Friday, January 11, 2019

The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3) by Katherine Arden

Following their adventures in The Bear and the Nightengale and The Girl in the Tower, Vasya and Morozko return in this stunning conclusion to the bestselling Winternight Trilogy, battling enemies mortal and magical to save both Russias, the seen and the unseen. 
Now Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers-and for someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, stronger than ever and determined to spread chaos. Caught at the center of the conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of two worlds resting on her shoulders. Her destiny uncertain, Vasua will uncover surprising truths about herself and her history as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all.
Praise for The Winter of the Witch:

(Normally I wouldn't include this, but I have several good reasons, besides the fact that it was included on GoodReads with the synopsis)

  1. I completely agree with it.
  2. Laini Taylor is AH-MAY-ZING, and I ♥♥♥ her!
  3. Because I want to. 

"Katherine Arden's Winternight Trilogy isn't just good-- it's hug-to-your-chest, straight-to-the-favorites-shelf, reread-immediately good, and each book just gets better. The Winter of the Witch plunges us back to fourteenth-century Moscow, where old gods and new vie for the soul of Russia and fate rests on a witch girl's slender shoulders. Prepare to have your heart ripped out, loaned back to you full of snow and magic, and ripped out some more" - Laini Taylor

Review

I just got done reading this series, and I am so sad that Vasya's story has come to an end! This series was amazing.

If I could only say one thing about this series, I would definitely borrow the sentiment that stuck out to me most when I was reading other reviews of this book:
This is why I read. 
This book was unique and inspiring and funny and sad and insightful and creative, and a whole lot of other things, all wound up into one amazing work of fiction.

If you have not read the first 2 books, I recommend starting with my review of The Bear and the Nightengale (book #1) or The Girl in the Tower (book #2). 

This book starts off right where The Girl in the Tower ended. Dmitri still doesn't understand Vasya and tries to offer to marry her off within the first few pages of this book. Her siblings know the truth now, though, even though I'm not sure how much of it they believe. 

I absolutely loved this book! It was a perfect way to wrap up an awesome trilogy. 

I loved the unique premise for these books. I have never read any books that incorporated Russian folklore and fairytales. I loved learning about them and a little bit about Russian history.

In my reviews of TB&TN and TGitT, I ranted about my appreciation for the author's use of the Russian language and thanked her for adding a section about Russian names and language and their use throughout the book. I will not rant again, but "ditto." 😄

I still 💜💜💜 Vasya! She would be a total badass in today's society, but in her time, her level of badassery was completely unheard of in a woman. I love that no matter what, she doesn't back down and do what society expects of her, despite pretty much everyone around her trying to marry her off or send her to a convent. Thankfully, this book has less of that.

This is from TGitT, but I like it so here.



I also 💜 the chyerti! I wish I could find some fan art to post of them. While I've liked the domovoi since the first book, I also really liked the mushroom chyerti in this book! 

The only thing I would have liked better would have been to read the whole trilogy at one time, instead of having to wait for up to a year for each subsequent book. GOOD NEWS: If you haven't read any of the series yet, you can do that now, since they have all been released now!

I liked the way the author ended this book, but oh boy did it have me bawling, as did several other parts in the book. 

I also like the beautiful different book covers done for these books. Here is one set:




Image result for the girl in the tower

Here is a cute pic from Instagram that features the back of this book, which has the quote:
I will ride the world, in between times, through the farthest countries of dark and day. 


How cool is that?

If you haven't started reading this series yet, GO DO IT NOW! What are you waiting for?


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Thursday, January 3, 2019

2019 Reading Challenge


Happy new year everyone! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season!

I just set my GoodReads reading challenge and am considering doing a different kind of reading challenge this year, but there are so many different ones to choose from. 

Click the picture below for a list of all the different reading challenges online this year:


Here is another "Master List," because I found a couple that are on one but not the other. This one is from GirlXoxo

2019 Reading Challenges


Here are a few of my favorite. What do you think? 

This one is from Epic Reads and includes a different challenge for each week. The first week's challenge is to read a book thats cover is your favorite color. 

Join the Year of Epic Reads Challenge!

First Week's Challenge:
Click the pic to see some examples
Favorite Color

This is one from PopSugar that I like. I think it would really take me out of my reading comfort zone and encourage me to read a lot of books that I would never read otherwise. 


