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Books of the Month

[April 2022] Book of the Month: Storm Glass by Maria V. Synder

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I’m picking an oldie but goodie read to spotlight for April’s Book of the Month. Although Storm Glass by Maria V. Synder came out in 2009 (wow, I can hardly fathom that), I still remember the book and the trilogy it’s a part of with very fond memories. YA fantasy ruled my life then and Storm Glass, well, took my young bookish heart by storm (pun much intended).

A few things I loved: The main character, Opal, comes from a family of glassmakers. A new kind of magic emerges that has far-reaching effects. Kade, a Stormdancer and love interest, is as wonderful as he is confident. Teen me was certainly smitten. And, overall, the story was an engrossing, magical adventure.

I would recommend Synder’s Glass trilogy for any YA fantasy lovers.

"Storm Glass" by Maria V. Snyder (cover)
Image via Goodreads

Title: Storm Glass
Series: Glass #1
Author: Maria V. Synder
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Mira
Recommended?: Yes

ABOUT: As a glassmaker and a magician-in-training, Opal Cowan understands trial by fire. Someone has sabotaged the Stormdancer clan’s glass orbs, killing their most powerful magicians. The Stormdancers—particularly the mysterious and mercurial Kade—require Opal’s unique talents to prevent it from happening again.

But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap into a new kind of magic. Yet the further she delves into the intrigue behind the glass and magic, the more distorted things appear.

With lives hanging in the balance—including her own—Opal must control her powers…powers that could lead to disaster beyond anything she’s ever known.


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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About Books

AT LAST!!….The Book I’ve Been Waiting To Own For Years

Finally, after 14-ish years, I own a copy of Daja’s Book. Why is this so monumental?

Daja’s Book was life-changing. It turned me into the book lover I am today. And all thanks to a school project many many moons ago.

my Tamora Pierce collection

What helped with the project was that I got to CHOOSE a book myself instead of being assigned one I more than likely wouldn’t have enjoyed. For part of my project, I even made a board game based on the book – so fun! Choice can make a huge difference when it comes to reading.

I read the book and it was as if a light bulb turned on. I didn’t know stories could be so fantastical, so magical, so spellbinding. That was also how fantasy became my favorite genre.

I’m so glad to have this book on my shelf. It’s been a long time coming. I plan to reread Daja’s Book as soon as I can.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Daja’s Book by Tamora Pierce (Circle of Magic #3)

"Daja's Book" by Tamora Pierce
Image via Goodreads

Outcast Trader Daja, along with her fellow mages-in-training, journeys from Winding Circle to the Gold Ridge Mountains, where drought threatens widespread famine. There, Daja creates an astonishing object: a living metal vine. A caravan of Traders covets the vine, and Daja’s dealings with her former people reawakens a longing for familiar ways.

Daja must choose – should she return to the Traders or remain with the Winding Circle folk who have become her family?


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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ARCs Blog Tours Book Reviews

[BLOG TOUR] ARC Review: The Iron Sword by Julie Kagawa

Inkyard Press Winter 2022 YA Banner

Thank you to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! The Iron Sword is OUT NOW!

The Iron Sword by Julie Kagawa cover
Image via NetGalley

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: The Iron Fey: Evenfall #2
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: As Evenfall nears, the stakes grow ever higher for those in Faery…

Banished from the Winter Court for daring to fall in love, Prince Ash achieved the impossible and journeyed to the End of the World to earn a soul and keep his vow to always stand beside Queen Meghan of the Iron Fey.

Now he faces even more incomprehensible odds. Their son, King Keirran of the Forgotten, is missing. Something more ancient than the courts of Faery and more evil than anything Ash has faced in a millennium is rising as Evenfall approaches. And if Ash and his allies cannot stop it, the chaos that has begun to divide the world will shatter it for eternity.

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Things get complicated in The Iron Sword. How do you combat the very manifestation of anger, hate, and fear that has been brewing for countless centuries?

Ash is the narrator of this sequel to The Iron Fey: Evenfall series. He’s not happy, super stressed, and fears for the safety of his family and friends (rightfully so). You can tell early on that he is heading towards a breaking point with his Unseelie side.

Parts one and two were slower paced with not much seriously happening. Ash, Meghan, Puck, Nyx, and Grimalkin search for Kierran who has disappeared along with an entire city. Along the way, the group meets with characters I’m assuming are from previous books/series to find answers and Keirran. More questions than answers are raised about the new threat emerging.

