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Posts Tagged: Fantasy

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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Friday, July 8, 2016

Audio Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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

Audio Review: Six of Crows by Leigh BardugoSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Narrator: Brandon Rubin, David LeDoux, Elizabeth Evans, Jay Snyder, Lauren Fortgang, Roger Clark, Tristan Morris
Series: Six of Crows,
Published by Brilliance Audio on 29 Sept 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Diseases, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Mystery & Detective, People of Color, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Suspense, Witches & Wizards, Young Adult
Length: 15 hrs and 9 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: Shadow & Bone, Summer Days and Summer Nights

Place(s) Traveled To: Ketterdam, Kerch // Dierholm, Fjerda

First Line(s): Joost had two problems: the moon and his mustache.

Narrators: Jay Snyder (Matthias), David LeDoux (Kaz), Brandon Rubin (Jesper), Lauren Fortgang (Inej), Roger Clark (Pekka), Elizabeth Evans (Nina), and Tristan Morris (Joost)

Confession time, although this won’t come as a surprise to some, but I did not like SHADOW & BONE (my review). It was such a struggle to get through and I just couldn’t be bothered with the other books in that series. So when I heard that Leigh Bardugo’s next series was also set in the Grisha universe I wasn’t sure if I would read SIX OF CROWS. But I was curious and so I kept sussing out what people thought about it and then when I was looking for a new audiobook it just up and stumbled into my basket. The SIX OF CROWS audio is a full cast recording and uses different narrators for each POV. I was intrigued by this and it wasn’t long before the story grabbed a hold of me in a way that SHADOW & BONE never did.

Curiosity

I’ll admit SIX OF CROWS did start a little slow but it wasn’t long before I was engrossed in the story. I loved how all the different narrators approached this story and the life that they gave to these characters. Each narrator really helped bring out the personality of the characters, not just the one of the POV they were acting out but all the characters that they voiced. It was interesting to see how the narrators saw the others in this motley crew and I never had any issues figuring out who was who. I also found it  very help to listen to the audio as I’m sure I’d have stumbled over many of the names and words used in this book.

Six of Crows Quote

At its heart SIX OF CROWS is a heist story and if you like a good heist story then you will like this book. There is intrigue and betrayal and a whole lot of shenanigans. But its also a story of friendship, of family, and of finding oneself despite all of the odds. Its a coming of age story and its even a love story on some levels. There really is something for everyone in SIX OF CROWS and its fast paced enough to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I know that I spent every free moment I could listening to this audio because once I became invested in this story I couldn’t stop listening. I just wanted to know more and when I hit the end I was bereft because it was over.

Another thing I like about SIX OF CROWS is that it has an ending. Oh there are still things that are left to be done and even a wee cliff hanger but you know were most of the players stand and you see the set up for things that will happen in CROOKED KINGDOM. But best of all, its not predictable. I have no idea where this story is going I just have my hopes and my fears on what Bardugo is going to go. SIX OF CROWS is an intricately woven story and I h ave no doubts that CROOKED KINGDOM is going to be the same. There are twists and turns around every corner and a whole lot of heartache and shenanigans ahead.

I did not expect to like SIX OF CROWS as much as I did. I wasn’t even sure that I would read it. But I am so very very glad that I did because I was so engrossed in this story. For me, its a whole different style and delivery than SHADOW & BONE. The characters have more depth and they are smart and feisty and while flawed they aren’t broken. Bardugo weaves in the history of the Grisha world and the backstorys of this crews expertly in the story that there are no slow info dump moments. SIX OF CROWS is definitely a story that can be read independently of SHADOW & BONE. So if you haven’t gotten around to reading that one yet, or if you are like me and you didn’t like it all that much I would say that you can easily pick this one up and know what is going on with the world and not be lost.

thumbs up

irishdarkblue

IR - Six of Crows

Add The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Heist Society by Ally Carter to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Review: Kings Rising by CS Pacat

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Kings Rising by CS PacatKings Rising by CS Pacat
Series: Captive Prince,
Also in this series: Captive Prince, Prince's Gambit
Published by Berkley Books on 02 February 16
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, GLBT, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Acquitart, Vere // Delpha, Akielos  // Ravenel, Vere // Fortaine, Vere // Kingsmeet, Akielos // Ios, Akielos

First Line(s): ‘Damianos.’ Damen stood at the base of the dais steps as his name spread in tones of shock and disbelief over the courtyard.