This one is designed to read one book each week. 


I'm tempted to do this one, because pretty much all of the books I read in 2018 were sci-fi and fantasy.

reading challenge 2019(1).png      fantasy bingo card(1)

However, I am also thinking that I should try a challenge that will make me branch out a bit and try reading some other genres that I might not choose on my own.

This is probably the one I need to do most! I have tons of ebooks that I've gotten for free that I haven't read yet. 


Then, there are the Alphabet Soup challenges. The original Alphabet Soup challenges requires you to read a book that starts with each letter of the alphabet. However, there is also an Author's Edition this year, which requires you to read a book by an author whose first or last name starts with each letter of the alphabet. 

 

Interested in getting involved (or more involved) in the book blogging community? Here's a challenge designed to keep bloggers in communication throughout the year.


I haven't decided which one I'm going to try yet, but I will post it on IG and FB when I do. 

What do you think? Which of these do you think sounds like fun, or which one do you plan to do this year? 

Is there a challenge I didn't list here that you think I would like? Please let me know! I'm up for suggestions! 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Happy Jolabokaflod!

Meet your favorite new holiday tradition!

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Last year, I wrote a post about Jolabokaflod, Iceland's "Christmas Book Flood." Sorry for the repetition, but I just had to share about this AWESOME tradition again this year! I wish everyone did this in the US.

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According to a decades-old Icelandic tradition, books are the standard Christmas gift. NPR reports:
"The culture of giving books as present is very deeply rooted in how families perceive Christmas as a holiday," says Kristjan B. Jonasson, president of the Iceland Publishers Association. "Normally, we give the presents on the night of the 24th and people spend the night reading. In many ways, it's the backbone of the publishing sector here in Iceland."

In the months before Christmas, publishers compete for the attention of Icelanders in a season known as Jolabokaflod, the "Christmas Book Flood." According to NPR, "The Flood begins with the release of Bokatidindi, a catalog of new publications from the Iceland Publishers Association distributed free to ever Icelandic home."

The tradition is especially fitting for Iceland, as it's famous for being a highly literary culture. As the BBC pointed out in 2013, "This island nation of just over 300,000 people has more writers, more books published and more books read, per head, than anywhere else in the world." Las month, the New York Times reported that "At least 90% of Icelanders age 16 or older read at least one book a year just for pleasure." In comparison, only 72% of American adults read a single book last year.

Check out this article by an Icelandic author to see what Jolabokaflod means to her.

You can also get these awesome Jolabokaflod pajama sets from Out of Print! I think they are sold out for the holidays though, because I can't find them any more. :( Maybe next year...



Happy holidays everyone!

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Mortal Word (The Invisible Library #5) by Genevieve Cogman

The Mortal Word (The Invisible Library #5)  The Mortal Word (The Invisible Library, #5)
A corrupt countess
A spy in danger
And an assassin at large 
In the latest novel in Genevieve Cogman's historical fantasy series, the fate of worlds lies in the balance. When a dragon is murdered at a peace conference, time-traveling Librarian spy Irene must solve the case to keep the balance between order, chaos... and the Library. 
When Irene returns to London after a relatively straightforward book theft in Vienna, Bradamant informs her that there is a top secret dragon-Fae peace conference in progress that the Library is meditating, but that the second-in-command dragon has been stabbed to death. Tasked with solving the case, Vale and Irene immediately go to 1890s Paris.
Once they arrive, it seems that the murder victim had uncovered evidence suggesting that he may have found proof of treachery by one of more Librarians. But to ensure the peace of the conference, some Librarians are already hostages in the dragon and Fae courts. To save the captives, including her parents, Irene must get to the bottom of this murder-but was it dragon, Fae, or even a Librarian who committed the crime? 

Review

I ABSOLUTELY this series!

If you haven't read the rest of the series, check out my review of the first 3 books (I sped through them super fast and decided to do 1 review about all 3), HERE.

I will try not to include too many spoilers about the first 4 books, but it is kind of unavoidable.

SPOILER ALERT: I will try to keep them to a minimum though

This book picks up where book # 4, The Lost Plot, left off, with Kai no longer in service to the Library.

I'm sad that Kai wasn't in this book more! He is one of my favorite characters! I love him and Irene as a team! It sucks that they aren't working as one anymore!

I am glad he was in it, though, and of course, I am still in with Irene! She is a total badass!