Part three was my favorite because things really picked up, tensions rose to new heights, and lots of action happened. I love the backstory we get about Faery’s past and what the new threat is and where it came from. It was a really great twist to the story and posed questions for what all of these revelations could mean for the future of Faery and the main characters.

This may have been Ash’s story – always nice when other characters get a chance to shine – but Grimalkin was my favorite character. The cait sith’s indifferent nature, directness, and sass was enjoyable. I also liked the Wolf because I am always partial to characters that are wolves. Grimalkin and the Wolf bring much needed perspective on things.

The climax of the story was unputdownable! Just when you think things are about to go one way – WHAM! – something else happens. Those were very entertaining scenes.

Book 3 cannot get here fast enough! The story is heading into a whole new territory that could make or break things. I have no idea how the main characters will accomplish their goal after learning what they have, but I admire their determination and strength to save the world. I think book 3 will be told in Meghan’s pov, but given how book 2 ended I’m kind of leaning more towards it being Nyx’s pov.

The Iron Sword was a good sequel!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie Kagawa

Born in Sacramento, CA, Julie Kagawa moved to Hawaii at the age of nine. There she learned many things; how to bodyboard, that teachers scream when you put centipedes in their desks, and that writing stories in math class is a great way to kill time. Her teachers were glad to see her graduate.

Julie now lives is Louisville, KY with her husband and furkids. She is the international and NYT bestselling author of The Iron Fey series. Visit her at juliekagawa.com.

SOCIAL LINKS:
Author website: http://juliekagawa.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jkagawa
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/juliekagawaauthor/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100045094913658
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2995873.Julie_Kagawa

The Iron Sword – https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/52735443-the-iron-raven

Read Chapter 1 Excerpt

On sale: February 1, 2022
ISBN: 978-1335418647
Inkyard Press
Teen & Young Adult; Epic Fantasy
$19.99 / $24.99 CAN
304 Pages

BUY LINKS: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | IndieBound | BookShop.org | AppleBooks | Google Play


More by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Raven (#1)


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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About Books

Currently Reading – January 24, 2022

What are you currently reading?

Hi, again! I’ve been trying to finish a final project and catch up on all the things, so I’m wondering how you all have been and what you’re currently reading.

I’ve gotten some reading done and squeezed in time to finish two books over the weekend. Currently, I’m reading The Iron Sword by Julie Kagawa, book 2 of The Iron Fey: Evenfall series.

This series takes place after the original The Iron Fey series, which I have not read but have been able to understand the context of important past events in relation to the present. Book 1 was told through Puck’s pov. Now, it’s Ash’s pov, so it’ll be great getting to know him better.

I’m both nervous and excited for The Iron Sword because the main characters are facing a dark threat unlike any antagonist I’ve ever seen. What they managed last book is far from guaranteed in this book. Evenfall is coming, whether the realm of Faery is ready or not.


The Iron Sword by Julie Kagawa cover
Image via NetGalley

ABOUT: As Evenfall nears, the stakes grow ever higher for those in Faery…

Banished from the Winter Court for daring to fall in love, Prince Ash achieved the impossible and journeyed to the End of the World to earn a soul and keep his vow to always stand beside Queen Meghan of the Iron Fey.

Now he faces even more incomprehensible odds. Their son, King Keirran of the Forgotten, is missing. Something more ancient than the courts of Faery and more evil than anything Ash has faced in a millennium is rising as Evenfall approaches. And if Ash and his allies cannot stop it, the chaos that has begun to divide the world will shatter it for eternity.


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Book Reviews

Book Review: Blade of Secrets by Tricia Levenseller

Light blue text that says "Book Review" over a stem of while orchids.

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Mental Health
Series: Bladesmith #1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Eighteen-year-old Ziva prefers metal to people. She spends her days tucked away in her forge, safe from society and the anxiety it causes her, using her magical gift to craft unique weapons imbued with power.

Then Ziva receives a commission from a powerful warlord, and the result is a sword capable of stealing its victims’ secrets. A sword that can cut far deeper than the length of its blade. A sword with the strength to topple kingdoms. When Ziva learns of the warlord’s intentions to use the weapon to enslave all the world under her rule, she takes her sister and flees.

Joined by a distractingly handsome mercenary and a young scholar with extensive knowledge of the world’s known magics, Ziva and her sister set out on a quest to keep the sword safe until they can find a worthy wielder or a way to destroy it entirely.

 

My Review: I liked Blade of Secrets, but not as much as I thought I would. The cover is gorgeous, I felt connected to its main character, and the plot was original. I liked the amusing banter, the beautiful sisterly love, cute-as-can-be romance, and the loads of action.

