Adult · Books · Fantasy · Young Adult

Series I Still Need to Finish

I took a look at my bookshelves the other day and had a slight moment of panic when I realized how many series I started last year and have yet to finish. Typically, when I find a series I like I binge my way through it, but there were just too many good books to read last year that I couldn’t squeeze them all in. #bookwormproblems

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The Books of Babel series by Josiah Bancroft – I’ve already purchased my copy of Arm of the Sphinx (the second book) and will probably be reading it next. At least I’m getting close…

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The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare – I’m not going to lie, I’ve had mixed feelings about finishing this one. I really enjoyed the first three books in the series, but after reading the fourth I’m wondering if this one should have remained a trilogy. The fourth book felt more like a spin off to me than a continuation of the story I had come to know. That being said, I’m still somewhat curious to know what happens, so I’m probably going to finish this one.

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The Monsters of Verity duo by Victoria Schwab – No Schwab book/series must go unfinished!

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The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb – Oh Fitz, I need to know if at least one good thing finally happens to you. After the ending of the second book I almost went out and immediately purchased the final book in the series, Assassin’s Quest. I have enough other books that I should probably get to first though…*whispers* for now.

Adult · Books · Fantasy

First Impression Friday: The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan

First Impression Friday is a weekly meme created by J.W. Martin. The goal is to talk about a book you recently started reading. Share you impressions, predict what you think will happen, say whether you think you’ll enjoy it, etc.

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When three thieves – an orphan, a ghoul, and a cursed man – are betrayed by the master of the thieves guild, their quest for revenge uncovers dark truths about their city and exposes a dangerous conspiracy, the seeds of which were sown long before they were born.

Cari is a drifter whose past and future are darker than she can know. Rat is a Ghoul, whose people haunt the city’s underworld. Spar is a Stone Man, subject to a terrible disease that is slowly petrifying his flesh.

Chance has brought them together, but their friendship could be all that stands in the way of total armageddon.

Having read nothing but positive reviews of this one, The Gutter Prayer was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019.

Right off the bat I was intrigued by the story – the world that it takes place in is one quote different than the human world as we know it. There are men made of wax, alchemical rivalries, men turned to living stone, and all sorts of creatures you wouldn’t want to encounter down a dark alley.

The farther into the book I get I am starting to lose interest. I’m not feeling any sort of connection to the characters, despite the interesting concept of them. I also feel like I was just plopped into the middle of a story and am struggling to make sense of it all. For now I’m trying to keep trudging along, in the hopes that things will pick up a little bit and I can get more into it.

 

Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites

Book Review: In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

This fourth entry and prequel tells the story of Lundy, a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should.

When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she’s found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well.

In an Absent Dream was one of my most ( if not the most) anticipated reads for this year. After devouring it last weekend, I am pleased to say that it most certainly did not disappoint.

The world of the Goblin Market is one of the strangest and most complex worlds that McGuire has created for the series. It is both beautiful and terrifying, putting emphasis on the importance of rules and the consequences of breaking them. Through the market’s rules force its inhabitants learn to be better people and give fair value to the world around them.

Before Lundy finds her door she’s a quiet child, keeping her head down and trying to figure out what it means to blend in. She’s already accepted that her life is going to be mundane and like everyone else’s. Her visits to the Goblin Market help her figure out who she really is and who she really wants to be. Through the rules and her friendship with Moon, Lundy finds a place she belongs and a sense of family that she never experienced before.

This was an absolutely stunning and heartbreaking tale. I wanted to cry when it was over because I was not ready for it to end yet. This might be my favorite book in the series, so far.

Adult · Books · Fantasy

First Impression Friday: In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a First Impression Friday post. I was going to write one last week when I  started re-reading The Hobbit but decided against it because it felt like I was cheating, since I already read it years ago and knew what was going to happen.

(For those who are unfamiliar, FIF is a weekly meme created by J.W. Martin. The goal is to talk about a book you recently started reading. Share you impressions, predict what you think will happen, say whether you think you’ll enjoy it, etc.)

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This is the story of a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should.

When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she’s found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well.

Just like the previous Wayward Children books, you immediately become immersed in the story’s main character. I love the way the author makes you feel like you already know and understand her characters right off the bat.

The Goblin Market is an intriguing one. The rules and nuances are rather unique compared to the previous worlds she has written about. For that reason, I am interested to see what kind of trouble Lundy gets in. Because you just know she’s going to break the rules at some point. Perhaps she will get in trouble with the Goblin ruler, if there is such a character.

Whatever happens, I already know it’s going to be beautiful and heart-breaking.