I am not entirely sure what to say in this review of KINGS RISING by CS Pacat that hasn’t already been said. How do I add to the gush fest that I wrote of the first two books in this series? How do I accurately sum up just how amazing this whole series was and all the feels it made me feel? There really aren’t words for me to use to fully describe this book or at least none adequate enough as I still have trouble speaking coherently about this book. I picked up KINGS RISING immediately after finishing PRINCE’S GAMBIT (my review) because I couldn’t wait another second before knowing what happened next. Especially with how PRINCE’S GAMBIT ended!! Secrets have been revealed and that is just the start of all the crazy twists and turns in this book.

Damen and Laurent have slowly been coming together and Damen’s secret could be the thing that finally breaks them. The final journey of these two is just so heartachingly good!! There are few couples in the book world that have effected me as much as Damen and Laurent have. Their romance is a slow burn filled with secrets and mistrust and eventually nothing but hope and love. It takes three books to get them there but oh what a journey it was to bring them to those final moments!! The Captive Prince series is such a roller coaster of emotion but oh my stars I would give anything to experience this read for the first time again. There is nothing like that first read where you have no idea what is waiting for you with each turn of the page and Pacat definitely excels at building up the suspense!!

Kings Rising Quote

Oh Pacat does still use her fancy $3 words but I didn’t care about that as much in this book as the others because I kind of thought that KINGS RISING might be the book that would kill me. (Spoiler: it didn’t…but it came close!). KINGS RISING really put my heart through the ringer and despite all my hopes I wasn’t sure that it would end the way I wanted to. This made my read of it complete torture but I wouldn’t change that ride for anything because the emotional investment in a story is part of what I love about reading. I totally lost myself for the hours it took me to read this book. I was Damen and Laurent and all the side characters. I wasn’t in my apartment reading in bed but right there on the battlefield wondering who I could trust and who would betray me next.

While PRINCE’S GAMBIT is probably my favorite in the series KINGS RISING is a close second. I read the two so close together that its hard to separate them at times. All I know is that I went into CAPTIVE PRINCE thinking that I would hate the books and I almost cried when I turned the last page of KINGS RISING because it was over. The end of a series is so hard especially when it was such an emotional read but as I’ve said I wouldn’t trade this journey for anything. If you know me, you know that I don’t gush about a ton of books. I recommend a ton but I’m not a gusher. This series though, this series totally makes me gush, and for that reason alone you should give it a try. I don’t think you’ll regret it. I know I didn’t.

 

 

Kings Rising Thoughts

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Captive Prince

 

Add Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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.

three-half-stars
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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Review: Prince’s Gambit by C.S. Pacat

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Prince’s Gambit by C.S. PacatPrince's Gambit by C.S. Pacat
Series: Captive Prince, Book 2
Also in this series: Captive Prince, Kings Rising
Published by Berkley Books on 07 July 2015
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Fantasy, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military
Pages: 404
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Captive Prince

Place(s) Traveled To: Chastillion, Vere // Fortain, Vere // Acquitart, Vere // Delpha, Akielos  // Ravenel, Vere // Marlas, Vere

First Line(s): The shadows were long with sunset when they rode up, and the horizon was red.

