Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Dark Shores by Danielle Jensen Book Review

Overall Rating: *****

Releasing on May 7th. Dark Shores Book Review

Greek mythology meets Pirates of the Caribbean in this action-packed fantasy.

When Teriana breaks a sacred law and reveals the existence of The Dark Shores to the godless Empire to save her people she finds her life tied to Marcus, a ruthless legionnaire known for his conquests. As the two fight for survival they soon discover their lives and intertwined by more than just a contract. This story was as thrilling as it was heartbreaking… full of secrets and mysteries that set you up for so much more in future installments.

The author did a great job of introducing this diverse world of gods and conquest. For me she struck just the right balance of information to keep you from being overwhelmed, but always wanting to know more. If I had a full series I would binge them all right now! I have so many questions and know there are many more adventures to come so I will be eagerly awaiting Jensen’s sequel (and reading everything else she has written in the meantime).

Official Synopsis:

In a world divided by meddlesome gods and treacherous oceans, only the Maarin possess the knowledge to cross the Endless Seas. But they have one mandate: East must never meet West.

A PIRATE WITH A WILL OF IRON

Teriana is the second mate of the Quincense and heir to the Maarin Triumvirate. Her people are born of the seas and the keepers of its secrets, but when her closest friend is forced into an unwanted betrothal, Teriana breaks her people’s mandate so her friend might escape—a choice with devastating consequences.

A SOLDIER WITH A SECRET

Marcus is the commander of the Thirty-Seventh, the notorious legion that has led the Celendor Empire to conquer the entire East. The legion is his family, but even they don’t know the truth he’s been hiding since childhood. It’s a secret he’ll do anything to protect, no matter how much it costs him – and the world.

A DANGEROUS QUEST

When an Empire senator discovers the existence of the Dark Shores, he captures Teriana’s crew and threatens to reveal Marcus’s secret unless they sail in pursuit of conquest, forcing the two into an unlikely—and unwilling—alliance. They unite for the sake of their families, but both must decide how far they are willing to go, and how much they are willing to sacrifice.

Thank you to NetGalley and Macmilan-Tor/Forge for the opportunity to read Dark Shores in exchange my honest review.

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

A Pack of Blood and Lies by Olivia Wildenstein Book Review

Overall Rating: ****

A Pack of Blood and Lies was a fast paced read that pulls you right it, no struggling to get hooked here! You are left wondering what will happen to Ness next from the get go as her Werewolf family comes to force her back to Colorado after the passing of her mother. Ness has all the makings of the fierce female lead set out to avenge her family and teach the backwards pack a lesson, but her reckless streak lands her in more trouble than she started out with…. Thankfully the steamy Liam always seems to be there to save the day. Yes, it’s a little cliché but has all the juicy tidbits that keep you coming back for more along with a few twists and turns you don’t see coming. I do wish more detailed physical descriptions of characters was provided up front. Its left to the imagination in the beginning so my mind formed its own descriptions to find out later in the story that person appeared differently. This story wraps up just enough to leave you satisfied but ready to dive into the next installment. I would have started reading to sequel right away!

Official Synopsis:

The primal rule of winning: don’t fall in love with the contender.

Three months shy of her eighteenth birthday, Ness is forced to return to Colorado. Even though it’s been six years, and the wolves of her all-male pack don’t recognize her, she recognizes them. People who shun others because of their gender are hard to forget.

Especially Liam Kolane–son of Heath, the crudest and cruelest Alpha to have ruled the Boulder Pack. Liam is as handsome as he is infuriating, as kind as he is punishing, and he makes Ness’s traitorous heart race, which isn’t good. After all, he’s a Kolane. Like father like son, right?

When Heath dies, Liam vies to become the new Alpha and no one dares challenge him.

Except Ness.

Thus begins a treacherous game.

The rules: winner takes all…including loser’s life.

A Pack of Blood and Lies does not release until April 30th but is available for pre-order now!

Thank you to NetGalley and Twig Publishing for the opportunity to review this ARC for my honest opinion.

