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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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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blog Tour Review: Recklessly Royal by Nichole Chase

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Blog Tour, Contest, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Blog Tour Review: Recklessly Royal by Nichole Chase

Blog Tour Review: Recklessly Royal by Nichole ChaseRecklessly Royal by Nichole Chase
Series: Suddenly, Book 2
Also in this series: Suddenly Royal
Published by Avon on 25 March 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, New Adult, Royalty
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Suddenly Royal

Place(s) Traveled To: Lilaria

First Line(s): There wouldn’t be more press outside of Rousseau Manor if Queen Elizabeth herself was planning to parade around in her panties while singing the British national anthem.

 Recklessly Royal by Nichole Chase picks up around two years after Suddenly Royal ends and tells the story of Alex’s sister Catherine. The story begins with Alex and Sam’s wedding and I found it initially hard to believe that they’d wait 2 years to get married after getting engaged within months but that was just a minor quibble. I also didn’t see the closeness that was supposed to exist between Sam and David since he was barely in the first book but did feel that for his reason to be in Lilaria that it made sense. I also really enjoyed the relationship between David and Cathy even though there were times when David did act like a bit of an ass.

Overall though the two meshed well together and I liked watching their relationship grow. I liked watching Cathy regain her footing after she became more drawn into herself after events in Suddenly Royal. I liked how David allowed her to be herself and not just a vapid princess as some thought she was. As with Suddenly Royal, this book was a quick read and fortunately wasn’t one where it took forever for the two main characters became an item. Cathy and David’s relationship was a bit quick but it wasn’t in the realm of the impossible.

I could have done without the unnecessary (and predictable) drama that unfolded but definitely preferred it to the hemming and hawing and angst of Sam in the first book. I also would have liked to have seen more cameos from Sam and Alex but I get how this book was also to serve an an introduction to Max, a reluctant prince who will have his story told next. There was some obvious set up for his story in Recklessly Royal and it was just so obvious and a bit sigh worth as while i like cameos, etc I do like the full focus of a story to be on the lead characters.

If you like feel good contemporary new adult romances then you might want to check out Recklessly Royal. David is a sweet hero with no asshole like behavior, no tattoos or troubled past. He’s a good guy who likes a good girl and this is the story of how they fall in love. And since Alex and Sam aren’t in this story much you can easily read this story either before or after Suddenly Royal. Recklessly Royal is a quick, fun read and I enjoyed the time that I spent in this world. Its not a perfect book but it is a fun way to pass a few hours and its one that I would recommend.

irishdarkblue

 

 

 

RECKLESSLY ROYAL Synopsis:

Catherine has spent her life being the perfect princess. She’s kept her hands clean, her head down, and most importantly—men at arm’s length. After all, most men are after only one thing, and for Cathy there’s a lot more at stake than her bed; she has to worry about the fate of an entire nation. But at the rate she’s going, Cathy is afraid she’ll give the Virgin Queen a run for her money. She is tired of waiting for someone good enough to come along. She has a plan, and it all hinges on seducing the one man who seems utterly unimpressed by all things royal. The one man she is tempted by more than any other . . .

When David arrives at the royal wedding of his friend, the newly ordained Duchess Samantha Rousseau, he expected to feel uncomfortable and out of his element, but he wasn’t prepared to be targeted by Prince Alex’s gorgeous younger sister. With Cathy’s giant blue eyes, killer figure, and sense of humor, it won’t take long before he gives in. But when he finds out just how innocent the crown princess really is, will he play the part of knight in shining armor or the dashing rogue?

 

Nichole Chase Bio:

Nichole Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Suddenly Royal, Flukes, The Dark Betrayal Trilogy, and several short stories. She is also the instructor of Say What? a dialogue class at the Romance Academy.