After finishing CAPTIVE PRINCE by C.S. Pacat (my review) I couldn’t get the story out of my head so had to get my hands on the second book in the series, PRINCE’S GAMBIT. PRINCE’S GAMBIT picks up right where CAPTIVE PRINCE ends and is filled with even more tension and political intrigue. It’s also in PRINCE’s GAMBIT where the romance between Laurent and Damen really starts to heat up. Though this series is still what I’d call a slow burn in the romance department. There are no grand declarations in this book but lots of forays into what is to come and of course drama and tension. But not crazy over the top drama or angst. Everything about PRINCE’S GAMBIT is real, raw and organic and I just couldn’t put this book down!! I loved the push and pull between Damen and Laurent as they worked together against the Regent and also worked toward forging a bond.

In CAPTIVE PRINCE, you learn that Laurent has essentially been on his own and had to keep his own council since the day that his father and older brother were killed. He doesn’t trust easily and there are still so many secrets between Laurent and Damen so you know that shit is about to get real before these two can find a happily ever after. As I mentioned about, the tension is off the hook in PRINCE’S GAMBIT and I just couldn’t stop turning the pages to see what would happen next. The political intrigue that is the baseline of the story really hits its stride as events that were started in CAPTIVE PRINCE start to unfold. Laurent, as usual, always seems to be several steps ahead of the rest and yet there are still some things that take him by surprise which makes for much edge of your seat reading.

Prince's Gambit Quote

I totally fell in love with this story and liked it even more than CAPTIVE PRINCE. I stayed up late to read it with my heart racing for much of the last half of the book. Not that this book has a ton of crazy action to it, because it doesn’t, but the political drama and of course the growing relationship between Laurent and Damen really sucks the reader in. Although, the super big fancy words that Pacat is so found of did distract a bit from the story. Using words like expostulation in place of protest just seemed so unnecessary and while I do hate when books are dumbed down there is such a thing as trying to hard to sound smart. I think that this series could have stood just as strong with words more commonly used than some of the word choices that Pacat makes.

Overall though, I loved PRINCE’S GAMBIT and found it even more compelling that CAPTIVE PRINCE. I was hooked from word one and am so glad that I decided to give this series a shot. Its such a heart achy read and has defied all of my expectations. Its so rare for a hyped up book to live up to the hype for me and this series is one of those few that make the cut. When I finished PRINCE’S GAMBIT I was DYING for KINGS RISING because I just couldn’t wait to see how the series ended. This is definitely one series where you’ll want to have access to all the books before starting because the cliff hangers between each are killer!!

 

irishdarkblue IR - Captive Prince

 

Add Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

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.

four-stars
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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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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Audio Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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

Audio Review: Carry On by Rainbow RowellCarry On by Rainbow Rowell
Narrator: Euan Morton
Published by Macmillian Audio on 06 Oct 2016
Genres: Abduction, Adolescence, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Fantasy, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Witches & Wizards, Young Adult
Length: 13 hrs and 42 mins
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: Fangirl

Place(s) Traveled To: Hampshire, England // London, England // Watford, England

First Line(s): I walk to the bus station by myself.

When talking with my friends after reading Rainbow Rowell’s FANGIRL (my review) it seems like I am one of the few that actually liked the little excerpts from Cath’s fan fiction story called Carry On. So when I heard that she was turning that into a book I was excited. Until I was not. CARRY ON is the name of Cath’s fan fiction but for this story its presented as the very last Simon Snow story and as such, I feel, as though it should have been titled something along the lines of Simon Snow and the <<blah blah blah>>. Although that may have been too close to HARRY POTTER which the Simon Snow story is clearly a  spoof of. Title aside though I still had some excitement but it all sort of fizzled by the time I had this very large book in my hands.

CARRY ON started off really really slow for me and I wasn’t a fan of the fact that they didn’t use a female narrator for the female POV chapters. Euon Morton does a fair enough job overall as the narrator but as with all male narrators female voices aren’t where he excels. I did like his vocal choices for Simon and Baz but the rest? Not as much. Speaking of Baz, this is a character that takes his own sweet time in showing up in the story. Things in CARRY ON do pick up a bit when he does but its still kind of a hot mess with little to no direction. There isn’t a whole ton of plot and the whole book is just sort of ramshackled together and I found myself rolling my eyes. A lot.

