Reviews

ARC Review: Kingdom of Ash and Soot by C.S. Johnson

I was sent this book for an honest review by the publisher.  All thoughts and opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way by receiving this book.

Kingdom of Ash and Soot
Kingdom of Ash and Soot
by C.S. Johnson
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Published July 3rd, 2018 by Prodigy Gold Books

Synopsis
“I want to be free.” The words came rushing out of me before I could think through their implications and consequences.

“There are two things you need to know about yourself if you want to be free—what you stand for, and what you stand against.” Lady Penelope held up her hands, brandishing a pair of daggers that had been hidden in her skirts. “This world lives enslaved to its destruction, and so long as you are living, as long as you are fighting, you will be free.”

I gazed at the daggers, transfixed. Each blade was clothed in a leather scabbard, but the silver and obsidian of the daggers’ hilts winked at me, as though it was calling for me.

PRAGUE, 1870.

For the last ten years, nineteen-year-old Eleanora Svobodová has worked as a servant in her stepmother’s household. Along with her older brother, she dreams of the day they will be free to live life on their own terms.

But everything changes when their estranged grandmother comes to Prague on behalf of Queen Victoria. Throughout Bohemia, a string of murders and secret whispers hint at a larger coup. As the leader of the Order of the Crystal Daggers, an ancient order of spies and soldiers that protect kingdoms and their rulers, Lady Penelope is determined to mete out the perpetrators. Now, Eleanora must make the choice between a life of intrigue and saving the lives of others.

Can Eleanora find a way to do the right thing and still find freedom?

What I thought
I really enjoyed this book.  Then again I love Regency/Victorian era books so this one was perfect for me.  This story is a loose retelling of Cinderella with political intrigue and family secrets. In this story, Ben and Elenora are servants in their stepmother’s house when their grandmother Lady POW shows up at their door.  Their lives have changed forever as they learn about the Order of the Crystal Daggers and decide what future they want to embrace.

There were some places in the story where the pacing began to lag; however, it would pick back up. Also, Elenora was a bit naive and seemed to be the only one that did not see certain things coming.  The sibling bond between Ben and Elenora was really nice you can tell how much they truly care for one another.

I enjoyed this enough that I am looking forward to purchasing a physical copy.  If you like Regency/Victorian era books, political intrigue, and witty banter you should give this book a try.

My Rating: /5

5 Stars

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Review: Grayghost by Tamara Grantham

Grayghost
Grayghost
 by Tamara Grantham
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(I was gifted an e-copy of this book by the author, and I also bought my own physical copy.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

Synopsis
It’s been four years since Olive Kennedy sealed the portals between Earth and Faythander. Four years that she’s been living on Earth, working as a consultant to the Houston PD. It helps keep her mind off other things—like being separated from her husband and her dragon king stepfather.

Her ex, Brent Sanchez, works with her on the police force and helps her solve crimes. His friendship is a comfort—but also a reminder of what she’s missing. Everything changes when Olive discovers a broken mirror at a murder scene. It contains magic, and although it shouldn’t exist, it could be used as a portal to Faythander. Dark forces are at work, and the one person she wants by her side to help her is literally a world away. Olive will stop at nothing to solve the murder and return to the only place she calls home.

What I thought
Grayghost is the conclusion in the Fairy World MD series which is adult fantasy.  This book picks up four years after Deathbringer ends.  Olive is living in the Earthen Kingdom working for the police department (working with her ex) as a consultant when the Grayghost kills one woman and attempts to kill another.  Olive is able to follow the Grayghost back to Faythander through a portal the Grayghost created.  When Olive lands in Faythander it is nothing like she left it four years ago.

I have really enjoyed this series as a whole. I am sorry if this will all seem vague but there isn’t much I can go into without spoiling one or another book in the series.  Tamara is able to tie up a lot of the loose end that was left in the other six books in the series.  Once I started reading it I was finished with it in two days. I loved watching Olive grow as a character throughout this series. This was the slowest moving book in the series but like I said I still finished it in two days. The way Tamara is able to weave our world and the Fairy world together is amazing. Throughout this series, her characters are able to move through both worlds and it does not seem forced in the writing.

If you want to give this series a try and I do suggest it. you can get an e-copy of Dreamthief free on Amazon.   No this is not a promotion I just really did like this series, and books are expensive ;).

Fairy world series.

My Rating: /5

4.5 stars

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Review: Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

Lair of Dreams
Lair of Dreams
by Libba Bray
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Synopsis
The longing of dreams draws the dead, and this city holds many dreams.

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. With her uncanny ability to read people’s secrets, she’s become a media darling, earning the title “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” Everyone’s in love with the city’s newest It Girl…everyone except the other Diviners.

Piano-playing Henry DuBois and Chinatown resident Ling Chan are two Diviners struggling to keep their powers a secret—for they can walk in dreams. And while Evie is living the high life, victims of a mysterious sleeping sickness are turning up across New York City.

As Henry searches for a lost love and Ling strives to succeed in a world that shuns her, a malevolent force infects their dreams. And at the edges of it all lurks a man in a stovepipe hat who has plans that extend farther than anyone can guess…As the sickness spreads, can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld to save the city?

In this heart-stopping sequel to The Diviners, Printz Award-winning, and New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray takes readers deeper into the mystical underbelly of New York City.

