Current Contests/Announcements

The story of the Orange Cake Click here to find out more.


Check out the NKOTB Book Tag Meme Here!

Having trouble leaving a comment? If you have trouble commenting then please click on the refresh button, this usually fixes the issue. I also use comment moderation for new commenters to the blog.

Posts Tagged: Witches & Wizards

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
Divider

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
Divider

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Mini Review: Half Lies by Sally Green

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Mini Review: Half Lies by Sally GreenHalf Lies by Sally Green
Series: Half Bad,
Also in this series: Half Bad, Half Wild
Published by Viking Juvenile on 13 November 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Paranormal, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Urban Fantasy, Witches & Wizards, Young Adult
Pages: 72
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Half Bad, Half Wild

Place(s) Traveled To: Bradenton, Florida // Tampa, Florida

First Line(s): We’ve been in the USA for five days now.

Half Lies by Sally Green is a short novella that takes place before Nathan meets Gabriel in Half Bad (my review). The novella is told in epistolary format from Michele, the sister of Gabriel, and is set in Florida where the family lived for a time. Its a sweet and heart breaking story that just makes you love Gabriel even more. In Half Bad you know that Gabriel has had a rough life and in Half Lies you learn a little of his origins and also how he became stuck.

Half Lies is a quick read and for a novella there is a lot of depth to it. There is so much story contained within its 72 pages and it will make your heart ache. Michele is a wonderful character and I loved reading her journal. This is a great introduction to the character of Gabriel and I am so glad that I read it before reading Half Wild (my review) as I feel like I understand him a bit more now. It was beautifully written and the voice so different and yet similar to that of the main books in the series. A must read for fans of the Half Bad Trilogy.

 irishdarkblue

 Half Lies Quote

three-stars
Divider

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
Divider

Monday, January 12, 2015

Review: The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas

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

Review: The Perilous Sea by Sherry ThomasThe Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas
Series: Elemental Trilogy, Book 2
Also in this series: The Burning Sky, The Immortal Heights
Published by Balzer + Bray on 16 September 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Assassins, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Love & Romance, Magic, Mystery & Detective, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 414
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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 Immortal Heights

Place(s) Traveled To: The Sahara Desert // Windsor, England (1883)

First Line(s): The girl came to with a start.

After finishing my listen of The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas I knew that I had to immediately jump into the sequel, The Perilous Sea. As with the first book I initially started this one on audio but quickly found that it was taking too long and so I dug out my ARC and sat down to devour all the words! The Perilous Sea picks up a few months after The Burning Sky ends and it quickly jumps into the action. Its a fast paced, edge of your seat read with an ending that has you wanting to toss the book across the room because there is such a long wait to see what happens next. Unlike the first book this one is told in an then and now style alternating with the chapters. The now progresses with each chapter and the then tells the reader all that happened to lead up to the start of the story. This helped add to the suspense of the story though every time I entered a new chapter I was also frustrated as I didn’t want to leave where I was.

One thing that I really liked in this book was how we learned more about Prince Titus and Iolanthe’s friend Kashkari. I enjoyed his scenes in the first book and was always curious about him so loved learning more of his background. I hope that this trend also continues in the third and final book to come. A thing that I didn’t like was how The Perilous Sea became a bit Harry Potter like in that there was more than one potential person to be “the one” in the prophecy. This just added some unnecessary torture for Titus and Iolanthe as they began to question ALL THE THINGS just because one thing may or may not be true. In truth, my heart broke over and over for these two as they pushed each other away and I just wanted to reach into the story and shake them both until they came to their scenes!

The Perilous Sea Quote

 

I was so glad though that The Perilous Sea was more than just a filler book in a series, a transition story where not much happens as the author sets things up for the big grand finale of the final book in the series. While there isn’t a ton of information revealed in The Perilous Sea it was enough to wheat my appetite and make me yearn for the final book. For this waiting is sheer torture!   If you like a good fantasy and you are looking for something in the vein of Cinda Williams Chima and her Seven Realms series then you need to pick up this series. There is action and adventure, romance and intrigue and just so much heart achy goodness for ever readers tastes. This book makes me all bouncy with excitement and I just love every bit of it. There is also just so much that I want to say here but I can’t because The Perilous Sea is the second book in a series and I don’t want to risk giving out any spoilers. Just know that if you liked the first book than you are going to love this one as this is one of those series that just keeps getting better. Now can someone please hand me book 3 because I don’t know how much longer I can wait!!

My thoughts summed up in a gif:

Blew My Mind

 

irishdarkblue

 

Irish Recommends - Burning Sky
four-stars
Divider

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Audio Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

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

Audio Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry ThomasThe Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Narrator: Philip Battley
Series: Elemental Trilogy,
Also in this series: The Perilous Sea, The Immortal Heights
Published by Harper Audio on 25 September 2013
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Historical, Love & Romance, Magic, Mystery & Detective, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Witches & Wizards, Young Adult
Length: 11 hours and 40 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: The Perilous Sea, The Immortal Heights

Place(s) Traveled To:

Domain: Little Grind-on-Woe // Delamer
England: London // Windsor // Slough // Kent (1883)

First Line(s): Just before the start of Summer Half, in April 1883, a very minor event took place at Eton College, that venerable and illustrious English public school for boys.

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas is one of those books that I’ve heard about since it was released but just never got around to reading. Then one day I had some Audible credits to burn and decided to give The Burning Sky a shot. At first the use of a male narrator, Philip Battley, kind of threw me since the story was mostly told from Iolanthe’s POV and she was most definitely not a male. But as the story progresses it makes sense and really works for the story, so much so, that I can’t imagine what this story would have been like with a different narrator. Battley just really captured these characters and this world and it was partly because of him that I feel so deeply in love with this book. The Burning Sky is a fast paced story that kicks off from the first page. The prologue is intriguing and then the opening scenes set in The Domain really set the pace for whats to come.

The Burning Sky is one of those books where I found myself looking for reasons to drive around just so that I could spend more time in this world. I loved the mystery and the magic and the parallel worlds aspect of the story. Then there is the friendship between Iolanthe and Prince Titus….oh how these two made my heart ache! Their is a slow burn kind of story and one that starts off a bit rocky. Its one that is realistic and so well done. They are great friends and they are both so perfect for each other and yet there is also so much standing in the way that they might not ever be. Have I mentioned that they make my heart ache? Because oh the feels that they made me feel. And not just them but all of the other characters as well. I loved the supporting cast and just want to know more about each and every one of them. This is one of those rare times in which I wish there were novellas to help expand and flesh out the story even more.

Burning Sky Quote

For me, The Burning Sky, was a pleasant surprise of a book and I am kicking myself for not reading it sooner. The audio was fantastic and if you like audiobooks then I highly recommend this one. Its almost 12 hours long and I managed to listen to it in just 4 days. This is one of my favorite fantasy reads of the year and I was so glad that the sequel, The Perilous Sea, was already out by the time I finished this one so that I could dive right into it. The Burning Sky is such a richly imagined world and I just loved the premise and its execution. There were a couple of things that happened that seemed a little too convenient and a few other quibbles that I had but they were mostly minor and didn’t take away my enjoyment of the series. If you haven’t read this one yet then you are really missing out and should head to your nearest bookstore or library and grab yourself a copy today.

irishdarkblue

Irish Recommends - Burning Sky

four-stars
Divider