(Check out my reviews for the other books in the Wayward Children series: here)

Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy

Book Review: Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb

By the time you’re all reading this I will be on my way to New Orleans! I’m super excited about the weekend ahead of me. Don’t worry, I promise to take lots of pictures and eat my fair share (and your share) of beignets. 🙂

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

Fitz has survived his first hazardous mission as king’s assassin, but is left little more than a cripple. Battered and bitter, he vows to abandon his oath to King Shrewd, remaining in the distant mountains. But love and events of terrible urgency draw him back to the court at Buckkeep, and into the deadly intrigues of the royal family.

Renewing their vicious attacks on the coast, the Red-Ship Raiders leave burned-out villages and demented victims in their wake. The kingdom is also under assault from within, as treachery threatens the throne of the ailing king. In this time of great danger, the fate of the kingdom may rest in Fitz’s hands—and his role in its salvation may require the ultimate sacrifice.

The sequel to Assassin’s Apprentice was every bit as good as you’d want a sequel to be. No, never mind. I take that back. It was even better.

In the first book we were introduced to Fitz – bastard son to the former King in Waiting, victim of every shitty circumstance imaginable, pawn in the royals’ game. The second time around Fitz gets dragged in even deeper than he could imagine. King in Waiting Verity is off trying to save Buckeep from raiders, King Shrewd is on his deathbed, and wretched Prince Regal is vying for a chance at the crown. Fitz, the Queen, and all those loyal to the King must watch their backs as everything (and everyone) they know is in danger.

Always the victim, never pegged the hero. Fitz is worn physically and mentally thin as he struggles to finally master the Skill, while also trying to hide the fact that he’s has the ability to Wit. I loooooved the fact that we got to see more of Fitz’s Wit skills. His connection with Nighteyes is a better story of love and friendship than any I’ve encountered in a while. Nighteyes is such a brilliant character.  I was happy for Fitz’s reunion with Molly, as well, although I felt that their relationship was a pretty predictable one.

The story line and the characters are all fantastic and well-thought out. The side characters that we were introduced to in the first book take on more of a prominent role, sometimes stealing the spotlight entirely. The series is a bit Game of Thrones-esque (abeit a bit less graphic), filled with political intrigue, treason, family drama, and bastard sons running around trying to save the kingdom.

I love that this isn’t just another fantasy story. Sure, there’s magic, but there’s much more to it than that. It’s a story about endurance, loyalty, doing what’s right (even when it hurts), and looking out for one’s family/pack.

 

 

Adult · Books · Fantasy · Young Adult

Anticipated Reads of 2019 (Part 1)

The final days of 2018 are here and with it comes reflection on all the exciting new books we read this past year. Last week I shared my favorite books of the year with you. This week, I’m looking forward to some of the books coming out next year that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

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In an Absent Dream by Seanan Mcguire

This is the story of a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should.

When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she’s found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well.

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The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

When three thieves – an orphan, a ghoul, and a cursed man – are betrayed by the master of the thieves guild, their quest for revenge uncovers dark truths about their city and exposes a dangerous conspiracy, the seeds of which were sown long before they were born.

Cari is a drifter whose past and future are darker than she can know.

Rat is a Ghoul, whose people haunt the city’s underworld.

Spar is a Stone Man, subject to a terrible disease that is slowly petrifying his flesh.

Chance has brought them together, but their friendship could be all that stands in the way of total armageddon. 

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The Wicked King by Holly Black

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

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The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites

Book Review: Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames

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My Rating: 10 out of 5 stars

Live fast, die young.

Tam Hashford is tired of working at her local pub, slinging drinks for world-famous mercenaries and listening to the bards sing of adventure and glory in the world beyond her sleepy hometown.

When the biggest mercenary band of all rolls into town, led by the infamous Bloody Rose, Tam jumps at the chance to sign on as their bard. It’s adventure she wants – and adventure she gets as the crew embark on a quest that will end in one of two ways: glory or death.

THIS BOOK IS BLOODY BRILLIANT. Everything about it, from the characters to the jokes to the subtle, yet deft music references is absolutely perfect. Bloody Rose definitely jumps onto the list of my favorite reads in 2018.

This story follows Tam Hashford, who leads a somewhat boring life compared to those who patronize the local bar she works at. Seeing the bands of mercenaries that come to town is the most excitement that Tam gets on most days. But everything changes when the band Fable comes to town. By a brush of luck and her own determination, Tam lands the gig as the new bard for Fable.

The adventurous journey that she embarks upon is even more exciting than the stories and songs she’s heard. The band tackles everything from monsters to love, loss, and facing death head on. This isn’t just a story about a bunch of bad ass mercenaries, it’s a story about following your passion and your heart, wherever it may lead you. It’s a story about family, loyalty, and doing whatever it takes to protect the ones you love.

This one gets two thumbs up from me. If I had more thumbs, I’d stick those up, too.