Book Quote

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“Princess-Archdivine Llewen kin Stagthorne was now a slight, shrewd woman of sixty, who had carried out her duties to the Temple in this pocket palatine realm with the firm hand of a frugal housewife for some thirty years. As Penric knocked at the door to her private cabinet, one floor down from his own and adjacent to her chancellery, and was bade to enter, he found her dressed in the five-colored holy robes of her Temple office. Presumably she’d been caught either on the way to or from some ceremonial task. She was flanked as usual by her secretary, a woman of like age—and shrewdness—in the silks and linen and fine woolens appropriate to the palace precincts.”

From Penric and the Shaman, Book 2 in the Penric and Desdemona series by Lois McMaster Bujold

 

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Quote – May 12

I’ve been at this convent five years, Keot, and I’ve learned to believe in something more than myself. All this time Wheel has been banging on about the Ancestor, about all those who came before and have gone beyond. But the larger thing I believe in is what’s here and now. Those novices are my friends and I would die for them. I would face a terror for them that I haven’t the courage to stand against on my own behalf.

Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

20 Questions About Books!

Hey fellow readers! I thought it would be fun to come with some random questions about Books and see what my answers are. Feel free to play along, just tell me your answers are!

Name a book you were supposed to read for school but didn’t.

Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad  Just ran out of time and bluffed my way through.

Name a book that made you cry.

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Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb Although, TBH, I probably cried through the whole series. The last one was the worst though. Full on sobs.

Name a book that surprised you.

Surprised in a good way, Between Jobs by W R Gingell.

Name a book that made you laugh out loud.

Probably something by P G Wodehouse. I find his books hilarious.

Name a book that made you furious.

The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee has a long section on eugenics. So upsetting.

Name a book that left you wanting more.

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Spirit’s End by Rachel Aaron was the last in the Eli Monpress series, but I really hated to say goodbye to those characters.

Name a book that fundamentally changed you.

The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis.

Name a book that was good for killing time.

Schott’s Original Miscellany by Ben Schott. Full of trivia and interesting lists .

Name the last book you paid full price for.

Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller. Got it signed too.

Name the last book you got as a gift.

The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans at a book exchange. I never get books as presents anymore!

Name a movie that was better than the book.

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Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown

Name a book that would make a great movie.

Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede. Western fantasy steampunk!

What’s the oldest book you own?

My grandma’s copy of William Shakespeare. She used it when she taught school.

What book has been on your TBR the longest?

Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott/Agatha Christie

What’s the next book on your TBR?

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Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh for the Asian readathon this month

What’s the most popular book you own?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J K Rowling

Which format of books do you prefer?

Honestly, I like ebooks more, but I also love audiobooks. And print books are good too, but not my favorite anymore.

Where do you get your books?

Library sometimes, Overdrive, Kindle Unlimited, and my favorite used bookstore, Pioneer Books in Provo.

Do you reread books? Yes, but not as often as I would like! There are so many new ones and it’s so easy to download a new book.

What do you do with old books? Mostly I trade them in at Pioneer Books, but I also donate them to the thrift store sometimes. I only keep book I’m sure I will want to reread.


I hope this was fun to read! I’d love to see your answers. I know mine are heavily weighted to fantasy, but that is what I read most of. Take care and happy reading!

The Onyx Crown: A Review

 I received this book for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. My thoughts remain my own.
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The Onyx Crown, book 1 by Alan Hurst

Synopsis:

The Onyx Crown is an exciting foray into the world of African fantasy. From the searing heat of the desert to the vastness of the savannah, it tells the story of three children–Sania, Gesi, and Jorann who grow up in a pre-medieval era of wars and successions, not fifteen years after the greatest king in the history of the continent has been deposed and assassinated. They must overcome the traumatic circumstances of their birth as well as many dangerous trials to fulfill the destiny bestowed upon them as infants. Can mere children use their courage, wits, and uncanny abilities to defeat legendary warriors, entire tribes, provinces, and kingdoms–allowing them to lead the worthy to the greatest prize of all, the Onyx Crown?

My thoughts:

If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you know that I love fantasy series. Unfortunately, writers of fantasy can get stuck in a rut of relying on the same tired tropes, the medieval-with-a-bit-of-magic settings, and the same stock characters. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when it’s done well or when something fresh is added to the mix. But if done poorly, it can be a snoozefest.

InAlan Hurst is an author and entrepeneur. Hurst who spent most of his childhood reading Asian wuxia fiction, Marvel comics and encyclopedias is delving into trilogy territory with THE ONYX CROWN. He briefly studied religion at Harvard.  Later, he settled in Washington, DC where he founded a software consulting firm, hosted the Urban Nation Radio podcast, and occasionally played the World Series of Poker.  When not writing or enjoying time with his family, he prefers to take his Ducati motorcycle out for the occasional spin!
Website: https://www.alanhurstjr.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlanHurstJr
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlanHurstJr
@AlanHurstJr
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ajhurstjr/ this book, which is the first in a planned trilogy, first time author Alan Hurst shakes things up with an African setting and a fresh plot. The story focuses on 3 teens, Jorann, Gesi, and Sania. Fifteen years  ago their lands were united under one king, but when the royal family was killed, the lands fractured and the warlords took over. However, the heir escaped. Now a prophecy foretell his return along with 3 guardians.