 

 

 

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff Book Review

Overall Rating: *****

Guys! I cannot say enough about this audiobook!!!! I admit I didn’t even read the synopsis for this book before I started listening and I COULD NOT STOP. I went through an 11 hour audiobook in two days!!

I have heard that the book is a bit harder to read as it is written like a file after the eventsIluminae Files Book Review have occurred. The audiobook is done with a full cast and it comes off wonderfully!!! This book had the Sci-Fi, the end of the world dystopian feel, the zombie land feel, AND the love story. I think I cried 4 times listening to this and have also now ordered a hard copy to have for a follow along reread with the book accompaniment. I would have started the second book right away, however I hit my max of audiobooks on scribd for the month so have to wait a few more weeks for it to be available.

The characters in this book are so well done, I can’t believe I was able to connect with them so much through a “case file” document. I think you love or hate (or can’t determine which feeling you really have) each of the characters detailed along the journey.

One warning- This book has a lot of heart wrenching moments and quite a bit of graphic death. If the story had not been so consuming I would have had a hard time being ok with it.

The book is in the YA section but is more in the NA spectrum, I don’t feel it would be appropriate for a child younger than 15-16 just due to sheer gore factor and sexual references.

Official Synopsis:

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

 

I would love to hear your opinions on this story (include spoiler alerts if applicable please) in the comments below! I hear I am going to need a support group after the final book!!!

Bookish Merch, Products I love!!

February 2019 New Book Releases

This February is another great month of new releases!!! There is just so much coming out on February 5th!

February 5th

Enchantée by Gita Trelease

Enchantee Book ReleaseParis in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians…

When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.

But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she’s playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…

Courting Darkness (Courting Darkness Duology #1) by Robin LaFevers

Courting Darkness BookThis author has another series called His Fair Assassins that has been a hot item on my TBR recently. I am really eager to dive into that series and then will tackle this duology. I have heard so many great things about this author.

Death wasn’t the end, it was only the beginning…

Sybella has always been the darkest of Death’s daughters, trained at the convent of Saint Mortain to serve as his justice. But she has a new mission now. In a desperate bid to keep her two youngest sisters safe from the family that nearly destroyed them all, she agrees to accompany the duchess to France, where they quickly find themselves surrounded by enemies. Their one ray of hope is Sybella’s fellow novitiates, disguised and hidden deep in the French court years ago by the convent—provided Sybella can find them.

Genevieve has been undercover for so many years, she struggles to remember who she is or what she’s supposed to be fighting for. Her only solace is a hidden prisoner who appears all but forgotten by his guards. When tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands—even if it means ignoring the long awaited orders from the convent.

As Sybella and Gen’s paths draw ever closer, the fate of everything they hold sacred rests on a knife’s edge. Will they find each other in time, or will their worlds collide, destroying everything they care about?

I will most likely be attending a signing for this book at a local independent book store in Houston, TX, Blue Willow Books. I will be sure to share my experience!

Lady Smoke (Ash Princess Trilogy #2) by Laura Sebastian

The sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller that was “made for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Sabaa Tahir” ( Bustle ), Lady Smoke is an epic new fantasy about a throne cruelly stolen and a girl who must fight to take it back for her people.

Dark of the West (Glass Alliance #1) by Joanna Hathaway

Dark of the West new bookAurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.

Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.

The Ruin of Kings (A Chorus of Dragons #1) by Jenn Lyons

There are the old stories. And then there’s what actually happens.

Kihrin is a bastard orphan who grew up on storybook tales of long-lost princes and grand quests. When he is claimed against his will as the long-lost son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds that being a long-lost prince isn’t what the storybooks promised.

Far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family’s power plays and ambitions. He also discovers that the storybooks have lied about a lot of other things things, too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love, and how the hero always wins.

Then again, maybe he’s not the hero, for Kihrin isn’t destined to save the empire.

He’s destined to destroy it . . .

February 12th

Bloodwitch (The Witchlands #3) by Susan Dennard

Bloodwitch Witchlands 3 by Susan DennardI have started this series and enjoyed it so far, looking forward to finding out more about Aeduan!