This book, like the last, is set in the same world as the first 3 books, but since the original conflict with Alberich was resolved (we hope), this book follows a new main plot line. Irene and Vale are asked to go to 1890s Paris and solve a dragon murder.

While this book was a bit different than the rest of the series, I found it just as enjoyable. The author introduced some very interesting new characters that I really liked. Up until this book, I wasn't a fan of the fae, but I started to like a couple of them in this book.

If you liked the rest of the series, you will certainly like this book. It is mostly set at one time, in one city, unlike some of the other books in this series, but the author still continues to world build and share much more about the dragons, fae, and Librarians that we haven't learned yet. Also, the character development continues, but the new characters are my favorite part of this book.

I just read that Genevieve Cogman has been contracted for up to 8 books, so she plans to write at least 8 Invisible Library books! It makes me so happy that I do not have to say goodbye to Irene, her friends, and her world yet. However, a release date has not been announced for book #6, so I may have to wait a while to see what happens next.

Until then, I will be waiting not so patiently to see what happens next!

I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Iron Garland (Harbinger #3) by Jeff Wheeler


Iron Garland

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Jeff Wheeler continues his majestic Harbinger series in a world where motivations are as mysterious as magic. 
For three years, Sera Fitzempress has been a pawn in a gilded prison - the floating manor of Pavenham Sky. Disgraced and exiled from society, she has been isolated from the downtrodden she's determined to liberate. But although Sera may seem subservient on the outside, the stubborn princess has only emboldened.
Now in charge of her family's estate, Cettie Pratt has grown into an independent young woman, although she continues to be tested by the high society of the clouds. Advancing in the magic of the Mysteries, Cettie is also a useful tool of defense during turbulent times. However, as more of Cettie's mysterious past comes to light, her greatest challenge may be a reckless stranger with a dark secret.
The fog of war is drawing in, and with it comes a startling new enemy who may unravel secrets that both women would prefer to stay hidden. But their secrets may be the only way to stop the coming darkness...

Review

If you have not read the first book in the Harbinger series, click here to read my review of Storm Glass (book #1).

I will try not to include too many spoilers of Mirror Gate (book #2) in this review, but this book starts a few years after Mirror Gate ends.

Yet again, Jeff Wheeler kept me on the edge of my seat, speeding through this book because I couldn't wait to see what happened next!

My only issue with this series is that all of the books weren't released at the same time, so I have had to wait in between releases to see what happens next!

The author continued to do an excellent job of world-building and character development, as well as introducing us to some new characters that we will grow to love and/or hate. Many, you do not know whether you should love or hate them, and certainly not whether or not the characters should trust them. The author sucks you into this book with the amazing world he's built, and his characters keep you glued to the pages, determined to learn about what they do next.

The ending to this book was a bit anticlimactic. Yes, secrets were revealed and a bit plot point ramps up at the end. However, I found that it was a little lacking in excitement. It definitely sets up the scene for a super exciting beginning of book #4 though. In some ways, I am a little happy about this, if this book ended in a huge cliffhanger, I would be complaining even more about how long I have to wait to read the next book.

I haven't had time to read the Kingsfountain books yet, but this book just reinforced my need to get them and read them... like NOW.

However, I hope I find an ARC of Prism Cloud (book #4) soon so that I don't have to wait until March to read it!

I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Dark Arts & a Daiquiri Book Blitz & Giveaway


Dark Arts and a Daiquiri
Annette Marie
(The Guild Codex: Spellbound, #2)
Publication date: November 16th 2018
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy
When I found myself facing down the scariest black-magic felon in the city, practically daring him to abduct me, I had to wonder exactly how I ended up here.
It all started when I accidentally landed a job as a bartender—but not at a bar. At aguild, populated by mages, sorcerers, alchemists, witches, and psychics. Good thing this lame-o human is adaptable, right?
Then my favorite guild members—three sexy, powerful, and intermittently charming mages—asked for my help. Did they want access to my encyclopedic knowledge of cocktails? Oh no. They wanted to wrap me up in a pretty ribbon and plunk me in the crosshairs of a murderous rogue to lure him out of hiding.
So that’s what we did. And that’s why I’m here. About to be kidnapped. Oh, and our grand plan for safely capturing said murderous rogue? Yeah, that completely fell apart about two minutes ago.
Why did I agree to this again?