Nichole lives in Georgia with her husband, energetic daughter, superhero dog, Sulcata tortoise, and two cats. When not writing, you may find her reading, painting, crafting, or chasing her daughter around the house while making monster noises.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon // Barnes and Noble

 

Links:

Website // Twitter // Facebook //Author Goodreads // RECKLESSLY ROYAL Goodreads

 

Contest:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Blog Tour Stops:

 

March 17

T’s Bookish Moments of Escape – Author Interview

Book Angel Booktopia – Review Only

Andrea Heltsley Books – Review Only

March 18

The Reading Realm – Review Only

Stormy Day Reading Books – Excerpt

Cocktails and Books – Review Only

March 19

I Read Indie – Review Only

Wolfel’s World of Books – Review Only

Living in a Book World – Playlist

March 20

Buried Under Romance – Author Interview

The Book Review – Review Only

Badass Book Babe – Review Only

March 21

Phantasmic Reads – Review Only

Jesus Freak Reader – Excerpt

Reads and Thoughts – Review Only

March 22

The Phantom Paragrapher – Review Only

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Guest Post

 

March 23

Narratively Speaking – Review Only

My Not So Vacant Shelf – Review Only

About to Read – Review Only

March 24

Paper Charade – Character Interview

Roxy’s Reviews – Review Only

Typical Distractions – Review Only

March 25

Hardcover Therapy – Review Only

Her Juicy Reads – Review Only

Ticket to Anywhere – Review Only

March 26

Dear Restless Reader – Review Only

Sexy Book Reviews by Shelly & April – Review Only

The Geekery Book Review – Review Only

March 27

Ramblings From This Chick – Guest Post

My Summer Girl Books – Review Only

Gabic Reads – Review Only

March 28

Tiffany Talks Books – DreamCast

Rumpled Sheets Blog – Review Only

March 29

No BS Book Reviews – Review Only

Book Addict Mumma – Review Only

March 30

The Indie Express – Guest Post

Reading and Things – Review Only

March 31

Book Bitches Blog – Excerpt

Alphas Authors and Books Oh My – Review Only

Reading Bliss – Review Only

April 1

The Fairest of All book Reviews – Review Only

Movies, Shows & Books – Author Interview

Read This ~ Hear That – Review Only

April 2

City of Books – Character Interview

The Suburban Eclectic Review – Review Only

Steamy Guys After Dark – Review Only

April 3

Romance Addict Book Blog – Excerpt

True Story Book Blog  – Review Only

Maria’s Book Blog – Review Only

April 4

Rusty’s Reading – Guest Post

Whirlwind Books – Review only

three-stars
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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Review: No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige

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

Review: No Place Like Oz by Danielle PaigeNo Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige
Series: Dorothy Must Die,
Published by Harper Teen on 12 November 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Girls & Women, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 196
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Kansas // Oz

First Line(s): They say you can’t go home again.

No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige is a prequel story to the upcoming book Dorothy Must Die and takes place around 2 years after Dorothy returned home from Oz. In No Place Like Oz everything that Frank Baum wrote about in his books is real and Dorothy is trying hard to adjust to her ordinary life. She many wonderful things while in Oz, performed great deeds, and was well liked by all. She is feeling lost and adrift back in Kansas because no one believes what she says happened when the tornado carried her away and she begins to wonder why she ever left Oz at all. I really liked all the nods in No Place Like Oz to the original story, including the use of the silver shoes originally worn as opposed to the red ones seen in the movie, and you can tell that Danielle Paige is a big fan. I also found the story to be realistic and even understood Dorothy’s frustration on returning home.

I became lost in No Place Like Home and enjoyed Paige’s writing style and the set up that this novella gives to her upcoming Dorothy Must Die. I do feel though that without reading how Dorothy returned to Oz and how she rose to power there that I would be lost at the start of Dorothy Must Die. This novella is short but it contains a lot of information in it. It also wouldn’t hurt for a reader to have some knowledge of the original stories as well as there are references to them as the source and not the movie that most people know and love.

I enjoyed this prequel and it does get me excited for Dorothy Must Die but I think that because it does rely on the original stories that it does take away a little from the novella as not everyone is going to know them. They’ll see references to the silver shoes and wonder why and wonder why we don’t hear reference to red shoes until Dorothy receives the mysterious package on her birthday. I am more sold now though on Dorothy Must Die than I was before and really like how this novella sets it all up. Just be sure to read it before Dorothy Must Die so you understand how things came to be.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review: Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: Suddenly Royal by Nichole ChaseSuddenly Royal by Nichole Chase
Series: Suddenly,
Also in this series: Recklessly Royal
Published by Avon on 26 November 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Girls & Women, New Adult, People & Places, Royalty
Pages: 388
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Recklessly Royal

Place(s) Traveled To: Unnamed, Minnesota // Lilaria

First Line(s): To say my day was not going well, would be like saying the French Revolution had been a bit troublesome for Marie Antoinette.

Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase is a new adult contemporary romance that was cute and a quick read. Though I do think the synopsis is a bit misleading as Alex is all about pursuing Sam who just recently learned that she is a Duchess in the country where he is the Crown Prince. Sam is a very reluctant royal and doesn’t think that she is up to the task. Nor does she think she’s good enough for Alex and so is pretty angsty for most of the book as she pushes him away with weak arguments. I say weak as for much of the book she keeps telling herself it won’t work with Alex as he’s royalty and she’s an American commoner and she always forgets that her Lilarian rank makes her a potential match for him.

Overall, Suddenly Royal  was a really cute read and I enjoyed watched Sam navigate the waters of her new life. I enjoyed the side characters of Cathy (Alex’s sister) and Chadwick (her personal assistant) and they both brought in some added humor to the story. Though too much time was spent getting Alex and Sam together which left little room for them to be a couple so their actual relationship felt rushed. I did like Alex and Sam as a couple and believed in their romance I just wished that they had gotten together earlier. I also liked how Sam was a strong character who didn’t want to give up all that she’d worked for in college and grad school just because she suddenly found herself with a title. She valued education and so really weighed the pros and cons of packing up her life and moving.

I found Sam to be real and genuine and didn’t mind being in her head for most of the book. Although I could have done without all the angst on if she should date Alex or not. That just got old, fast. I enjoyed her relationship with her Stepdad and wish that we could have seen more of him in the book and that certain events weren’t rushed where he was concerned. Suddenly Royal is a book filled with so much potential but that had some missed opportunities for greatness. So much time was wasted on buildup (as I mentioned above) and little details that don’t matter as much. As I mentioned, Suddenly Royal, is a quick read and I read it in just a few hours. I enjoyed the story but didn’t love it for all the reasons mentioned above.

I do enjoy Chase’s writing style and do look forward to her other books and think she can only grow as a writer as time progresses.  Chase first published Suddenly Royal on her own before it was picked up by Avon and I believe the copy I read was her self-published version. While I believe there were some additions made to the story when Avon picked it up they weren’t details that actively change the main story line. I think that anyone who enjoys a feel-good romance (especially those that contain royals) will enjoy this book.

irishdarkblue

 

three-stars
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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Audio Review: Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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

Audio Review: Shadow & Bone by Leigh BardugoShadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Narrator: Lauren Fortang
Series: The Grisha,
Published by Brilliance Audio on 30 November 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery & Detective, Young Adult
Length: 8 hours 55 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Summer Days and Summer Nights, Six of Crows

Place(s) Traveled to: Os Alta, Ravka // Kribirsk, Ravka // Novokribirsk, Ravka // Petrazoi, Ravka // Ryevost, Ravka

First Line(s): The Servants called them malenchki, little ghosts because they were the smallest and the youngest, and because they haunted the Duke’s house like giggling phantoms, darting in and out of rooms, hiding in cupboards to eavesdrop, sneaking into the kitchen to steal the last of the summer peaches.

 Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo is one of those book with which I’m having a hard time finding the words that best reflect my thoughts. Shadow & Bone is one that I thought that I would like more than I did and its one that took me forever to get into. I finally made the switch from print to audio and was able to move past the opener and it all was sort of middle of the road from there.

Halfway through the book I wrote this note on Goodreads:

Plot = Non-existant

Alina = Boy crazy

Jenya = a minda reader as she’s always answering thoughts in Alina’s head

Mal = absent

the Darkling = boring and cliche

I think that the only thing that kept me listening to this story until the end was the narrator, Lauren Fortang. Who somehow managed to make the story a tad more interesting than it was. There were also lots of Russian-eske names that she pronounced far better than I ever could in my mind. I liked Fortang’s style and the various voices she used for all the characters. Even if there were times when she mixed up tone and intonation of one character with another. Overall, though she is definitely a narrator that I won’t mind listening to again.

Just not for this series.