Fans of Susan Dennard’s New York Times bestselling Witchlands series have fallen in love with the Bloodwitch Aeduan. And now, finally, comes his story.

High in a snowy mountain range, a monastery that holds more than just faith clings to the side of a cliff. Below, thwarted by a lake, a bloodthirsty horde of raiders await the coming of winter and the frozen path to destroy the sanctuary and its secrets.

The Bloodwitch Aeduan has teamed up with the Threadwitch Iseult and the magical girl Owl to stop the destruction. But to do so, he must confront his own father, and his past.

The Blood Spell (Ravenspire #4) by C.J. Redwine

Blue de la Cour has her life planned: hide the magic in her blood and continue trying to turn metal into gold so she can help her city’s homeless. But when her father is murdered and a cruel but powerful woman claims custody of Blue and her property, one wrong move could expose her—and doom her once and for all. The only one who can help? The boy she’s loathed since childhood: Prince Kellan.

Kellan Renard, crown prince of Balavata, is walking a thin line between political success and devastating violence. Newly returned from boarding school, he must find a bride among the kingdom’s head families and announce his betrothal—but escalating tension among the families makes the search nearly impossible. He’s surprised to discover that the one person who makes him feel like he can breathe is Blue, the girl who once ruined all his best adventures.

When mysterious forces lead to disappearances throughout Balavata, Blue and Kellan must work together to find the truth. What they discover will lead them to the darkest reaches of the kingdom, and to the most painful moments of their pasts. When romance is forbidden and evil is rising, can Blue save those she loves, even if it costs her everything?

February 26th

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The Priory of the orange tree book releaseThere has been a ton of hype over this book for several months so I have been pretty hesitant about reading it. I decided not to pre order and will wait to see how the reviews pan out after release.

A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

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.

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Truthwitch Book Review

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Overall ***

Reading Rate: ****

Romance: ***

Pages: 432

This is the first book in the Witchlands series and I have seen a ton of hype around the third book in this series releasing so I wanted to check it out… and of course determine if I wanted to order and of the special editions 🙂 This being the first book in the series there was a lot of world building to be done. High level it is a world where everyone has a form of “witchery” and there many different kinds. The world was once vibrant and had great magic thanks to the “Origin Wells” which have all but died over the course of time. While there is a lot of world building being done you are not given too much information up front, you have to keep reading to find out what things really mean. The story is centered around Iseult and Safi, but there are numerous other characters that are key to the story and are slowing building the back stories as well.

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard Book Review

Because there was some lack of understanding and meaning to some of the elements this book was a little challenging for me to really take a hold of in the beginning. I would say about half way through I was starting to understand the character and world dynamics it really started to pick up.

Once problem I had in the writing was the action scenes. I tend to read quickly and sometimes I have to go back and reread a section to get the details. I just feel in some scenes the details were lacking. I was having a hard time picturing how they were moving together or fighting. A few times I caught myself internally thinking “How did they end up like that?”.

There was so much that was left shrouded in mystery in this book. Most of the characters are really still in a morally grey area, and you aren’t even sure who the “big bad” guy is. I gave the overall score for this book 3 out of 5 stars for its slow start and lack of information. Understanding that this is taking this book as a standalone and that once complete with the overall series I might have a very different opinion.

That being said even though this first book was only 3 stars I will continue to read the series. I think the author has a lot of great concepts started and I would really like to find out what she does with them… and who ends up being what in the story line.

Official Synopsis:

“In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.”

On another fun note I did read that it was announced in September that the series was optioned by Jim Henson Company for a TV series!!  Link to article

BloodWitch the official 3rd book in the series (there is a 2.5 Novella) Releases on February 12th 2019.  I will have to see how the sequel Windwitch goes before I decide if I want to pre-order or grab any special edition boxes.

Book Reviews, Products I love!!

The Lost Sisters by Holly Black – Book Review

Overall Rating: ****

In preparation for the release of the Wicked King I held off on reading this novella to wait and get my hyped since it had been so long since the release of The Cruel Prince.

