Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Empty Throne (Heirs of Chrior Book Two) by Cayla Kluver

THE EMPTY THRONE (HEIRS OF CHRIOR BOOK TWO) by Cayla Kluver
Available Now
Goodreads

This is the second book in the Heirs of Chrior Trilogy. If you haven't read The Queen's Choice, don't bother reading this one. You will have no idea what is going on. In fact, I had a little trouble remembering what was happening and who was who. I eventually figured it out, but I think a slight recap in a prologue would have been well worth it. Of course, I am reading it a year after it was published, but.....maybe it is my fault.

Anyway, this felt like a long book. I enjoyed it, but it dragged in places and there felt like a lot of standing still spots where the story just didn't go anywhere. But, then, that is part of the story. Anya just waiting for something to happen. She's stuck, imprisoned, not in jail, but still watched every second and it's made worse by the fact that she has indulged in something she shouldn't have. She has nightmares and feels the loss she suffered at the hands of the hunters when she crossed The Bloody Road. (I'm trying not to be spoilery for the first book.) Her days and nights are endless as she just sits around doing nothing. She's not the girl she was in The Queen's Choice.

In this book, Anya seems like she's been beaten by her circumstances. She makes foolish decisions. She doesn't confide in anyone. She trusts no one not even her own instincts. She languishes in her loss. I kept thinking about it too. Wondering if there weren't some way to fix what had happened. Could it be repaired? What would her betrothed do? Would he change his life for her?

There is a lot that happens in the book, yet a lot is in Anya's head. There is a lot of waiting and thinking. The romance is bigger in this one than the last for those fans of the romance. I just wasn't quite as impressed as I was with The Queen's Choice.  There are still so many questions about who is trustworthy and who isn't. Honestly, I didn't believe anyone anymore at the end of the book than I did at the beginning of the book. I think in the end, I was disappointed because I saw(in my mind) Anya hanging on the gate waving goodbye to her friends while she was left in the mortal world. She's sad. Alone for the most part. Worried for her world and worried for herself. Worried for the Fae and Human world alike.

This book did move the story along to a predictable place. Some interesting reveals occurred. There were more questions that came up than answers. Everything took place in the human world. We saw nothing of Illumina and I really would have liked to have known what happened to her in Chrior. But I did enjoy my time with the old characters and some new ones. It just didn't live up to The Queen's Choice. I guess you've got that by now. However, if you want to continue the series, I recommend reading the book. You will be lost without it. And apparently, right after I read it, I gave it four stars so I think I enjoyed it more than I remembered.

There is some violence, some of it mild, some of it very brutal. There is drug use, a made up drug, but still drug use and addiction. I would recommend this book to mature 12 and up. Also death and a little sexual content (alluded to).

If you'd like to find Cayla Kulver go HERE

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

WOW- Waiting on Wednesday

I haven't done one of these in ages. I don't even remember where to find the person that I link up with but that's what old posts are for, right? Jill at Breaking The Spine hosts this meme if you'd like to link up. I would love for you to share what you are patiently waiting to read. There are a few I've given up waiting for like I've been waiting three years for Maggie Stiefvater to write Requiem. I'll just make my ending to that story. Or maybe I'll take up fan fiction!! Maybe there already is fan fiction for it. I'll have to check that out. But I've gone off on a tangent. So here is one that I do trust will be written and done very well and there will be closure.