There was no plot and nothing happened until the last part of the book where Mal shows up and randomly declares his love, Alina finally gets a clue and the Darkling makes long speeches and never once shows the fearful nature that he is supposed to embody. He was just such a cliche of every bad guy out there and not even the best parts of them.

Shadow & Bone was a book that tells more than it shows. There is no discover or things for the reader to figure out as everything is presented. The dialogue scenes tend to be a bit ridiculous and over the top as well. All the Russian elements also felt a bit forced and fake and even made me cringe a time or two. The concept of Shadow & Bone was interesting but for me it never lived up. For me, Shadow & Bone is an average read and not one that I’d rush to recommend to those looking for a fantasy story. As of this posting I am unsure on if I will continue on in this series as there is just so much else out there to read. Have you read Siege & Storm do things improve dramatically? If so, then let me know and maybe…just maybe I’ll give it a shot.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Audio Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

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

Audio Review: Everneath by Brodi AshtonEverneath by Brodi Ashton
Narrator: Amy Rubinate
Series: Everneath,
Published by Hachette Audio on 24 January 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Length: 9 hours 42 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Goodreads
two-stars

Place(s) Traveled to: Everneath // Park City, Montana

First Line: I was picturing his face – a boy with floppy brown hair and brown eyes – when the Feed ended.

Everneath Series Order
Book 1: Everneath
Book 1.5: Neverfall
Book 2: Everbound
Book 3: Evertrue

The first thing that drew me to Everneath by Brodi Ashton was its pretty cover. The second thing that drew me to Everneath was that it was a retelling of a couple of Greek myths cobbled together to make a new story. I’m always a sucker for Greek mythology retelling and there were many raves about this book so I thought, why not? But alas, this book was not for me and its taken me forever to put my thoughts about it down as sometimes the meh reviews are the hardest to write.

The main character Nikki is one of those characters that just makes my eye twitch. She has a limited time on the surface to find a solution to her problem and yet for 3/4th of the book all she does is whine about how little time she has and how much she loves Jack. And I swear it seemed like Nikki thought or said the name Jack in every other sentence. It literally began to make my eye get all twitchy.

Out of curiosity I did a search with the Amazon Look Inside feature and Jack’s name is mentioned 101 times and Cole’s 110…I knew those names were mentioned a lot! Although to be fair I did a similar search with a book I liked and that character’s name was mentioned 134 times…so in this case annoyance is all in the eye of how annoying the main character is.

The mythology of this book was just so-so. Maybe there was just too much that was being used as the source material or maybe not enough. I could see hints of the various Greek myths used in this story and I think that maybe this one would have been a bit better if it had focused on one story. It also has hints of vampirism and I am just getting so tired of those paranormal beasties. No, there aren’t actual blood-sucking creatures in Everneath but the Everliving (the name for Cole and those like him) need to feed off the energies of humans in order to live forever. Its the feeding off of another person that makes them seem a bit vampiric in nature.

Then the worst part of the whole book, the love triangle. Oh sweet baby Jesus do I dislike those. Especially when you have two so uber-hot guys who both desperately want the main character and everything she says or does just makes you want to smack her. There was nothing special about this girl and I don’t get why Jack or Cole wanted her when all she did was mope and whine. It also seems to boggle my mind a bit that for someone who was that Nikki was supposedly in love with Jack for the entire book and yet despite that fell instantly in love with Cole (the typical bad boy to Jacks uber goody-goody persona). Nikki’s life was so bland and ordinary and its never really explained why she decided to chuck it all to be Cole’s thing to feed on. Well, truth told that may have been explained but there is just so much of this book that is so completely forgettable that I kinda wish I’d been able to find the words sooner to write this review.

For me, Everneath is a book where nothing happens until the very end which is this horribly cliched and overly predictable ending that would have made me toss the book across the room if I wasn’t listening on my iPod. Everneath is a very commercial book and I can see how it would appeal to many but its just not my cup of tea. It reminded me in many ways of Twilight – just without the vampires and werewolves. So if you liked that book you’ll like Everneath if you did not, then you won’t. Overall, I found this one to be very bland, generic, entirely forgettable.