While I did buy this on Kindle I ended up listening to the audiobook with my free trial of Scribd. It was only an hour and a half so was really easy to get through… plus the narrator did a great job and her imitations of the guy voices were hilarious!

This novella is based on Taryn apologizing to Jude for the events of The Cruel Prince and giving her side of the story. I actually really enjoyed seeing the story for Taryn’s point of view, and I felt like it really filled on some gaps in the original story. Don’t get me wrong I still don’t like her any more than I did at the end of The Cruel Prince but I hate Locke 100 times more. The way Taryn tells the story really gets across just how devious he is. This was the perfect sample story to get me excited again for The Wicked King after such a long gap from reading the first book. I would have given this novella 5 starts if it had more length.

Although I didn’t get the book right on the release date I ordered several special edition boxes and the Barnes and Noble exclusive book so look for lots more reviews in the near future!

DIY Beauty, Lovabulls

Meet the Lovabulls

I have always had a love for animals, my dream when I was a kid was to be a Vet. So naturally over the years I have had a lot of pets. As I grew into an adult I found myself drawn to Bully breeds after my dad rescued a Pit mix that was our family dog for years.

Bull Terriers were a breed I had ogled over for years but had never owned. That is until I met the man that would become my husband and his Bull Terrier Ruca. Ruca was very attached to Ricki and not very fond of women, but for some reason she decided to accept me into the house. Now don’t get me wrong it took a while… I was astounded by the level of personality that she had and the odd ball things she would do. For example, until she started to trust me she would not take food from me that her Dad had not given her first and she would not go outside with me alone (don’t we all wish that kids would hold so strict to this!).

Lovabull Bull Terrier Ruca

After a few months of dating Ricki was feeling bad because Ruca was getting less attention than she was used to, so naturally we decided to get her a friend. And what better friend is there to get a Bull Terrier than a second Bull Terrier.

Hence Snoopy (a.k.a. Snoop) found his way into our home! Snoop is definitely our “Wild Child”! He is three years old now but is still quite the puppy in so many ways.

Lovabull Bull Terrier Snoopy

Last but certainly not least is Yoda. As Ricki now likes to “Bull Terriers are like Potato Chips, you can’t have just one”.  Yoda is 2.5 years old and is the coolest “cat” in the house. He loves all things that involve snuggling and limited activity. Yoda and Ruca are quite the little pair of love birds.

Lovabull Bull Terrier Yoda

Book Boxes, Bookish Merch, Products I love!!

Fairyloot December Unboxing

Over the past several months I have been on a bit of a book box bender. It all started when my little brother ordered me a FairyLoot box for my birthday in August. I have to say FairyLoot is one box that I have been consistently impressed with so I wanted to share my December “Dragons” unboxing with you guys.

 

Fairyloot Dragons Book Box

Included in this box:

  1. Reading Journal by Fictiontea Designs
  2. Pin Flag
  3. Glow in the Dark Dragon Necklace
  4. Harry Potter themed Book Sleeve by Sweet Sequels – I am completely obsessed with this item and everything by this artist!
  5. An Advanced Reading Copy of Storm Crows by Kalyn Josephson- this book doesn’t release until July 2019!!!
  6. Doubled sided art print with Manon and Abraxos on one side and Toothless on the other.
  7. For the SECOND book, a signed copy of Fire and Heist by Sarah Beth Durst with author letter
  8. Mother of Dragons Magnetic Books Marks- This item was actually missing from this month’s box due to a packing issue. The Fairy Loot team sent out emails right away advising of the issue and that they would be getting that item out to us as soon as possible. They communicated the issue and solution promptly and I have no concerns over it.

Fairlyoot Dragons Book Box Unboxing

The one downside to this box for me being in Texas is the shipping. Since the company is based in the U.K. the international shipping is about $20, which makes the total cost of the box right around $50. Due to that cost I only order the box every other month or so, but even with that little extra cost I feel it is well work the money. I have ordered several other domestic boxes that with shipping landed right around $40 but the quality for the price was not even close to that of FairyLoot.  You can also skip months with your subscription so you are not locked into spending that money each month either way.