Carry On Quote

CARRY ON is also billed as this great M/M Romance and it fails there too because for a lot of the book Simon has a girlfriend. Then when he decides he likes Baz it just never feels real. Simon is such a surfacy 2D character that its hard to believe any of the emotions that he’s supposed to be feeling. And for a book that is a romance there should be more push/pull/something that happens between the characters. But with CARRY ON this doesn’t really develop until a good three quarters of the way through the book and then it just falls flat. A lot of this I think is due to the poor writing and the very mediocre narrator that was Simon Snow. I think if Baz had been telling CARRY ON I may have liked it a little more. Maybe.

From a fantasy standpoint, CARRY ON only barely squeeks by. Its just cobbled together with a bunch of tropes and its so very predictable. I guessed all the big twists very very early on and as such just sort of rolled my eyes at the attempted mic drop moments. I also felt that at times the POV just shifted way too rapidly that I almost got whiplash. I also didn’t get why certain characters were in the story at all since they did nothing to move the plot along and just bogged down the story. In the end, I was pretty disappointed with CARRY ON as I just expected so much more from this story. I think in the future I’ll still to Rowell’s contemporary works and turn to others when I am looking for a fantasy read.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Carry On

 

Add Wizard’s Hall by Jane Yolen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

three-stars
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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee

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

Blog Tour Review: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa YeeWonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee
Series: DC Super Hero Girls,
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on 01 March 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Fantasy, Friendship, Middle Grade, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 240
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Metropolis // Paradise Island

First Line(s): It was barely the third week of school, and already someone had been expelled.

WONDER WOMAN AT SUPER HERO HIGH by Lisa Yee is the start of a new middle grade series set at the fictional Super Hero High in Metropolis. This is the school where all the young super heroes go to learn how to use their powers and how to be a super hero. Or maybe not as not all those who go to this school have good intentions in mind. Wonder Woman is a total fish out of water when she starts at Super Hero High having been home schooled and fairly sheltered on Paradise Island by her mother. She knows of the outside world but she misses a lot of social queues and doesn’t always get the joke. She’s a very literal girl and so this makes her a tad bit socially awkward and that is part of what makes Wonder Woman, or Wondy as she begins to be called, a relatable character.

Going to a new school is always hard be it a transfer in, a move from home school to public, or even going from middle school to high school. Its easy to get overwhelmed at times or to sign up for too much. Not to mention all the pitfalls of making new friends (or enemies as the case may be) along with being part of the social media generation. Wondy learns all of these things, often at a comical expense throughout the course of WONDER WOMAN. Her roommate runs HQTV (aka Harley Quinn TV YouTube channel) and so often captures Wondy’s mishaps along with her fellow students much to Wondy’s embarrassment but its something she learns to deal with and become aware of. To think before she acts because you never know who may be watching and to learn to accept that she can’t be perfect all of the time.

Wondy is a bit naive at times and that wasn’t always the easiest things for me to read as an adult but I think that this is something that will really help her appeal to a younger reader.  Wondy is also filled with so much heart and dedication to do well and to be the best friend she can be. She’s the sort of girl who wants to be the best at everything and to win all the awards but she’s also humble enough to know when to share the spotlight with someone else. Even if doing so means sacrificing something else.

There were times when WONDER WOMAN made me laugh at loud, usually at something Harley Quinn said, and times where it made me cringe. I loved all the various characters that were incorporated into this story along with the superhero triathalon. I liked how this was a girl power dominated story in a universe that is typically overshadowed by boys. I thought that the mystery element was a little weak, choppy and highly underdeveloped but that is probably not something that will bother younger readers. But will also help in teaching them the impoartance of making assumptions and why that isn’t always a good thing. There are a lot of great teachable moments in WONDER WOMAN and its a book that I look forward to sharing with my niece as I think she’ll like it a lot.

irishdarkblue

IR - Wonder Woman

 