The story sounds really promising. Plus I love this setting. It’s great to see some more diversity in publishing. It did take me a while to sort out the characters. Of the kids, I found the boys the most interesting. Jorann has been living as a slave for several years. He doesn’t really remember a family. Gesi has grown up with a foster father, attached to the local prince’s household. They were good foils for each other. Gesi definitely has some magical combat skills, but he was too arrogant. Jorann has been beaten down so much. We get to see him learning new skills with unrealistic speed, but he seems more down to earth than Gesi.

While I liked the kids, the adults this book all strike me as pretty horrible people. I couldn’t tell who to trust or what their motives were. No doubt this will become clearer in the next book, but be prepared for betrayal and violence. The body count is pretty high. I did find the plot confusing, especially at first, and the ending of the book was rather abrupt. But if you are looking for something fresh in fantasy, this series might be just what you need.


About the author:

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Alan Hurst is an author and entrepeneur. Hurst – who spent most of his childhood reading Asian wuxia fiction, Marvel comics and encyclopedias – is delving into trilogy territory with THE ONYX CROWN. He briefly studied religion at Harvard.  Later, he settled in Washington, DC where he founded a software consulting firm, hosted the Urban Nation Radio podcast, and occasionally played the World Series of Poker.  When not writing or enjoying time with his family, he prefers to take his Ducati motorcycle out for the occasional spin.
Website: https://www.alanhurstjr.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlanHurstJr
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlanHurstJr
@AlanHurstJr
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ajhurstjr/


This review was courtesy of R & R book tours.

r & r

Quote 4/11

Adrecht ducked through the flap. Even in the dim lantern light, there was no mistaking the huge bruise that purpled his cheek and nearly closed one eye. A shallow cut above his eyebrow was dark with scabbed blood.

“Saints and martyrs,” Marcus swore. “What happened to you?”

“Mor,” Adrecht said, with an exaggerated wince. “Do you mind if I sit?”

Marcus nodded, and Adrecht folded his lanky form up beside the camp table. Marcus waved at his trunk.

“Do you want a drink? I think I’ve got something . . .”

“No,” Adrecht said. His expression was thoughtful. “No, I don’t think so.”

“So what happened? Mor just jumped you?”

“After a manner of speaking,” Adrecht said. “He came into my tent and told me that he’d had it with me, and that Marcus was a better friend than I deserved.” He smiled slightly. “With more swearing, of course. Then he picked me up and tossed me into a tent pole. Snapped it in half, as a matter of fact.”

The Thousand Names by Django Wexler

The Light Between Worlds: A Review

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The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

Synopsis:

Six years ago, sisters Evelyn and Philippa Hapwell were swept away to a strange and beautiful kingdom called the Woodlands, where they lived for years. But ever since they returned to their lives in post-WWII England, they have struggled to adjust.

Ev desperately wants to return to the Woodlands, and Philippa just wants to move on. When Ev goes missing, Philippa must confront the depth of her sister’s despair and the painful truths they’ve been running from. As the weeks unfold, Philippa wonders if Ev truly did find a way home, or if the weight of their worlds pulled her under.

Walking the line between where fantasy and reality meet, this lyrical and magical novel is, above all else, an exploration of loss and healing, and what it means to find where you belong.

Review:

I had such high hopes for this book! I think they were a little too high as I found the book to be disappointing overall.

There was a lot to enjoy about this book. I found the writing to be solid, even beautiful at times. The settings, those of the school, the museum and the Woodlands, were all done well. I really liked some of the secondary characters, especially Ev’s friend Tom. I really liked him. I also enjoyed the narration. They had two voices, one for Evelyn and one for Philippa. Both did a nice job.

However I just couldn’t connect with either character. Evelyn quickly became tiresome, with her absolute refusal to engage with her life, while expecting everyone around her to take care of her. Ev is deeply depressed after leaving the Woodlands. All she can think about is wanting to return “home.” I understand, and believe me, I sympathize. But for all that she spent so many years in the other world, she has got to me one of the most self-absorbed people I’ve read about in a long time. She never once thinks about her family and what they must have gone through when she was gone and what they must be feeling when she gets back. It was, I admit, pretty on par for a kid her age, but she keeps saying that she’s not a kid anymore. Sorry, honey, but I disagree.

Philippa is just as irritating. Her sister goes missing, and all she can do is find reasons to fight with her parents and get a new boyfriend. She has to know, deep down, what happened to her sister. But she’s so busy doing, um, stuff, that she can’t track her down for months. Meanwhile, she’s also too busy to think about her parents and her brother. Jamie was the character I felt sorriest for. He has also been through the wars – literally – and gets completely forgotten when they get back to this world.

Verdict:

I know that this book is really supposed to be about what happened after the children came back from Narnia. I don’t know, however, if Narnia fans are likely to love this book or hate it. I wanted to DNF several times, but for some reason I finished it and I don’t think it was worth it.