Ziva I could empathize with her social anxiety, which was authentically portrayed. People-ing is hard for some, easier for others. Ziva’s awkwardness, her inability to converse, and that her sister, Temra, often has to do the talking for her, tends to be misunderstood.

I liked Ziva’s magical abilities, how she imbues anything she makes with magic. Ziva stands out as unique among other overpowered MCs I know of. However, I’m unable to suspend my disbelief towards some of her naivety about the weapons she makes. She understands the impact the commissioned sword would have on the world in the wrong hands, but she still seems…surprised? I don’t know. I can’t help questioning her hopes/goal for past weapons made.

Fortunately, this does make for a suspenseful conflict with a seemingly low success rate. The threat level was significantly high throughout the book. The warlord, Kymora Avedin, is rich, powerful, well-known, and a superior fighter. How will Ziva and company succeed in keeping the sword from the warlord’s clutches? It’s a conundrum that’ll leave you on the edge of your seat.

Ziva and Temra’s sisterly bond is so strong. They have each other’s back and love deeply. Ziva is extremely protective of her little sister who is all she has left in the world. Everything Ziva does is for Temra. Their close bond was my favorite part of the book.

I am all for Ziva’s budding romance with Kellyn. There were just too many setbacks on Ziva’s end. I get why but I just wanted them to move forward. They belong together, I just know it!

Kellyn gets Ziva and her anxiety when no one else but her sister ever did. He’s kind, patient, but real. His backstory was really nice and I like what his presence does to the plot. His quips with Petrik, another charming member of the group, livened things up during super tense situations. Kellyn is very underrated by the other characters that I don’t blame him one bit for feeling annoyed and angry when all he’s been is fair and generous, keeping up his end of the deal as a hired sword.

I have mixed feelings about the ending. After a tough, hard-fought battle, I didn’t expect things to take another drastic turn. I guess it’s fine and leaves things on an emotional and uncertain high.

Blade of Secrets is full of surprises, secrets, betrayals, and revelations. Despite my misgivings, Ziva, Temra, Kellyn, and Petrik are an interesting squad whose story-line I want to see through. I want to read more of whatever Levenseller writes next.


More by Tricia Levenseller

Warrior of the Wild

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Books of the Month

[September 2021] Book of the Month: The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

For September’s Book of the Month, I chose to spotlight The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross because it’s an incredible duology but also it kind of fits the back to school vibes I’m feeling right now. I highly recommend this story!

Image via Goodreads

Title: The Queen’s Rising
Series: The Queen’s Rising #1
Author: Rebecca Ross
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Recommended?: Yes

Goodreads Summary: When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her. While some are born with a talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she chose knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true: she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, she reluctantly accepts. But there is much more to his story, for there is a dangerous plot to overthrow the king of Maevana—the rival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved, some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. Who will be that queen?

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Quotes of the Day

Quote of the Day (from Roar)

“And even though everything else was chaos and confusion, she felt undeniably sure about something for the first time in years. ‘I’m making my own future.'”

 

Like this quote? You can find more here!

As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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Book Reviews

Book Review: Ignite by Sara B. Larson

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: Defy #2
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Alexa continues to harbor a secret love for the newly crowned King Damian, yet she remains by his side as his guard and ever committed to helping him rebuild Antion and reclaim the hope of Antion’s people. However, when a new threat to Damian and his kingdom emerges, and blame is cast on the once friendly nation of Blevon, Alexa knows things are not what they seem. Once again the fate of her country hangs in the balance. Will Alexa be able to protect her king and uncover the true enemy — before it’s too late?

 

My Review: Ignite was as engrossing as the first book, which made for a quick but likeable read. I do think it suffered somewhat from middle book syndrome. It was missing the wow-ness from the first book.

Alexa remains a wonderful character to follow but she needs a nap, food, and a vacation. In Ignite, Alexa is faced with even more challenging obstacles. She’s unsure how to be now that everyone knows she’s a girl. The love triangle is falling apart – still interesting as she’s withholding her love. Danger is mounting but you don’t know who, creating some suspense. It’s one conflict after and victory is not certain.

Some of the danger or red flags seemed obvious and would call for a thorough investigation, especially since the kingdom has barely begun to heal and feel safe. The major conflict increases in dark and wicked ways, commanding my attention and that I keep on reading.

The author is doing a good job building upon the story and setting the stage for (possibly) a stunningly devastating conclusion. Does love conquer all? Maybe? I’m excited to find out how it all ends and what impossible choices characters will be forced to make. All in all, a good read.


