Book Review

Book Review: Air Awakens (Air Awakens #1) by Elise Kova

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 330 pages
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Silver WIng Press
Release Date: August 27th, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond…

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined. 

IT WAS WORTH STAYING UP LATE.

This may turn out to be my latest YA fantasy obsession. How has nobody heard of this (okay, I’ve met a few who have read some of the books, but still, there should be more!).

Vhalla had a lot of growth in this book, enough that I am up for carrying on to book two. I try to give some grace when a characters starts out a bit oblivious and scared of a lot of things. I understand that the author may be trying to build on them so I let it run for a bit. I was happy to watch Vhalla start to grow and accept her powers. She still has a long way to go, but I am in her corner!

This book is YA fantasy and focuses on the love component (I know not all like fantasy in this matter so I like to mention it). Me personally? I love anything with love. So her and Aldrik? SO THERE I CAN’T EVEN EXPLAIN. Dark brooding prince with fire powers. Right up my alley. What was not so fun was the dash of love triangle that I was praying didn’t happen. It wasn’t ya know, the happiest of endings, but I’m glad that this only festered for a bit.

Things were a little slow to start off, but after getting to know the characters, throwing around some flirtations we dove into the action. WHOA. This last half picked up spectacularly. A lot of action, addition of some politics and a heavy dose of tender moments. I stayed up til 2 AM to finish this and I regret nothing. I am so excited to read the next installment.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy – focus on the love story
  • Language: very little (almost non-existent)
  • Romance: some almost kisses
  • Violence: falling from a roof, fire-y explosions, magic (wind, water, air, fire), physical, knives, arrows, poison

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Book Review

Book Review: Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire #2) by Michael J. Sullivan

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Epic fantasy
Length: 512 pages
Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Release Date: July 25th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In Age of Myth, fantasy master Michael J. Sullivan launched readers on an epic journey of magic and adventure, heroism and betrayal, love and loss. Now the thrilling saga continues as the human uprising is threatened by powerful enemies from without—and bitter rivalries within.

Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhune make it all but impossible to unite against a common foe. And even if the clans can join forces, how will they defeat an enemy whose magical prowess makes the Fhrey indistinguishable from gods?

The answer lies across the sea in a faraway land populated by a reclusive and dour race who feels nothing but disdain for both Fhrey and mankind. With time running out, Persephone leads the gifted young seer Suri, the Fhrey sorceress Arion, and a small band of misfits in a desperate search for aid—a quest that will take them into the darkest depths of Elan. There, an ancient adversary waits—an enemy as surprising as it is deadly.

HEROINES ALL OVER THE PLACE.

This is one of my new favorite high fantasy series (so far *crosses fingers*). My favorite part? THE AMAZING LADIES.

Seriously. Persephone, Moya, Roan, Suri, Arion, and Brin will rule and I will be a willing member of their clan. Holy wow, I love the emphasis that women can do more than the men say they can. They are solving all of the problems, holding down meetings, putting together war plans and taking down the enemy. Yes. If you read this for any reason, this is a big one. I can’t get over how much I love the focus on them.

There is so much action and politicking, near-death moments and all the pulls on the heart strings. The focus is much more heavily on found family and the clan that you’re part of. This is a focus on friendship. This is a book that has done that in an absolute stunning way.

Everything is so intricately being planned out. We jump through multiple POVs and different locations. I have no idea where everything is weaving towards and it makes me that much more stoked to see where it goes. The plot lines & sub-plots are so well formulated. Even better when plenty of betrayals and WHAT moments happen that cause you to continually flip pages.

The only thing I personally wanted a little more of is better developed romances. There’s mentions that so and so loves so and so, but they don’t appear to have a lot of conversations and interactions causing me to wonder where the deepness of those feelings lie? I don’t think this book needs any major romantic scenes or anything, just a little uhmph would take it over the top.