Add Cinderella Stays Late by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams to Goodreads (Click here for my review)

Add Gotham Academy Volume 1 by Becky Cloonan to Goodreads.

four-stars
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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

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

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae CarsonThe Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Series: Fire and Thorns,
Published by Harper Audio on 24 July 2012
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Espionage, Friendship, Love & Romance, People of Color, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military, Young Adult
Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
two-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Amalur, Orovalle // Brisadulce, Joya D’Arena // Basajuan, Joya D’Arena // Rebel Camp, Joya D’Arena // Great Desert, Joya D’Arena // Oasis, Joya D’Arena

First Line(s): Prayer candles flicker in my bedroom.

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson first came to my attention back in 2011 when I received an ARC of it. At the time it sounded interesting but I wasn’t sure it was for me so I put it on my shelf as a maybe someday read. Time passed and I never really forgot about the book as so many people kept recommending it to me. Telling me I had to read THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS as it was so so good and as a lover of fantasy I needed to experience the story. So after many attempts I finally did. And I wish I hadn’t. I just had so very many issues with this book that I’m not entirely sure I’ll be able to capture them fully here.

First, my biggest issues with THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS was all the body shamming that occurred. Elisa was contantly told she was fat and as a result wasn’t pretty and would be useless if she didn’t carry the godstone. Not only were the outside comments terrible but her own internal ones were worse. She was so self-depreciating that it made me cringe. Then, she gets kidnapped and loses all her excess weight and all of a sudden is smart and beautiful and everyone flocks to her. She has value and is fierce and no….just no!!! Before she lost weight she’s considered to be naive and after she is this smart warlord who is a great leader. And I just hated how all of Elisa’s character growth came because she lost the weight not not because of who she was. And even though she does become skinny, Elisa maintains a very low self-esteem and low body image of herself and she never really grows or changes in that perspective.

Girl of Fire and Thorns Quote

The other part of THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS that drove me batty was all the talk about food and religion. If Elisa wasn’t thinking about food then she was either eating food or yearning for food. And if none of those were happening than she or others were talking about food. The few times when food wasn’t the main topic things moved to religion. So much religious talk. I get that religion was a big deal in this world but it was forced down a readers throat at every turn of the page. There are ways to be a religious and spiritual story with out forcing it and this would have been a grand lesson for THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS to learn.

The whole plot was pretty non-existant and the writing tended to make my eye twitch. I swear the word grin was horribly overused along with smile and every variation that you can think of of those words. They would be used several times on the page and even a time or two in the same sentence. For a kidnapped naive princess turn warlord general trying to stop an invasion there was an awful lot of grinning. You’d think there would be more suspense involved but there never was. But in the end there wasn’t a whole ton that happened and what did occurred mostly off the page.

And finally, I was promised a great romance. But there really was none. Elisa was married at the start of the book and then her marriage was kept secret from her husband who kept a mistress. Elisa then started to fall for one of the rebels but that didn’t progress far and ended badly. When I started to read THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS I had lots of people make comments to me about a character named Hector and how swoon worthy he was. But he was barely in the book at all. THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS is a book that I felt I wasted my time reading. It just annoyed me from start to finish and I’m going to have to think long and hard before I decide if I should continue on with this series or not.

Read my Goodreads updates here.

 

irishdarkblue

People who liked this book better than I did

Two Chicks on Books – “I really loved the characters she created Elisa is weak at first but she learns quickly and finds her inner strength. The king is likable enough and I absolutely loved his guard Hector (more of him in book 2 please Rae). The rest of the characters each have strong personalities and I can tell you some you will fall in love with and some you will detest from the moment you meet them.”

Book Smugglers – [Elisa]’s not a perfect heroine or a Mary Sue, for all that she’s God’s Chosen, but she finds a way to take on the innumerable challenges thrown in her path with a kind of calm grace and growing sense of confidence and self-respect.

