinted at and see how it all started. And, as with most second books, Words of Radiance really shines in being able to build upon the things that came before. You get to know world and all of the characters better as this book progresses and there is just so much crazy tension throughout the story. I loved all the scenes with Khaladin and Dalinar, even when Dalinar was breaking my heart. Not to mention all the things I want to know about Renarin as I feel as if it all came out of nowhere so hopefully Sanderson will go into that a bit more in the next book.  I’m also still not a fan of the Interludes but I do love how everything in this crazy ass world is connected.

In the end, while Words of Radiance, started a little slow. I liked this one better than Way of Kings. I liked how twisty it was and how Sanderson manages to keep me guessing, even when I think I’ve figured everything out. Where there parts I could have done without? Absolutely, but I wouldn’t trade a thing in this book because I know that the final payoff will be worth it. I just hate that there is so much time between books because I want more of this world now!! Not next year or the year after that. I also don’t know how I am going to make it through 10 books of this series…its such a huge time commitment…though I know that I will be there buying up each book the moment its released. Though in ebook form because the hardcovers may kill you if you aren’t careful!

irishdarkblue

IR - Way of Kings

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

Add Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss to Goodreads.

Add Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review: Curse of the Bane by Joseph Delaney

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Review: Curse of the Bane by Joseph DelaneyCurse of the Bane by Joseph Delaney
Series: The Last Apprentice, Book 2
Also in this series: Revenge of the Witch, Night of the Soul Stealer
Published by Greenwillow Books on 29 August 2006
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Demons, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Friendship, Middle Grade, Paranormal, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Survival Stories
Pages: 480
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Revenge of the Witch, Night of the Soul Stealer

Place(s) Traveled to: Horshaw // Chipenden // Priestown // Heysham – The County

First Line(s): When I heard the first scream, I turned away and covered my ears with my hands, pressing hard until my head hurt.

Curse of the Bane is the second book in Joseph Delaney’s Last Apprentice series and its one that is filled with crazy non-stop action that really sucked me into the story. In this book, Tom and the Spook head to Priestown to attend a funeral and also to deal with a big bad that has been trapped beneath a cathedral there for many years. Its a big enough baddie that it made me wonder why its the feature for the second book in a series and not used later on when Tom is farther into his training so I do do fear that that it will be hard for other books in the series to live up. Or if the big bads continue to get bigger and badder then the series has the potential to dip into the ridiculous. Which I hope doesn’t happen because I do like this world and these characters.

Although, I do find it a bit hard to believe that newly apprenticed Tom is the one who is always managing to save the day because something happens to the Spook. Its not a very good Spook that is easily taken out and his apprentice of mere weeks is the one to do all the heavy lifting. While I can see how this might be empowering to a middle grade reader, as an adult it just rings as untrue. It also doesn’t allow Tom to grow and change all that much as he never has many consequences from his actions since everything seems to work out. Even though he doesn’t listen or just blately goes against the advice of those older and wiser than him.

IR - Curse of the Bane

Overall though, I really did enjoy Curse of the Bane so much more than the first book, Revenge of the Witch (my review). I liked that it was a little darker and that it was filled with action. Yes, Tom was a bit of an idiot most of the time but I still hold out hope for him as he is still young and he is still a very new apprentice. I enjoy the appearance of Alice, his witch friend, and do tend to like what she adds to the story. Even if she does annoy me at times with her smugness and standoffish behavior.

I found that Curse of the Bane was a quick read and I read it in a single sitting. Its a book that had me turning the pages as fast as I could in order to see what happened. And even though I found the ending to be a bit implausible, this book was enough to make me continue reading this series. After Revenge of the Witch I was just so-so on this series but if the books to come are anything like this one then I think that I am in for a treat.

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.)

four-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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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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