Note: The three mages are definitely sexy, but this series isn’t a reverse harem. It’s 100% fun, sassy, fast-paced urban fantasy.
Tori has no problem getting herself into trouble in every book in the Guild Codex series, but each one is a complete adventure—no cliffhanger endings.

THE GUILD CODEX: SPELLBOUND
Three Mages and a Margarita (#1)
Dark Arts and a Daiquiri (#2)
Two Witches and a Whiskey (#3)
EXCERPT:
“This is really nice,” I gushed, unconcerned by the apartment’s lackluster finishes. Beggars couldn’t be choosers, and having spent the last ten months sleeping on my brother’s sofa, I was ready to overlook anything less than holes in the walls.
Which, unfortunately, had been included in all the apartments we’d viewed so far, along with complimentary mold, cockroaches, and suspicious odors. That wasn’t including the batshit crazy landlords. Did normal people not dabble in real estate investment, or did all the well-adjusted landlords have tenants already?
“It’s clean,” Sin observed. “Running water. Heat. Wait, does it have heat? It’s cold in here.”
“Well, it is a basement.” I flapped my printout. “It says all utilities are included in the rent. How sweet is that?”
Sin wrinkled her nose suspiciously. “It’s too cheap. There’s got to be something wrong with it.”
“Maybe there’s a hobo living in the crawlspace.” I pointed at a half-height door tucked in a corner of the living room. “That’s a crawlspace, right?”
We crossed the room and I crouched at the door, Sin leaning over my shoulder. I pulled it open. Inside was nothing but impenetrable darkness.
“Use your phone’s flashlight,” Sin suggested. “There must be a light switch or—”
Chill air whispered over my skin and all the hair on my body stood on end—then arctic wind blasted me in the face.
I recoiled, crashing into Sin’s legs. She landed on her ass as the wind howled out of the crawlspace, whipping dust through the room. My printouts went flying and we scrambled backward on our butts with the papers spiraling toward the ceiling.
The darkness in the crawlspace leaked out from the doorway and pooled on the floor like ink. Shadows writhed and something pale materialized in the threshold—a skeletal woman on her hands and knees, toothless mouth gaping, empty eye sockets dribbling black blood.
I took one look at the moaning specter and screamed like the sissy girl that I am.
Sin let out her own terrified shriek as the ghostly woman dragged herself out of the crawlspace, her long hair trailing on the floor. She stretched a hand toward us, blackened fingers curled like claws, and icy gusts lashed at our faces. Still screaming, Sin grabbed my arm, her fingernails digging into my skin. Sharp pain cut through my panic.
I jammed my hand into my pocket and whipped out my trump card—yes, a literal card.
My trusty Queen of Spades was more than it appeared: a sorcerer’s artifact embedded with a spell that reflected magic. Was there any magic here to rebound? I had no idea. Would it work on a ghost? Also no idea. I wasn’t a sorcerer. I was a crime-of-convenience thief and I had only the vaguest notion how to use the card.
But it was the lone magical defense I had, so I thrust it at the phantom and shouted, “Ori repercutio!”
The air rippled and the gale-force wind reversed direction. It slammed into the woman, flinging her back into the crawlspace. Her head hit the door frame with a whack.
“Ow!” she squeaked.
Sin’s scream cut off. In unison, we launched to our feet. We weren’t screaming anymore, but I for one was even more freaked out. The woman was too solid to be a ghost, but holy freaking shit, that body did not belong to a living being—papery skin clinging to bones, empty sockets for eyes, stringy hair down to her knees.
The ghost woman sprang up, raising her hands like claws. “Begone from this place,” she moaned. “Begooooone … or else!”
I tilted my head toward Sin, not daring to take my eyes off the not-a-ghost. “Hey, Sin. Is that … a vampire?”
“No.” She pulled a handful of vials with colorful liquid contents out of her purse. “Not even close.”
Selecting a bottle, she dropped the others back into her bag and unscrewed the top. A hideous smell like burnt iron singed my nose.
“No!” the woman shrieked—except she didn’t sound like a woman anymore. Her voice was two octaves higher and painfully nasal. “Don’t!”
Sin held out the bottle threateningly. “Show us your real form or I’ll drench you!”
“Noooo! Go away!” The woman stomped her foot. “Stupid humans! This is my house!”
Raising her hand higher, Sin started to tip the bottle.
“Uuuuugh. Fine.” The woman threw her hands up—and her body melted. It lost solidity and shrank, then reformed into something new.
The creature was dark green with skin the waxy texture of pine needles. Even with twigs sprouting off its large head in place of hair, it barely reached my waist, and a mixture of spruce branches and pine cones hid its torso. Thin arms and legs stuck out of the twiggy mess, its hands and feet comically oversized.
Its eyes, narrowed angrily, dominated its face, the crystalline green irises unnaturally bright and entirely lacking pupils—just giant green orbs.
The creature pointed an accusing finger at us. “This is my house! Leave or I’ll turn you into bean sprouts!”
I cleared my throat. “Okay, not a vampire,” I said to Sin. “What is it?” “This,” Sin replied grimly, “is a faery.”