Tripping Over Books – “I have to also take a minute to say that THINGS happen in THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS that almost never happen in YA books. I’ll tell you this: as an avid reader of ADULT fantasy, I wasn’t unfamiliar with the twists. They still hurt like burning, but in a devastatingly good way, and I give Rae Carson incredible props for going there. TWICE.”

 

IR - Girl of Fire and Thorns

Special thanks to Jaime of Two Chicks on Books for today’s recommendation suggestions!!

Add Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder to Goodreads. (Click here for Jaime’s thoughts / Click here for my review)

Add Defy by Sara B. Larson to Goodreads. (Click here for Jaime’s review)

two-stars
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Monday, August 10, 2015

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. SchwabA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic,
Published by Tor Books on 24 February 2015
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Death & Dying, Dystopian, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friendship, Historical, Mystery & Detective, Parallel World, Politics & Intrigue, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Witches & Wizards
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To:
Red London: Arnes
Grey London // Windsor // Eton: England
White London: Makt

First Line(s): Kell wore a very peculiar coat.

Not long ago my Twitter was all a buzz with VE Schwab’s A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC and even now, months after its release, there is still a lot of chatter about it. Since I love a good fantasy I decided to give this one a shot and was immediately intrigued by the blend of magic and parallel worlds. On its surface, A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC, seems like the perfect book for me but I found it incredibly easy to put down and difficult to pick back up again. When I was reading it I was absorbed but it was fleeting and when I had time to think about it something about the story just fell flat for me.

While I get that this world is new(ish) and so there is a lot of set up to be done I found it to be very repetitive with its content. There was no reason for all to be resaid over and over and over it again. It got old and frustrating and I would find myself skipping some paragraphs just to get things moving along in the hopes that new facts would appear. Only not much happened for most of this book. Again I know that there is a lot of set up to be had to set the rules of these worlds that Kell finds himself traveling through but it was slow and boring and suffered from too many POVs. That’s right, there was that dreaded headjumping that I really can’t stand in a book. I don’t mind when perspective shifts in a book but I do take exception when its for a paragraph or two and into random heads on a one off basis just to make it easier to move the story along. This just frustrates me to know end and I know it made me roll my eyes and sigh with every new instance.

Darker Shade of Magic Quote

There was also a mystery element to A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC that I found to be really predictable and while I don’t always dislike a story for its predictableness it does make things more interesting when things aren’t so in your face obvious. Especially when the characters seem to actively turn a blind eye to things that are crystal clear to the reader. The characters themselves were all a bit two-dimenstional. There was noting super special about any of them and I often found myself wondering why I should care about what they were doing or the trouble they were getting themselves in. Not to mention the forced love interest between Kell and Lila and what could be a potential love triangle forming for the next book. #blergh

Despite all of this though I really didn’t dislike A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC but I didn’t love it either. I’m in no rush to see what happens next and am on the fence on if I’ll read that book or not. For me, this story is forgettable and there is nothing that really sets it apart from other stories. Though I do think that with a little fine tuning it could be a story with a most excellent premise. I think that maybe this read was just another instance where I let myself get pulled into the hype and as such had higher expectations for it than I should have. As such, I found A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC to be more of a mediocre read and didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

irishdarkblue

 

 

IR - Darker Shade of Magic

 

Add A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Posted by Irish in 2 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee AhdiehThe Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn,
Published by Putnam Juvenile on 12 May 2015
Genres: Adaptation, Arabian, Assassins, Death & Dying, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Fantasy, Friendship, Love & Romance, People & Places, People of Color, Romance, Royalty, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 388
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
two-stars

Place(s) Traveled to: Khorasan – Rey // Taleqan

First Line(s): It would not be a welcome dawn.