Strange the DreamerLast week we announced Laini Taylor, author of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, as this month’s NOVLbox curator (if you haven’t entered the giveaway, you can do so here) and teased that we would be sharing news about her new book. You may remember hearing about The Muse of Nightmares back in May—and friends, we have an update. The book is now two books, a duology! The first will be titled Strange the Dreamer and the second book in the series will be The Muse of Nightmares. So why two books instead of one? And why title the first one Strange the Dreamer instead of The Muse of Nightmares? Laini has the answers to all our questions. Take it away Laini!Laini says…From its inception, this story has had co-main characters, and the title “the Muse of Nightmares” describes one of the two—the one I was most focused on at the outset, who I believed to be the more fascinating, and who I thought would carry the story. But stories can be unruly things. Characters can surprise you, and the other character quite spectacularly did: taking over the beginning of the book and sweeping me off my feet. His name is Lazlo Strange, and he’s a junior librarian at the world’s greatest library. One of the first things that made me fall in love with him was when it came out that his nose had been broken by a falling volume of fairy tales. It was this tiny thing that came from of my fingertips one day (sometimes the words seem just to appear in the space between your fingertips and the keyboard), and suddenly…I had him: “Strange the Dreamer,” so-called by his colleagues, and not always kindly.Initially I titled a chapter “Strange the Dreamer,” and I hadn’t looked at it more than a couple of times before it struck me that I loved the sound of it beyond reason and that was my book title. I only hoped my editor and publishers would agree, and I was so, so pleased that they did! And because it will be followed by its sequel, The Muse of Nightmares, I didn’t have to sacrifice that title, which I also love. I can’t tell you how eager I am for readers to meet these two characters, and all the others who people this peculiar new world I’m building. I hope you will love them as much as I do!Thanks, Laini! We love the new title and we’re glad to hear that the other will be sticking around. And thank you for telling us a little more about this new character! We like Lazlo already. Above all, we’re psyched that we’ll be getting TWO books in this new magical world that you created. Strange the Dreamer will be released on September 27, 2016, and it is the story of: the aftermath of a war between gods and men.a mysterious city stripped of its name.a mythic hero with blood on his hands.a young librarian with a singular dream.a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled.alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.Welcome to Weep.


I am so sorry it doesn't have a gorgeous cover but it will, I am quite sure. Anyway, here's what I found on NOVL about the series (yay)!

Strange the Dreamer

Last week we announced Laini Taylor, author of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, as this month’s NOVLbox curator (if you haven’t entered the giveaway, you can do so here) and teased that we would be sharing news about her new book. 
You may remember hearing about The Muse of Nightmares back in May—and friends, we have an update. The book is now two books, a duology! The first will be titled Strange the Dreamer and the second book in the series will be The Muse of Nightmares. So why two books instead of one? And why title the first one Strange the Dreamer instead of The Muse of Nightmares? Laini has the answers to all our questions. Take it away Laini!

Laini says…

From its inception, this story has had co-main characters, and the title “the Muse of Nightmares” describes one of the two—the one I was most focused on at the outset, who I believed to be the more fascinating, and who I thought would carry the story. But stories can be unruly things. Characters can surprise you, and the other character quite spectacularly did: taking over the beginning of the book and sweeping me off my feet.
His name is Lazlo Strange, and he’s a junior librarian at the world’s greatest library. One of the first things that made me fall in love with him was when it came out that his nose had been broken by a falling volume of fairy tales. It was this tiny thing that came from of my fingertips one day (sometimes the words seem just to appear in the space between your fingertips and the keyboard), and suddenly…I had him: “Strange the Dreamer,” so-called by his colleagues, and not always kindly.
Initially I titled a chapter “Strange the Dreamer,” and I hadn’t looked at it more than a couple of times before it struck me that I loved the sound of it beyond reason and thatwas my book title. I only hoped my editor and publishers would agree, and I was so, so pleased that they did! And because it will be followed by its sequel, The Muse of Nightmares, I didn’t have to sacrifice that title, which I also love.
I can’t tell you how eager I am for readers to meet these two characters, and all the others who people this peculiar new world I’m building. I hope you will love them as much as I do!
Thanks, Laini! We love the new title and we’re glad to hear that the other will be sticking around. And thank you for telling us a little more about this new character! We like Lazlo already. Above all, we’re psyched that we’ll be getting TWO books in this new magical world that you created. 
Strange the Dreamer will be released on September 27, 2016, and it is the story of: 
  • the aftermath of a war between gods and men.
  • a mysterious city stripped of its name.
  • a mythic hero with blood on his hands.
  • a young librarian with a singular dream.
  • a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperiled.
  • alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.
Welcome to Weep.

This is one that I am really looking forward to reading, but you know what, I have the second and third books to read in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series to read. Why haven't I finished it? I loved The Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I think before I read it, I'd never read a fantasy novel that was that beautifully written, that intricate, that emotional.  I don't believe there are many story tellers that can bring a story to life on the page like Laini Taylor can. Beautiful imagery, aching with emotion, poetic prose, and I don't want to ruin that first beautiful book. I was a virgin to that type of beauty in writing before I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone and I'm afraid for the series to end. But now that there is a book on the way, well I believe I can read the series. I have it on audio too. Anyone listen to it on audio??