More by Sara B. Larson

Defy (#1)

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Book Reviews

Book Review: Forged in Fire and Stars by Andrea Robertson

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: Loresmith #1
Rating: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
Recommend to Others?: No

ABOUT: Ara has always known about the legend of the Loresmith: the blacksmith who served alongside the kings and queens of every generation to protect the kingdom. It was her fate to inherit the title–though she never truly believed it would come to pass since the monarchy’s downfall years before.

But when the lost Princess Nimhea and Prince Eamon steal Ara from her quiet life with a mission to retake the throne–and take her place as the Loresmith–her whole world turns upside down. Their journey will take Ara on a dangerous adventure to discover new truths about her family’s legacy, and even to face the gods themselves. And with a mysterious thief as an unexpected companion, Ara must use all her skills to figure out just who she can trust, and forge the right path forward–for herself, her kingdom, and her heart.

 

My Review: Forged In Fire and Stars was not what I expected. Maybe I hyped it up too much in my head. I liked that the main character was a blacksmith and the plot sounded super interesting. Yet, in the end, I was left feeling disappointed.

The main character, Ara, takes on a passive role in the story. She’s committed to her destiny of becoming the next Loresmith and helping her conquered kingdom reclaim its independence. A nice romance begins to blossom between her and another character that could develop into something really good. There were just too many moments where I found it difficult to care about what was going on. As if both Ara and the reader were learning things and just along for the ride.

The backstory about the Loresmith is unique (albeit a tad crippling to Ara’s agency throughout) and I like the other characters she’s with along the journey. But I wasn’t invested in Ara’s journey as much as I wanted to be. The book has a lot of potential but for me it’s missing the wow factor. I had an indifferent reading experience. Most likely I won’t continue this series due to an underwhelming plot and main character.

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About Books

Currently Reading – August 9, 2021

Happy Monday, Bookworms!

What are you reading this week?

New week. New reads!

I hope you all had a great weekend. I had a busy and productive weekend. I put together a new bookshelf, rearranged some furniture to fit said bookshelf, and got other work done.

My goal this week is to finish both of my current reads: Carefree Black Girls by Zeba Blay and Blade of Secrets by Tricia Levenseller.

Carefree Black Girls I started last week but didn’t get far before I was distracted by my other read at the time and life stuff. It’s a collection of essays, which is outside my comfort zone when it comes to preferred genres. The introduction intrigued me, so I’m looking forward to continuing on.

Image via NetGalley

Carefree Black Girls is an exploration and celebration of black women’s identity and impact on pop culture, as well as the enduring stereotypes they face, from a film and culture critic for HuffPost.

In 2013, Zeba Blay was one of the first people to coin the viral term “carefreeblackgirls” on Twitter. It was, as she says, “a way to carve out a space of celebration and freedom for black women online.”

In this collection of essays, Blay expands on that initial idea by looking at the significance of influential black women throughout history, including Josephine Baker, Michelle Obama, Rihanna, and Cardi B. Incorporating her own personal experiences as well as astute analysis of these famous women, Blay presents an empowering and celebratory portrait of black women and their effect on American culture. She also examines the many stereotypes that have clung to black women throughout history, whether it is the Mammy, the Angry Black Woman, or more recently, the Thot.

~          ~          ~

Over the weekend I finished The Squire by Duncan M. Hamilton. Wow. Just wow! This was a nearly perfect but absolutely enjoyable read.

Now I get to start a new book this week, Blade of Secrets. I’m trying to quell my already high expectations but how can I not already love a book with a main character who, like me, is also a socially awkward and anxious turtle when it comes to associating with people? The book is a cover buy with what I believe will be an amazing start to a fantastic adventure.

Image via Goodreads

Eighteen-year-old Ziva prefers metal to people. She spends her days tucked away in her forge, safe from society and the anxiety it causes her, using her magical gift to craft unique weapons imbued with power.

Then Ziva receives a commission from a powerful warlord, and the result is a sword capable of stealing its victims’ secrets. A sword that can cut far deeper than the length of its blade. A sword with the strength to topple kingdoms. When Ziva learns of the warlord’s intentions to use the weapon to enslave all the world under her rule, she takes her sister and flees.

Joined by a distractingly handsome mercenary and a young scholar with extensive knowledge of the world’s known magics, Ziva and her sister set out on a quest to keep the sword safe until they can find a worthy wielder or a way to destroy it entirely.

A teenage blacksmith with social anxiety accepts a commission from the wrong person and is forced to go on the run to protect the world from the most powerful magical sword she’s ever made.

~          ~          ~

I hope you all enjoy whatever you’re reading. Have a great week!


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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