About the narrator

I think that the only thing that kept me listening to Everneath until the end was its narrator Amy Rubinate. I first discovered Rubinate’s narration style with Shadows of the Moon and enjoyed her voice and her way of bringing a story to life. And it was Rubinate that drew me to the audio version of Everneath and I am just glad that I listened to Shadows first. It can be hard sometimes to separate a narrator from the characters that they portray and if I’d heard Rubinate narrating the oh so annoying Nikki I may have sworn off listening to other audios by her. The end result with this book was I loved the narrator but I wasn’t a fan of the story she had to tell.

People who liked this book better than I did (Click blog name to read their full review):
Making the Grade – “Everneath is a story of perseverance. It is a story of pure grit, determination, and not excepting defeat. More than that, it is a story of unconditional love that defies all odds.”

The Book Scout – “The plot was extremely unique and Ashton incorporated the mythology in such a new and refreshing way. There were quite a few twists and turns that kept me engaged and several things completely shocked me. I had a hard time setting Everneath down, especially towards the end when Nikki’s time was running out.”

Book.Blog.Bake – “Jack and Cole are both fantastically written characters. They’re both intriguing in their own ways while being complete opposites of one another. The way the characters are written and the subtle themes that run underneath this work make this a 4/5 star read for me.”

two-stars
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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Audio Review: The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima

Posted by Irish in Review1 Comment

Title: The Gray Wolf Throne (Goodreads)
Publisher:  Recorded Books (Audio);  Hyperion Books for Children (Print)

Source: Purchased
Publication Date: 25 Oct 2012 (Audio); 23 Oct 2012 (Print)
Series or Standalone: Series

ISBN: B009WQV80Y (Audio), 1423144333 (Paperback)

Format: Audio
Audio Length:  ~17 hrs
Narrator: Carol Monda

Websites:

Place(s) Traveled to: Marisa Pines // Fellsmarch

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Seven Realms Series Order
Book 4: The Crimson Crown

First Line: It was the largest gathering of Spirit clans Raisa had ever seen.

The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima was one of my most anticipated books of 2012 and the moment it was out I snapped up a copy. Then I let it sit on a shelf all pretty mostly ignoring it but sometimes giving it a lovely pat saying soon. But knowing in my heart I may never read it because if I did then the series would be over and I’ve have to say goodbye. Raisa, Han, Firedancer, Amon, and all the others would be put to rest once that last page was turned and I wasn’t ready for their story to be over. I wasn’t ready to leave Fellsmarch and this rich detailed world that Chima created. 
I couldn’t put it off forever though because at war with my need to not say goodbye was the stronger desire to know what happens next. Would Raisa survive to hold the throne? Would the Bayers be defeated? Or would they claim the ultimate prize? Would Han ever be ablet o find a true and lasting happiness? And how would Firedancer come to terms with being part clan and part wizard? There were just so many bits and pieces that I needed to know about and so I succumbed and began this story. And even though I had a physical copy I knew the only way to experience The Crimson Crown was to do so on audio. Just as I’d done from the previous books in the series. 

As I expected, Chima did not let me down with this story. Events start off fast and they don’t let up until you hit the end of the book. Carol Monda really delivers with her narration although there were a few times when she seemed to slip a little and it wasn’t as easy as in previous books to know who was speaking and Dancer’s voice seemed to change all together. This was a bit off putting as you’d think with 3 other books in this series under her belt Monda would have a better grasp on the characters. But, she doesn’t get to do the narration back to back so I can see how things wouldn’t match 100% across the board. Overall, Monda does a great job and she is these characters. 
The Crimson Crown is the final installment in Chima’s Seven Realms series and so there were lots of threads that needed to be completed. Events that began in book 1 had to be wrapped up and Chima does it in a realistic way. She closes out all the main stories lines but still leaves just enough so that a reader can sit and imagine where these characters might end up after the final page is turned. My one complaint is that there was this one story arc that wasn’t tied up and it could have long reaching implications and I just wished it was more final. But it also gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, Chima isn’t ready to leave this world either. After all she is writing more books in her other series and that was just supposed to be a trilogy (at least as far as I know) so there is always the possibility….*hopes soar* 
For me, I think I wouldn’t be happy if these series had a thousand books in it. I just love this world so very much and I could live in it if such a thing was possible. I really enjoyed this book and how Chima wrapped things up and I just wish I could go back and read it all again for teh first time. This is a great fantasy series and its one that I can’t recommend enough so if you haven’t read it you really need to go fix that. Then come back here and tell me just how amazing you think it is as well. =) 