Hope your Wednesday is filled with wonder!
Love and Peace!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

TRUTHWITCH by Susan Dennard (Witchlands Series #1)
Available Now
Published by Tor
YA Fantasy
Goodreads

So WOW! That was my initial reaction after I closed the book. I didn't read any reviews before I read this one. I have actually never read any of Susan Dennard's Something Strange and Deadly series even though I've seen her at signings and had my books signed. She is a delightful person and very warm and friendly. But we know, just because someone has a great personality and can entertain in person doesn't mean they can write. Right? No worries, she can write! I am pretty sure her first series proved that but honestly I'm too lazy to look it up. And I will read it, one day. Sooner rather than later based on this book.


For some reason, I have had trouble writing this review. I read it a few weeks ago and thought some time away from it would help but it hasn't. Usually, that means that I really, really enjoyed the book. So, my best attempt is just going to list out what I loved about the book and why.

First this book has all the fantasy elements I love. A completely made up world with forbidden magic and magical creatures. Witches! My favorite (well maybe along with Fairies). But I LOVE witches and there are so many different types of powers and strengths of powers. There are political struggles at court, pirates, kidnappings, and a fearsome and chilling villain called a Bloodwitch that still scares me. He is ruthless and unstoppable, seriously, bad witch. There are rich countries who have bullied poorer countries and a poor prince who is just trying to do the right thing. A secret society of monks and an even more secret prophecy. And two young women who just want to run away and live free.

The characters, the main ones are Safiya, Safi for short and Iseult.  Safi is what is known as a Truthwitch, a rare type of witch and one that would either be used for political gain or killed so someone can't use her. For this reason her power has been kept secret. Iseult is a Threadwitch, she can see the threads, the futures of others, but it isn't exact. Her race is looked down upon, actually she experiences fierce racism, insults, spitting, cursing (actual curses) as soon as someone recognizes her from her pale skin and dark hair. I wasn't quite clear if it was because of what she could do ( most Threadwitches can cast spells, but Iseult has no such power) or if it was simply because of her race. Her family was described like they were part of a wandering tribe, perhaps they had no homeland. I wasn't clear on that.

The bond between Safi and Iseult is like nothing I've seen, it's stronger than any sisters and any lovers. The characters are both warm in their own way. Safi is easier to know because she is impulsive and loud. She can talk herself out of most situations.  Iseult is quieter, the thinker and planner and slow to make herself known, the cleanup person. She lets her sword skills do her talking only if Safi needs help. The chapters that are from Safi or Iseult's point of view made me warm to them almost immediately seeing how they would die for each other. They are definitely a team, one doesn't really function as well without the other so wherever they end up, it will have to be together. I just see them withering without one another. They don't think of themselves at all or the trouble they are currently in, it is always for the other one. Safi never feels herself above Iseult even though she is actually close to royalty and Iseult is almost an outcast because of her race, if not for Safi.  As later characters come into the story, I was able to get a picture of how others saw them. Its an interesting way to develop a character, but it worked really well. The slurs and insults hurled at Iseult were quite jarring when I knew just how far she would go for her friend, I knew her as a person and didn't even really understand what she looked like until the slurs started. Then I thought "if they only knew what she's done..." And isn't that just as true today?? Judged by looks before we even know who a person is.

Both of them are educated and skilled at sword and knife fighting. They do not need to be rescued by any men, they are equal to or better than most of the men in the book. Before their troubles started in the book, the women had plans to run off and find a place where they could live together and be free of their impending futures. They are Threadsisters, best friends, soul sisters.

There is another character that comes in later that becomes a main character, Prince Merik. He is young, as young as Safi and Iseult. He is a Windwitch, a useful power as he is Commander of the Navy of his country, but it has little power behind the title. His country was ravaged in the last war, the soil and water poisoned by Earth and Water Witches when the larger countries turned on his small country. He is desperate to make some kind of trade agreement with anyone in the capital city and strikes a deal that puts his destiny in the direct path of Safi's and Iseult's because they come as a pair. I like Merik. He appears strong and self assured. But when we read chapters from his point of view, we see that he is just as unsure of himself as Safi or even more so. He's trying to do the right thing, by everyone. The relationship between him and whoever, is very slow to develop. It is very much in the back of the storyline, but just enough to make me happy.