Their January theme is Unbreakable Bonds and is still available at Fairyloot.com

Book Reviews

The Dark Artifices- Review of Books 1 and 2

Overall: ***

Romance: ***

Reading Rate: ***

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Recommend if you liked: The Mortal Instruments 

Purchase on Amazon here 

I will preface this review by saying that I read both The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices and while I won’t say they were literary wonders I enjoyed both series. They offered great binge worthy heart wrenching paranormal drama (and I am a sucker for it)!

Shadowhunter Books

Knowing how Cassandra Clare loves to tear my heart out I waited until the series was complete with the release of Queen of Air and Darkness to start reading. Like the first series of hers I read I was expecting to be sucked in right away and devour the whole series in a few days… Yes I admit I have a problem….. BUT alas it has taken me WEEKS to get through the first few books and I am not even interested in diving into the third at this point.

Now I have heard a lot people raving about The Dark Artifices and how it is their favorite Shadowhunters novel but I just cannot make it happen for me.

My issues *spoilers*:

  • I think this being the third of her series that I have read I might be a little burnt out on the same concept being repeated – Forbidden love, lack of communication, narrow-minded Shadowhunters. Like that one person we all know that keeps making the same mistakes and wondering why they have so much drama?
  • I personally and not a fan of the Julian being the parent dynamic.
  • 2/3 of the way through the series and I don’t feel like the villain or villians are really built out.
  • I don’t not like the cameos from The Mortal Instruments main crew. I mean if you are going to write a book with Jace in it, I want it to be all him lol. Plus after they hinted about Clary dying I almost didn’t want to keep reading to find out if it really happened.
  • These cameos also ruined Alec and Magnus for me. While I get it was trying to show them in an adult/parent light years down the road I just didn’t care for their new softness.

While curiosity will get the best of me eventually and I will finish Queen of Air and Darkness and hopefully it will be so amazing it changes my mind on the whole series. But as of right now I have no plans to purchase her two new books releasing in 2019 Red Scrolls of Magic or Chain of Gold.

Stay Tuned….

Products I love!!

Book Outlet Review

I started seeing a lot of people posting unboxing videos from Book Outlet online and wondered what all the fuss was about. I decided to check out the site and when I saw the prices I had the same thought as many folks “there is no way this can be real”. I was thinking they had to be damaged books or maybe different versions of the books. But, the prices were so cheap and there were a ton of books on my wish list so I decided to give them a try.

IMG_4552.jpeg

They have the book prices color coded according to type, such as red for bargain books and green for “scratch and dent” so when you are browsing you can clearly see what you are getting. I went for all bargain books because I wanted them to be in the best shape possible and for only a few bucks more they were still totally worth the buy up for me. My first order was 11 books and with the additional 10% off coupon I used for signing up on their site before my first purchase I only spent $66…. and they were almost all hardbacks

Shipping: In the U.S. they have free shipping on orders of $35 plus, but I have heard that international shipping gets pretty outrageous. I also heard some complaints about shipping time, and while they certainly are not Amazon Prime I placed my order on 12/16 and received it on 12/24. I thought that was pretty impressive especially for the holiday season on something I didn’t pay expedited shipping for. 

Now a few things to keep in mind if you are picky about your books.

1) Most of the books that arrived do have “reminder marks” on the pages. This wasn’t a deal breaker for me but it does affect the overall condition rating of the book long-term.

Book Reminder Marks

2) There were some books that had sale stickers from their original retailers on them. This I was actually not really happy about, but both books that I purchased the stickers came off really easy and there were no marks left on the books.

Book Outlet Stickers

3) There were just a few books that had a little wear on the book jackets but this is really something that I see with all retailers. I have pre- ordered books from major book chains that have come in with a decent amount of damage on them so I don’t take this away from them at all.

Book Outlet Book Jacket Wear

Would I order from them again? Well…. I already have!!! They had a great coupon for $40 off $100 (which I think is actually still good for a few more days) and I got 18 books for $60 shipped!!!! I will be sure to share the haul and any quality or shipping updates I have when they arrive!