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Audio Review: The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

Posted by Irish in Review4 Comments

Title: The Gray Wolf Throne (Goodreads)
Publisher:  Recorded Books (Audio);  Hyperion Books for Children (Print)

Source: Purchased
Publication Date: 04 Oct 2011 (Audio);  30 Aug 2011 (Print)
Series or Standalone: Series

ISBN: B005SCAPDC (Audio), 1423121384 (Paperback)

Format: Audio
Audio Length:  ~10 hrs
Narrator: Carol Monda

Websites:

Place(s) Traveled to: Oden’s Ford // Marisa Pines // Fellsmarch

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Seven Realms Series Order
Book 3: The Gray Wolf Throne
Book 4: The Crimson Crown

First Line: Raisa ana‘Marianna huddled in her usual dark corner at the Purple Heron, picking at her meat pie.

The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima picks up not long after the events of The Exiled Queen end and where there was a lot of transition and set up in book 2 this third installment is filled with non-stop action. From the moment you start this book you are knocked into the world and the race to see where things might end up for Raisa, Han, and all the characters that you’ve come to love (and hate) over the first two books. Each character is further fleshed out and while they are old friends at this point they still manage to surprise you with their actions.

There were more times then I can count during my listen of this book where I almost wished that I was reading the print version as I can read so much faster than being read to. And more than anything I just wanted to know what was going to happen next! Thankfully though I’d downloaded this book via audible.com and so it was on my ipod and I wasn’t constrained to just listening to it in my car as I am with a CD. I found myself listening to this one every chance I could no matter where I was. 

As always Carol Monda did a great job with all the voices and I am certain that if I go back and experience these in print I’ll have her narration echoing in my brain as each of the characters speak. Her slightly raspy voice is just perfect and there is a good distinction between the various male and female voices.

The more I experience The Seven Realms series the more I fall in love with this world and its characters. I wish that I could open up a window so I can watch all the scenes play out in front of me so rich and detailed Chima portrays everything. The switches in POVs are always handled well and there is usually little doubt as to whose POV you are in or who is speaking when thanks to Monda’s well established narration. 

The story is fast paced and the action never lets up once it begins and you can almost taste the tension in some scenes. There where also times when I got so into the audio that I found myself speaking back to it as it played in my car. Whispering words of encouragement or disbelief and so many other things that I can’t remember at this moment. This is how sucked into the world I was and part of why I love this series so very much.

If you love a good fantasy book, or even if you are new to the genre, I think that you’ll love the story and world that Chima has created here. The world is richly detailed and not overly fantastical and its one that I would love to visit. These characters are all ones that I would love to know and I just know that its going to be so very hard to say goodbye to them all in the final installment, The Crimson Crown.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: Asunder by Jodi Meadows

Posted by Irish in Review2 Comments

Title: Asunder (Goodreads)

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Source: Publisher
Publication Date: 29 Jan 2013
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN: 0062060783
Format: paperback (ARC)
Pages: 416

The Author on the Web:

Jodi Meadows – Official Site


Place(s) Traveled to: City of Heart // Range // Purple Rose Cottage

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

First Line(s): My life was a mistake.

Related Post(s): Friday Fragment – Asunder’s opening scene

New Souls Series Order
Book 1 – Incarnate
Book 2 – Asunder
Book 3 – Untitled (~2014)



Buy the Book:  

 

There are some books that are like a brilliant star, a bright spot of light that everyone seems to be talking about. And there there are books that are slower burning, no less brilliant, but they always seem to fly under the radar. Asunder by Jodi Meadows is more of a slow burn sort of book and its partly because of that that I love it so much. There are no big bangs or ZOMG moments in Asunder but there are lots of events that happen and even a few twists and turns that prevent the story line from becoming predictable. 