The pacing of the story is fast, there isn't a lot of down time. I like that because the book is 400 pages. The writing is succinct. It isn't complicated. The story is very sophisticated so that you have to pay attention and any of that other stuff would get in the way. Yes, there are words like Threadbrother and Threadsister that we don't know immediately what they are but you should be able to understand it from the context. I like made up language in stories as long as I can figure out what it means. It goes along with the made up world. There should be made up language, powers, people, monsters and countries in a good fantasy.

Susan Dennard could have left everything happy and in a good place at the end of the book, but she chose a different kind of ending. It isn't sad or a cliffhanger. But let's just say everyone isn't happy. I doubt it will remain that way for long when the next book opens given the pacing of this book. I'm satisfied with the ending but you have to read to the very last sentence to get to that point. Don't cheat either. You'll deprive yourself of all the fun of getting there!

This is a sweeping fantasy-epic if I may say. Great characters with strong female bonds. A slow building romance (truce at this point). And a lot at stake for Safi, Merik and Iseult. I'm eager for the next book in the series! Highly recommended!

There is some violence in this book but not very graphic. No sexual content. No profanity.

You can find Susan Dennard at Website and you can find out more about Witchlands at the official website that has interviews with Dennard and excerpts and interesting tidbits to make you want to read the book. You can find it at TheWitchlands.com

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Old Posts Showing up in your Email?


 

So, that is the backyard, my lab LOVES the snow! And that's the view from the front porch. In North Carolina, snow events are kind of like preparing for hurricanes in Florida, everyone buys out the grocery store. It's serious to me because even though I lived in New England for two years with a couple of feet of snow on the ground from December to late April, I still don't know how to drive in it. Plus, we don't get snow that often so our neighborhood won't get treated for ice for a couple of days. We just don't have the resources or equipment that they have in the other states that are used to the snow. So yes, it's just a little bit of snow, a laughable amount compared to New England, but we really do have to shut down when we get snow and ice. The highway gets treated but with limited trucks and treatments, we do the best we can. I'm so lucky that my house is warm and dry and husband knows what to do with the plumbing to keep it from freezing. We have plenty of food and I found that wearing a hat inside keeps me warm. So if you have trouble staying warm inside you might want to give that a try. I'm not winning any beauty contests, but I'm warm!

Speaking of maintaining things, my email subscription seems to have a problem, or is that just me? I got a post from October today. What about you? Does anyone even subscribe to me by email? I don't blog for stats (obviously) or I would have really had a breakdown last year. But I don't want to clog up your email with old posts you've already received. I'm doing some cleanup on my blog but I'm finding Google is difficult to work with when doing that. I'm not sure how to fix the email problem but would someone let me know if you're receiving old posts? If so, I'll search for a way to fix the problem.

I hope you are all warm, safe and have plenty of books to read!

Look in the mirror and tell yourself how great you are! Then believe it!!


Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey (Sequel to The 5th Wave)

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
Goodreads

I'm not bothering with giving you the synopsis anymore. If you want to read it, you can click the Goodreads link. More often than not it gives too much away. When I read the synopsis for this on Goodreads I knew who had survived The 5th Wave just from the characters they listed so don't go there for you synopsis if you don't want it spoiled.

Of course, just because they survived the first book doesn't mean they will survive The Infinite Sea which, by the way is metaphorical. There is no great rush of water over the lands that wipes everything else out and survivors are living on canoes and kayaks. No still hobbling along in abandoned buildings and forests. But we find that the aliens are even more insidious than we were led to believe. Oh, the crushing blows that deals and the almost complete helpless and hopelessness it shoves in our faces, it drives home. Nothing can save us, not even our humanity.

The Infinite Sea is mainly Ringer's story and we find out how she fared in the early part of the alien assault on earth. She wasn't doing great before they arrived so she's traded one kind of harsh existence for another. We also see the backgrounds of Poundcake, the boy that never speaks and we can understand why. The devastation again, wreaked by the aliens is complete. Not just wreaking havoc on the planet, but the people. Not just killing them, but killing their will to fight, their reason to go on. With each death they are more and more evil. Think the devil times a hundred because only he would think using the most innocent among us against us.