What I thought
Liar of Dreams is the second book in the Diviners Series. I have also reviewed the first book if you want to go and check it out here. Evie Americas Sweetheart Seer now has her own radio show where she divines for any who attend.  Needless to say being a diviner is ‘In” and now many are claiming to be one. There are still some that are trying to keep their abilities a secret. 

Henry our beloved piano player friend from the first book has a secret, he can walk in dreams. On one of these dreamwalks he meets Ling another dreamwalker.  But as a Sleeping sickness begins to take hold of New York City it is now up to our friends to find and stop what is causing this sickness.

I absolutely love these books!  They are so atmospheric it just pulls you right in. Libba Bray’s writing is wonderful she is able to weave so many storylines together and not miss a beat. She balances the continuation of the first book with this new line and it just all flows together perfectly.  You get backstories for Sam and Henry in this book and you can’t help but to feel for them and understand why they act the way they do. I can’t wait to continue on with the third book.

My Rating: /5

5 Stars

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Review: Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce

Tempests and Slaughter
Tempests and Slaughter
 by Tamora Pierce
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Synopsis
Arram. Varice. Ozorne. In the first book in the Numair Chronicles, three student mages are bound by fate . . . fated for trouble.

Arram Draper is a boy on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness–and for attracting danger. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “leftover prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one-day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram begins to realize that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.

In the Numair Chronicles, readers will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom’s future rests on the shoulders of a talented young man with a knack for making vicious enemies.

What I thought
Tempests and Slaughter is the first book in a young adult fantasy series following Arram Draper. This is a story about three exceptional Mages in training who are all younger than their peers. Their magic is advanced for their ages. Arram is a scary strong mage who’s best friend Ozorne is in line for the throne. As the story progresses Ozorne place in line keeps getting closer as other aires keep meeting their ends. Arram realizes that as his friend moves up the line of succession his future is now hanging in the balance too.

I really liked this book. Three friends in magic school…what more can I say, I was sold at magic school. The story was slow in some places and the characters are really young in the beginning (Arram is 10), but I really liked how the story is told.  I love the writing enough to pick up the Immortal series. Normally I don’t grab the whole series at one time but Bookoulet. I may have bought all 4 for the price of 1.

Long story short I really liked this book and I plan to continue this series.

My Rating: /54 Stars

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Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone.png
Children of Blood and Bone
by Tomi Adeyemi
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Synopsis
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. 

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

What I thought
Children of Blood an Bone is the first book in a young adult fantasy series.  Zeilie, a diviner has seen magic torn away from her land and her mother murdered. Zelie is on a mission to bring magic back.

I really really wanted to like this book.  The first half of the book was a bit slow. Don’t get me wrong things were happening but the story just couldn’t keep my interest.  I kept putting the book down and had no want to pick it back up.  But I pushed through and made it to the second half around 300 pages it picked up but still, I kept losing interest.

I like the writing style so I would give pickup something from this author again. For me, there was just something lacking from the story.  I know how most people just seem to love this book it just is not for me.

My Rating: /5

2 stars

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Review: Air Awakens by Elise Kova

Air Awakens
Air Awakens
 by Elise Kova
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Synopsis
A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond…

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.

What I thought
Air Awakens is the first book in an adult fantasy series.  In this world, Sorcerers can have affinities to the 4 types of elemental magic.  Vhalla a library apprentice lives a quiet life until the sorcerer prince takes notice of her.

In the beginning, Vhalla is naive and that leads her to trust a little too easily but that is remedied when Aldrik helps her awaken. Yep, he pushes her off of the roof and feels quite justified by doing so because it proved him right about her powers. Can one be redeemed by such a move? Maybe.

I loved this book!  Once I started reading it I was pulled in.  I can not remember the last time I stayed up until 2am to finish a book knowing I had to work the next morning. Heck, I don’t do that when I don’t have to work. I can’t just pick one thing that I liked about this book because I loved it all the world, the characters, the political intrigue.  I can not wait to pick up the second book.

There is one description that I loved and no this is not about the prince 😉

“He seems about as pleasant as a rabid weasel in a bag of vipers”

My Rating: /5

5 Stars

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Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Diviners
The Diviners by Libba Bray
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Synopsis
Evangeline O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City–and she is ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult. Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far.

When the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer. As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfurl in the city that never sleeps. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened…

What I thought
The Diviners is the first book in a young adult paranormal historical fiction series. This story is set in New York City during the 1920s. Evie (one of the main players) gets into trouble at home in Ohio, for performing parlor tricks. Her mother’s solution is to send her away to her brother in New York. Evie is then sent to stay with her Uncle Will (Unc) in New York City for a few months while everything blows over at home. Will owns the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, which leads them to be asked to be consultants on a case.

When a Serial Killer terrorizes the city with ritualistic killings Detective Malloy reached out to Will for help. Will and Evie dive into this case to discover who the killer is.  Will soon learn that Evie was not just merely doing parlor tricks that got her in trouble in Ohio. She is a Diviner.

I loved this book it was so atmospheric. I found it so hard to put down. I couldn’t help to find myself liking Evie no matter how flawed she was. this book sets up the series so well. You have multiple storylines that all intertwine so well. All of the characters are so well balanced. The story is just woven so well it kept me interested the whole way through.  This is another book I have owned for a while and I have no idea why I was waiting to read it. If this book is just sitting on your shelf unread do yourself a favor and pick it up.  You will not regret it.

My Rating: /55 Stars

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