As a book 2, Asunder, could have have fallen into any one of a dozen different cliched traps and while it does serve as a transition novel to get to the climax scenes it doesn’t feel dull or cliched. The story picks up not long after the events of Incarnate end and Ana is struggling with her purpose as the full realization of that final night become clear to everyone in Heart. People are more suspicious of Ana and her life is a little more difficult but her spirit is still as strong as ever. 

I think I love Ana and Sam even more now at then I thought was possible after Incarnate. Though I was sad that there didn’t seem to be as many interactions with the other secondary characters that we grew to love. And those we did see, Stef, for example seemed to go through a total personality change. Maybe I’m not really remembering Stef from Incarnate but she just came across as an entirely different person this time around and it never meshed with my memory of her. Which made me sad as I recall liking her in the first book but I really didn’t care for her in this one. There were also moments that I wanted to shake Sam as well, but that was more because he doesn’t doing things that I wanted him to do. I’m hoping that in the final book he gets his act together and becomes more biddable to my ways.

The story line is engaging and while it didn’t always move as fast as I would have liked there was always something going on just around the corner and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I loved all the new secrets learned in this book and how it included more action than the first book but it wasn’t overwhelming. The story moves along a nice even pace and nothing every feels rushed or hurried. I liked how easy it was to slip back into this world and just enjoy discovering it along with Ana. I hate how its going to be at least a year before we find out what happens next as Asunder does end with a bit of a cliff hanger. I think that fans of Incarnate will enjoy this book as well. 


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Monday, December 17, 2012

Book Review: Katya’s World by Jonathan L. Howard

Posted by Irish in Uncategorized1 Comment

Title: Katya’s World (GoodReads)

Publisher: Strange Chemistry

Source: Publisher
Publication Date:06 November 2012
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN: 1908844132
Format: ebook
Pages: 339

The Author on the Web:

Place(s) Traveled to: Russalka

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

First Line(s): One hundred and fourteen years ago, humanity first touched Russalka.

Buy the Book:  

 


Russalka Chronicles Series Order
Book 1: Katya’s World
Book 2: Untitled (Fall 2013)

When I first started Katya’s World by Johnathan L. Howard I fell in love with the sci-fi nature of the world. I enjoyed the main character of Katya and how smart and feisty she was. I liked how this book started off with a bang but then somewhere near the middle things sort of fizzled. The action stalled until it was almost non-existent and while things picked up again towards the end it really wasn’t enough to pull me back into this story. 

As I said Katya started off as a strong and feisty heroine and she maintained that for the entire book and I liked that, I did. What I didn’t like was how in every difficult situation that the characters in Katya’s World  faced was miraculously solved at the critical moment by a 16 year old. I get that Katya is smart and I applaud having a smart and feisty heroine. But it just becomes unbelievable when surrounded by supposedly equally smart adults that its the teenage lead that is the won to solve all the problems. 

But Katya isn’t the only one who would annoy me, the other main lead Kane did as well. He is one of the characters who mysteriously knows ALL THE THINGS. But rather than divulging what he knows up front he dolls it out piece meal and usually only when forced to when a critical piece of information is needed. This small release of information was always just enough to give Katya that brilliant answer that she needed in order to solve the current problem at hand and after awhile it just made me roll my eyes at how cliched it all was. 

One thing I did enjoy was how there was no romance in this book. Katya’s World is a story that is based fully on its plot and its characters and it was so refreshing not to have the main character making googly eyes at some handsome male character who becomes her sole purpose for living. Though there were times when it almost felt as if Kane was having romantic thoughts for Katya which was a bit creepy as he was old enough to be her father. But I’m not sure if that was the writing or if it was my brain trying to project some aspect of romance into a story where there was none. Because at other times Kane came across as a father figure to Katya so its possible my brain was pulling tricks on me. After all, its been conditioned by the YA books of today that there needs to be a romantic story line in every book.

At the end of the day I liked Katya’s World. I liked the sci-fi nature of it and the world that Jonathan Howard built. I just felt that there was something lacking that prevented me from falling head over heels in love with this story and I’m at a loss for what that missing something is. Perhaps its because it was filled with final hour saves and other cliches. Perhaps it was because there was no romantic story line. Or perhaps it was because the action just sort of dies in the middle. I really can’t say. But despite this missing something I do still have plans on checking out the sequel as I am curious to see what becomes of Katya and the world of Russalka.

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