I've seen a lot of people say this second book was a sophomore slump or that it didn't move the story line along. I don't see how they can say that. It just build deeper and deeper on the despair and betrayal again and again. Just when you believe the story couldn't twist anymore, that you know who the bad guy is, a brick hits you in the side of the head and you wake up to see what was there all the time but you just didn't want to see it. The other characters, Poundcake, Dumbo, Cassie, Zombie, Sam and Teacup all have their own parts to play in this story but they take a backseat for the most part to Ringer's story. She is the focal point, the battle between her and Vosch. Ringer is tough, so tough and I knew I liked her. I'm just hoping she can keep her hard edge. I don't see where the series is headed at this point. Last Star....sounds ominous to me. Is Earth the last viable planet? I'm not sure what the aliens really want. And how the hell are the survivors going to find out? And please someone kill Vosch. Put a bullet between his eyes. Someone please. He has got to die!!

Again excellent succinct storytelling. A lot of violence but I don't see anything a mature 10  and up couldn't read. You know they're gonna go see the movie. Though you might want to read the prologue before you give it to your children. Maybe your sensitive children would have a difficult time with how the young (real young) children are being used. I had a hard time with it and I'm a grown adult. But kids these days, maybe they just write it off as fiction. I still highly recommend it!


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey


The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

So, I saw the movie trailer and was sufficiently intrigued. Not that I needed a lot of convincing. My fellow blogger and friend Heidi at Rainy Day Ramblings has raved about this one. I have about 650 "friends" on Goodreads and I believe this book has been reviewed by more of my "friends" than any other book I've read. Honestly, I didn't even own this book until the movie trailer started showing on the t.v. screen and then I was hooked. And it's a shame that I bought not one, but two more books because I have a BOOK ROOM! My blog name is real. But I could have worse habits.

THE BOOK
First the narration is unique. It starts out with Cassie, a young female who is telling us what happened when the mothership parked above the planet. She is somewhat detached as she recounts what happens in each wave. Interspersed are real time chapters and other narrators. It sounds complicated but it isn't and I think the way the "waves" are recounted is done well. There would be way too much detail to go into earthquakes and tsunamis and all. The simpler the better. The effect is the same- total devastation. I like the uncomplicated way Cassie sees the world and describes the alien takeover. As a character, she's okay. I probably liked her more in the beginning of the book than the last part of the book. And I can't really pinpoint why that is, maybe her not seeing what she should have sooner. Maybe her reliance on someone. She lost her hard edge. But she never strayed from her mission.

I can't comment on all the characters but I will say that my favorite was Ringer. She was smart, tough, better than any of the guys and though we don't get her story, we aren't even sure how old she is, we know she isn't dead behind those eyes. She never wavers. She never loses her edge and she always wins. I can't tell if she has feelings for Zombie or if that's something he's just hoping for but I guarantee if that is something she wants, it'll happen and she'll keep him alive to make sure it does.

The story is what kept my mouth hanging open and had me explaining the whole book to three otherwise engaged men/boys who could have cared less. I can't really say much without giving the plot away but there are twists and turns and betrayals so that you don't know what to believe or who to believe or who is who. The only thing you know is that the aliens are winning. And you aren't sure what humans have to beat them with except maybe hope or soul or faith or love. Or all of those things. And I am glad that we have those things. Because we all read dystopians and science fiction and apocalyptic novels and close the book with the relief that it didn't really happen. But Rick Yancey has scared the pants off me! I closed the book and thought, "Damn, that could happen. We have these stupid ideas that aliens want to be friends with us. And can be beaten. What if they just want our planet and want to wipe us out???" It's a scary thought. I hope someone has a plan for that because I'm not sure I could ever be ready for The 5th Wave!

I do highly recommend this novel with some cautions. There is a lot of violence (shooting, fighting to the death) death from various benign and not so benign causes, and some mention of sexual assaults and being naked but no sex on the page or sex at all that I recall. So use your judgement. I don't know what they will do in the movie. I haven't noticed the ratings. I wouldn't hesitate to let anyone 10 and up read this- it's no worse than some of the video games I've seen, the school hallways or the nightly news. But that's your call mom and dad!

Have you patted yourself on the back today??





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