Overall audience notes:

  • High fantasy
  • Language: I believe *witch was used once, otherwise it’s clean
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: swords, arrows, creepy cave creatures, demons, dragons, physical

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Book Review

Book Review: Beastly Bones (Jackaby #2) by William Ritter

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + mystery
Length: 296 pages
Author: William Ritter
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: September 22nd, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

I’ve found very little about private detective R. F. Jackaby to be standard in the time I’ve known him. Working as his assistant tends to call for a somewhat flexible relationship with reality . . .

In 1892, New Fiddleham, New England, things are never quite what they seem, especially when Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, R. F. Jackaby, are called upon to investigate the supernatural. First, members of a particularly vicious species of shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens. A day later, their owner is found murdered, with a single mysterious puncture wound to her neck. Then, in nearby Gad’s Valley, dinosaur bones from a recent dig go missing, and an unidentifiable beast attacks animals and people, leaving their mangled bodies behind. Policeman Charlie Cane, exiled from New Fiddleham to the valley, calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt for a thief, a monster, and a murderer. 

I ENJOY ANYTHING THAT REFERENCES DINOSAURS.

I am hooked by anything that references paleontology. The fact that Abigail comes from a family with a paleontologist, and she herself loves the field only made me more excited when this book had that as its main focus.

What’s even better is what the dinosaur turned out to be! I loved the intrigue and mystery surrounding the whole case itself. Kept me guessing and even set up for the next book which I appreciated.

I am still laughing out loud at Jackaby and his antics and phrases. He has some good moments and I love his character! He’s actually funny and so often it’s not done well. I love his dynamic with Abigail and that they seem to appreciate each other (even when they are both terrible at showing it). They are a dynamic duo and Abigail can hold her own which makes her character even more lovable.

Not to mention the cute romance brewing between her and Charlie. It’s nothing in your face. It’s this nice background love story that you are cheering for, but not flipping pages just to read about them. I like where things are headed for them and that they seem to understand each other and what it would take to be together.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + mystery + historical
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: ancient creatures eating people, murder, most violence is because of creature attacks

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Book Review

Book Review: Beartown (Beartown #1) by Fredrik Backman

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fiction + Sports
Length: 432 pages
Author: Fredrik Backman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: April 25th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Overeturns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.

AN IMPORTANT NOVEL.

This left me awestruck. What an amazing and poignant story that brought to life so many things wrong with our culture.

I connected a lot with the life emphasis on hockey. As someone who knows the depths of Southern football, it can rule your life. The pressure to win, be the best, and always do right can be intensely overwhelming. These boys are under way too much stress from parents and other adults who care a bit too much about hockey.

Because I swear, if I heard one more character mention “putting the club before anything else.” I was going to through my Kindle through a window. HOW DARE THEY. Oh I was so angry. Which I’m sure was the intention, which is also why I loved this book so much. I felt so many feelings and reevaluations run through my mind.

As a parent I feel like the story itself hit me on an even more emotional level. I can’t even began to fathom this happening and knowing what to do about it. The strength and courage that some of these characters exhibited in a horrid and disgusting situation was stirring.

I could not put this book down. The rotation of the point of views throughout the story allowed an insight into so many character minds and rounded out the effects this type of story has on an entire town. Each character responded uniquely and while I didn’t love some responses I appreciated the importance of seeing all sides.

Note: contains strong subject manner that is detailed and hard to read, please read at your own discretion

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary fiction + sports
  • Language: a lot of strong language (one of the only things I would change)
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: physical & verbal assaults – see Trigger warnings for more details
  • Trigger warnings: aggravated rape, teenage drug & alcohol use, off & on screen domestic abuse, sexual harassment, suicide, suicide ideation, depression, homophobia

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Book Review

Book Review: The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + mythology
Length: 377 pages
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: June 28th, 2005
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school… again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’ master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’ stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

I CAN’T BELIEVE I WAITED THIS LONG TO READ THIS.

This was so good I didn’t even bother taking notes for it (like I do with most reviews) because I didn’t want to stop reading to make a note of anything major.

It’s simple. It was a great more youthful read.

I love Percy and Annabeth. I already know they’re endgame and I am so here for this development. It was cute because I felt like they were twelve, but never so immature that I was distracted by it. The way Riordan presented them made them seem like characters you could love and understand. I felt they were relatable in many ways.

