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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.

Adult · Books · Fantasy · Fiction

First Impression Friday: Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames

Happy Friday folks! It was another short work week for me, as I took off today to take Boyfriend to get Lasik surgery later. This morning I’m getting my word count on at my favorite coffee shop. Days off are perfect for writing. 🙂

It’s also time for another First Impression Friday! (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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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.

It’s time to take a walk on the wyld side.

I freaking LOVE this book already. The way the author takes the concept of a musical band and turns them into a group of touring, fighting mercenaries, then throws in handfuls of 80s music references without it being even slightly cheesy is an utter delight.

At first I found Tam to a strange choice for a protagonist. Compared to the other characters in the story she’s the least experienced and most normal of the bunch. After a little while I changed my mind. Seeing the story through her perspective made much more sense, since she’s a bit of a blank slate. Plus, she’s the bard. She’ll be telling the story of Fable for years to come.

It’s obvious some crazy shit is going to happen in this story. I’m guessing that despite their lack of participation in chasing after the Horde, they’ll end up right in it’s path at some point. Tam will also, most likely, end up joining in the fight and become more than just a bard. Maybe she’ll figure out that she has some kind of magical music gift than allows her to lull monsters to sleep! (Or not.)

Whatever happens, I already know it’s going to be amazing.

 

Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Young Adult

Mini Book Reviews

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My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb – This was such a great read! I loved Fitz and his ability to connect with animals. My heart broke for poor Fitz in this story, as he was the victim of shitty circumstance after shitty circumstance, simply for being born a bastard. His courage and perseverance were admirable given all the difficulties he faced. Burrich, Chade, King Shrewd, and the Princes are all fascinating characters and play a major role in Fitz’s character development throughout the story. At the same time, I hated every single one of them for worrying more about the poor kid’s loyalty than his well-being. I look forward to reading the other books in the series to see what happens to Fitz and see how his skills develop.

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My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare – I didn’t love this book as much as the first three books in the series. There was nothing bad about it, but compared to the previous books it felt a little slower. One thing that I did love was that more of the story was told from Simon’s point of view. He’s such a great character! As predicted, there was lots of drama/tension between Clary and Jace, which is starting to get a little old. I understood the need for it in the other books, but now it’s just starting to feel redundant. I did like the introduction of new characters in the story and the bigger role that some of the minor characters played.

Books · Fantasy · Young Adult

Book Review: Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd

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My Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Seventeen-year-old Anouk envies the human world, where people known as Pretties lavish themselves in fast cars, high fashion, and have the freedom to fall in love. But Anouk can never have those things, because she is not really human. Enchanted from animal to human girl and forbidden to venture beyond her familiar Parisian prison, Anouk is a Beastie: destined for a life surrounded by dust bunnies and cinders serving Mada Vittora, the evil witch who spelled her into existence. That is, until one day she finds her mistress murdered in a pool of blood—and Anouk is accused of the crime.

Now, the world she always dreamed of is rife with danger. Pursued through Paris by the underground magical society known as the Haute, Anouk and her fellow Beasties only have three days to find the real killer before the spell keeping them human fades away.

This book was not what I expected it to be but I still enjoyed it.

Anouk is a sweet, innocent beastie, serving the witch who created her, Mada Vittora. Having only been in human form for one year, Anouk is rather naive to the ways of the world and the ways of magic. For this reason, I found her to be rather charming, especially in contrast to her companions who had already become hardened and jaded by life. I liked the other beasties and the way they all looked out for each other. Beau was the only one who I didn’t love. While his affection for Anouk was nice, sometimes it was a bit overkill.

I like the magic hierarchy that Shepherd created in the story. Even more so, I like that it was blended into modern Parisian society. The Haute were pretty awful, with all their politics and scheming. The Goblins were spectacular, with their glitter, high fashion, and penchant for partying. The diversity between all the different groups balanced out nicely.

Before purchasing this book, I didn’t realize that it’s loosely based around Cinderella. Even once I figured that out, it never really felt like a re-telling. There is enough substance and difference here that it becomes it’s own fairy tale.

At the end, magic and mayhem aside, it’s a story of  a girl and her friends who want nothing more than to live normal human lives. Who can’t relate to that?

 

Books · Fantasy · Young Adult

First Impression Friday: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Friday, at last! You know what that means. Monday is just around the corner. 😛 I mean…time for another First Impression Friday! (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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The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her—his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

I’m not going to lie, I was hesitant to keep reading this series. I enjoyed the first three books so much that I was afraid if I kept reading them they might not be as good and then the whole series would become tainted. Obviously, I got over it, because I started reading City of Fallen Angels, , the fourth book in the series, this week.

So far, I’m glad I picked it up. There’s more Simon in this book! I love Simon, the nerdy vampire. Simon’s life sounds like it’s about to get even more complicated in this book. He’s been given an interesting proposition to help take down Raphael, which sounds great in theory, but I’m sure all of it is going to come with heavy consequences. I’m guessing that Camille isn’t really working for herself and that somehow she’s trying to trick Simon into joining the New York vampire coven.

It’s weird to have Clary and Jace actually in a relationship, rather than just fighting and/or pining for each other. Given their history, I am one hundred percent certain that their relationship is going to have a lot of ups and downs. I expect Jace to continue struggling with his identity and major daddy issues. Meanwhile, Clary is going to be all “Omg, what if he hates me?!”, in typical teenage fashion. 😛

I have no idea what’s going to happen as far as major plot points are concerned. The blurb on the back says that Shadowhunters are being killed. I suspect it has to do something with Sebastian. I don’t think he really died in the last book. Nobody ever seems to just die one time in this series.

Books · Fantasy

Bookish Update

Last week I got a little sidetracked writing all about my trip to Portland and didn’t have much time to talk about what I’ve been reading. I’ve also been making more progress on the novel, so I guess that’s a good reason to get sidetracked.

I got a lot of reading done last weekend while traveling. I was able to finish up Assassin’s Apprentice during the long plane ride and during those afternoon trips to various coffee shops. (I was so caffeinated during that trip that I could hear colors.) On the way home I was able to start reading Grim Lovelies, which was one of the books I purchased at Powell’s. My review of both books will be up soon.

Speaking of Powell’s…my final book haul arrived in the mail yesterday! Check it out:

The only problem I’m having now is trying to decide what to read next!

What book are you reading at the moment? 

Adult · Books · Fantasy

First Impression Friday: Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

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It’s Friday! And a special one, at that, as I am currently high up in the sky, on my way to Portland, Oregon! I’m SO excited. 😀

Since it’s Friday, it’s also time for another First Impression Friday post. (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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In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

This has been on my shelf for way too long. This is actually my first book by Robin Hobb, which is kinda weird, considering that I’ve heard so many good things about all of her books.

I’m about a third of the way into this one and I’m already hooked. I love Fitz and his naive, yet bold behavior. It’s easy to feel sympathy for him, as he is the product of some really shitty circumstances. I’m really hoping that by the end of the book Fitz learns to take control of his own life and doesn’t continue letting everyone make decisions for him. I’m eager to learn more about his gift with animals! So far there’s just  been a handful of references to it, but I need to know more

So, Fitz is training to become an assassin. I’m wondering if he’ll end up  being an assassin for the royal family, as planned, or eventually use his assassin skills to go off on his own and be his own assassin. That would be kinda cool. I don’t have many predictions, but I am eager to see what happens and learn more about the magic system in Fitz’s world.

I apologize for keeping this post somewhat brief, but I’m just too excited to post much right now. Talk to you guys when I get back!

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