Author Bio:
Annette Marie is the author of Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, and romantic fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it's not quite that bad) with her husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.

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Friday, November 9, 2018

Rival (Fate of the Stars #2) Blog Tour and Giveaway for $50 Amazon (x2)


Rival
Arwen Paris
(Fate of the Stars, #2)
Publication date: November 1st 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
It’s a role she didn’t want…
One deadly week has passed since seventeen year old Allison Delaney realized she must save Earth from the parasitic race of Ma’tiok. But the task is even more complicated than Allison feared, and she’s being set up to fail. Blamed for a fatal blow to the Alliance fleet that killed dozens of soldiers, Allison must face judgment for their deaths. The High Priestess Kiobaan is Allison’s only hope. Kiobaan sees the warrior spirit in Allison, along with her potential both politically and physically and agrees to train her.
And a game she can’t afford to lose.
Meanwhile, though Allison is the human host of Eenoki, protector of life, she’s not yet ready to harness their combined energy. Their bond is unpredictable at best—volatile at worst. Time is running out for Eenoki and Allison to trust each other—all or nothing—or she’ll never gain the power she needs to defeat the Ma’tiok and save Earth. When Allison is marked for death by an unknown enemy, the High Priestess Kiobaan must step-up and fight. But in return Kiobaan extracts a pledge from Allison, one that will compromise her new status and make her a target.


Author Bio:
Arwen Paris is the author of young adult fiction. Her debut YA Sci-fi Urban Fantasy novel FATE OF THE STARS releases September 1, 2017. The actions packed pages of her novels are filled with characters that are forced to face fears they never expected. When she's not writing, you can see posts of her (too many) vacations that keep her sane. Arwen lives in Washington, has a big crazy family & after the day job, she writes Fiction For the Fearless - #F3Fanatic

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Friday, November 2, 2018

Flynn Nightsider and the Edge of Evil Blog Tour & Giveaway


Flynn Nightsider and the Edge of Evil
Mary Fan
(Flynn Nightsider, #1)
Publication date: May 15th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Break the enchantments. Find the truth. Ignite the revolution.
A century ago, the Enchanters defeated the evil Lord of the Underworld, but not before he’d unleashed his monsters and ravaged the earth. The Enchanters built the Triumvirate out of what remained of the United States, demanding absolute obedience in exchange for protection from the lingering supernatural beasts.
Sixteen-year-old Flynn Nightsider, doomed to second-class life for being born without magic, knows the history as well as anyone. Fed up with the Triumvirate’s lies and secrecy, he longs for change. And when he stumbles across a clue that hints at something more – secrets in the dark, the undead, and buried histories – he takes matters into his own hands.
Before long, Flynn finds himself hunted not only by the government, but also by nightmarish monsters and a mysterious man with supernatural powers … all seeking him for reasons he cannot understand. Rescued by underground rebels, he’s soon swept up in their vision of a better world, guided by a girl as ferocious as the monsters she fights. But as the nation teeters on the brink of revolution, Flynn realizes three things.
The rebellion is not what it seems.
Flynn himself might be more than he seems.
And the fate of the world now rests in his hands.


Author Bio:
Mary Fan lives in New Jersey, where she is currently working in financial marketing. She has also resided in North Carolina, Hong Kong, and Beijing, China. She has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember and especially enjoys the infinite possibilities and out-of-this-world experiences of science fiction and fantasy.
Mary has a B.A. in Music, specializing in composition, from Princeton University and enjoys writing songs as much as writing stories. She also enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and exploring new things–she’ll try almost anything once.

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