There were a lot of twists and turns and the action kept continually flowing (not to mention the funny chapter titles). I was actually a bit surprised when it came out who was the current bad guy. I didn’t see it coming, which is always a nice break. I thought the gods were fun and found it whimsical to picture Poseidon in a Hawaiian shirt and Zeus in a suit.

Don’t take this short review as a bad thing, it was a highly enjoyable read that kept me interested and intrigued for book two.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult (leaning towards middle-grade) fantasy + mythology
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: never gory or overly detailed, knives physical, fire

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: My Auto-Buy Authors

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

Lots of authors to choose from today! I love seeing everyone’s answers because they’re SO MANY AUTHORS out there. It’s great to look into new authors and support as many as possible. I’m also counting authors I read from the library because I know that sometimes that is a version of “auto-buy” and it’s how I can read more too. Requesting a purchase from your library is a great option!

These are a handful of some of my favorite authors (with a book or two I love by them):

Sarah J. Maas


Amy Harmon


Brandon Sanderson


Leigh Bardugo


Danielle L. Jensen


Colleen Hoover


Tahereh Mafi


Tricia Levenseller


Mary E. Pearson


Brené Brown   

Are any of these authors on your auto-buy list? What’s an author not on mine that’s on yours? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

Book Review: The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Adult fantasy romance
Length: Audiobook (to come out as a print book, expected to be 354 pages)
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Publisher: Audible Originals, LLC
Release Date: October 16th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

What if you fell in love with the one person you’d sworn to destroy? 

Lara has only one thought for her husband on their wedding day: I will bring your kingdom to its knees. A princess trained from childhood to be a lethal spy, Lara knows that the Bridge Kingdom represents both legendary evil – and legendary promise. The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom controls all trade and travel between lands, allowing its ruler to enrich himself and deprive his enemies, including Lara’s homeland. So when she is sent as a bride under the guise of fulfilling a treaty of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture the defenses of the impenetrable Bridge Kingdom. 

But as she infiltrates her new home – a lush paradise surrounded by tempest seas – and comes to know her new husband, Aren, Lara begins to question where the true evil resides. Around her, she sees a kingdom fighting for survival, and in Aren, a man fiercely protective of his people. As her mission drives her to deeper understanding of the fight to possess the bridge, Lara finds the simmering attraction between her and Aren impossible to ignore. 

Her goal nearly within reach, Lara will have to decide her own fate: Will she be the destroyer of a king or the savior of her people?

MY NEW FAVORITE BOOK.

No really, I’m serious.

Without a doubt this is my new favorite new adult fantasy romance (ACOMAF holds the TRUE #1 spot, but this is what I’m going to obsessing over for awhile).

First, the ANGST between these two had me melting. I LIVE FOR ANGSTY ROMANCE. It’s an enemies to lovers trope with the crux being a marriage because of a treaty. These two have never seen each other and know very little (and incorrect) information about each other. And it creates this amazing vibe between these two. Lara and Aren that I am here for. ALL DAY LONG. This romance is slow building, tender, and intense.

This world-building was so cool too. We only got highlights of the two main kingdoms (Lara’s home, Maridrina & Arn’s home, Ithicana). But Ithicana is one of the neater fantasy locations I’ve read about. It has this huge bridge running through it, it’s made of islands. We have killer sharks and snakes roaming the sea and lands. SO COOL.

I knew the ending was out to destroy me. You could feel it in the air. And it did. Ugh, heart ripped out, knowing it had to happen to create book two. Am I happy about it? NOPE. Do I understand? Sure sure. I am even more excited for book two because reunion scene? Oh heeeeck yes.

Trust me. If you have any inkling about this book, read it. It is currently only on Audible but is releases as a physical book in August. I thought the Audible version was great though! I was enraptured by it and had no problems keeping up.

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult fantasy romance
  • Language: some strong language + occasional crude language
  • Romance: an almost love scene (somewhat detailed), kisses, explicit love scenes
  • Violence: arrows, war, ship battles, shark attacks, snake bites, murder, poison , knives

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