THE WRATH AND THE DAWN is the debut novel of Renne Ahdieh and is a retelling of the 1001 Nights fairy tale. The main character and POV of the story is Shahrzad, called Shazi by friends, which occasional head jumps in Khalid, and who ever else is convenient to get a point across. I do not mind dual or even multiple POV stories but when you jump into someones perspective only once and for a paragraph or two before jumping back into someone else just to get a quick point across? Well, that annoys me. To me that’s lazy story telling as the author couldn’t figure out to get that one little snippet out so (s)he cheats a little with a quick head jump. I know that for most this is a non-issue but its something that has always bothered me in books and makes my eye a little twitchy.

Overall, I mostly liked how THE WRATH AND THE DAWN was written although towards the end the prose and the drawn out story was getting to me. There were also times when it felt like important scenes had been cut from the plot narrative. Where important keys to the overall story arc were discussed. Then later on we’d be dropped in the middle of the woods without a way to read the map. Leaving a trail of cryptic notes on the path. But being cryptic does not make for a good mystery…it only creates a frustrated reader. And I was very very frustrated by the end of this book. The plot and the characters just really got under my skin and not in a good way.

The Wrath & The Dawn Quote

Shazi was a spoiled brat and I have no idea when two guys were in love with her. This aspect of the story was also way to love triangly for me. I get that she was mostly insta-lusting for Khalid, a man she’s supposed to hate but falls for in a blink, but she does waffle a little when her childhood love Tariq shows up on the scene. I do admire that she stays true to her but as a result this sends Tariq into a spurned lover fit that sets of a chain of events that is just…not good. All in the name of the so called love his holds for Shazi. Oh what fools these mortals be an all that. Then you have Despira, who was just crass and inconsistent in character although I did like how she’d call Shazi on her bratty ways. What I didn’t like was that while the 1001 Nights tale seemed to fairly well researched Despira got basic things about Ancient Greece and its beliefs wrong. Using the word Hades to refer to a Hell and reference a heaven. If you know anything about Greek Mythology then you know that Hades is a person, Elysium would be the equivalent to heaven, and Tartarus the equivalent of hell.

THE WRATH AND THE DAWN was also a pretty slow read for me as nothing happens in this book until about 70% into the story. I get that THE WRATH AND THE DAWN is the first book in a series and that there is some set up involved but this was just overly drawn out. Only to lead to a quick flash in the pan climatic moment and then curtains closed with a cliff hanger. And not a very good one as the story is quickly fading from my mind. This does not bode well for me when it comes to picking up the second book in this series. Also, I just don’t care very much about these characters at all, with the exception of Khlaid, but there were times when I wanted to shake him as well. So much of this book hinges on people keeping secrets and not communication anything to anyone. This leads to miscommunications and rash decisions and a frustrated reader. The plot was a bit of muddled mess and just too much of the story was missing for it to be a cohesive story.

THE WRATH AND THE DAWN is just another YA Fantasy that I am the odd man out on. For despite its billing, I just don’t get much of a fantasy vibe off this one at all. Yes there is a curse but its only alluded to in cryptic ways and you really don’t learn much about it at all. I love a good fantasy but its just so hard to find that in YA today. At least it is for me as everyone seems to love this story and they fall into the hype of it. But as of writing this I think I’m done with this series and will wait until Renee Ahdieh writes something new. Perhaps I’ll like her next series better than this one as there are some strong solid lines within this book. Just not enough of them to keep me from banging my head against the wall in frustration.

See my Goodreads updates here.

 

irishdarkblue

People who liked this book better than I did:

Love is Not a Triangle – “I felt Shazi’s determination at the start of the book, and then her confusion as her heart begins to change and she is torn between two very different ideals. But even that struggle Shazi faces straight on with determination and without unnecessary angst.”

Effortlessly Reading – “The Wrath and the Dawn has this deep addictive quality to it. Right after I finished The Wrath and the Dawn, I immediately wanted to reread it again, to enjoy Renee’s writing and characters all over again, and promptly did just that.”

The Eater of Books – “The fantasy is stunning, and the world-building is so well-written. There is magic and lore and curses and swords and assassins and basically my favorite kind of fantasy.”

 

IR - Wrath and the Dawn

 

Add Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

two-stars
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