 

Read These Soon!

I mentioned a little while back that I’ve started a new shelf on Good Reads called “Read Soon.” My TBR is so long — just under 2000 books – that the onces I’m most excited about get lost in there and my memory is so bad I can’t remember the titles when I’m at the library or bookstore. Today I thought I would share what’s on this shelf.

A Black So Black by LL McKinney.  A new YA take on the Alice in Wonderland story with a fierce Black protagonist. Found it on Good Reads. Need to buy.

Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier, Grim & Blackstone book 3. I’m loving this Adult Fantasy series with a super slow burn romance and a hero to die for. Owned in print.

The Dry by Jane Harper. Mystery set in Australia. So much buzz for this one, but I haven’t gotten a copy yet.

Early Riser by Jasper Fforde. Brand new book (Stand alone? New series?) by a favorite author. Might do audio on this one.

The Lord of Opium by Nancy Farmer. OK, this one is a little embarrassing. I’ve owned it on Kindle forever, but I still haven’t read it! It’s a sequel to House of the Scorpion. Children’s/YA dystopian fiction.

Let me know in the comments what books are on your list to read soon or if you’ve read any of these and what you thought.

 

 

 

Double Book Signing!

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I had a great time last week at a double book launch! Charlie N. Holmberg is the author of the Paper Magician series and other books, including The Fifth Doll, which I did a giveaway of last year. Tricia Levenseller is the author of the duology Daughter of a Pirate King and Daughter of a Siren Queen. Both are local authors here in Utah and I was really excited to go and find out about their new books.

Charlie’s new book is called Smoke & Summons and it’s the start of a brand new series. I got the Netgalley copy of it but I’m ashamed to say I haven’t started it yet. But it sounds really good. Here’s the description:


A captivating world of monsters and magic from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician Series.

As a human vessel for an ancient spirit, Sandis lives no ordinary life. At the command of her master, she can be transformed against her will into his weapon—a raging monster summoned to do his bidding. Unlike other vessels, Sandis can host extremely powerful spirits, but hosting such creatures can be fatal. To stay alive, she must run. And in a city fueled by smoke and corruption, she finds a surprising ally.

A cunning thief for hire, Rone owns a rare device that grants him immortality for one minute every day—a unique advantage that will come in handy in Sandis’s fight for freedom. But Sandis’s master knows how powerful she is. He’s determined to get her back, and he has the manpower to find her, wherever she runs.

Now, to outwit her pursuers, Sandis must put all her trust in Rone and his immortal device. For her master has summoned more than mere men to hunt her down…


Tricia’s new book is called Warrior of the Wild. I got it at the book launch and finished it in about 2 hours! I think I liked her pirate series better, but this one was really original. Less romance in this one and more nasty monsters. Here’s the book description:

How do you kill a god?

As her father’s chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: to win back her honour, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year or die trying. 


I will be back with a complete review of that one and maybe a little more about the book launch. It was a lot of fun, and I even won a free book in a trivia contest.

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It sounded really good, but then when I got home I read the reviews and now I’m not so sure I’ll enjoy it. I think I’ll give it a try and if it doesn’t work for me, maybe I’ll do another giveaway!

 

Top 10 Tuesday

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I don’t do memes very much, but I’d like to get into them as I think I might get more readers over here. This week’s them is Favorite Couples in Books. It’s hosted by That Arty Girl. Although it isn’t specified, for this list I’m going with couples in the romantic sense. These are in no particular order.

Princess Sarene and Prince Raoden, Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

elantris What happens to a society when their gods become monsters? 

I love the slow way that this romance develops. They become allies first, then friends, then more. Individually they are such strong, caring people, but as a couple they are so much more powerful. Knowing he is cursed, Raoden wants to hold back from loving her and revealing his identity, but Sarene just won’t give up. And I love Raoden’s determination to find a way to live instead of just existing. This book is a stand alone, (except for a short story), so if you’ve been wanting to try Sanderson’s writing, this is a good place to start.

Steris Harms and Lord Waxilium Ladrian, Mistborn Adventures, by Brandon Sanderson

24357485 I swear I do read other authors besides Sanderson! But this couple just grew on me so much. It’s meant to be a political match. He’s got the money; she’s got the influence. But they grow on you! I felt like I just didn’t get Steris at first. I kept expecting they would split up. But Sanderson does the unexpected, and instead of putting them with someone more suitable, he revealed the way they really were meant for each other. Steris grows so much over the series that you almost can’t believe she’s the same woman! I love her so much. And Wax learns to let go of his guilt and betrayal over his first wife’s death and realize that he can’t picture life without Steris. It’s just so perfect! Hard ship, right here.

 

Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase, Percy Jackson series, by Rick Riordan

Going in a totally different direction here, but I mean, come on, you can’t  help loving these two. Percy is a little slower to get there, but when he does, he is 100% on Annabeth’s side. They went through Hell for each other, literally, and if every a young couple deserved a chance to settle down and build a new life, it is these two. All the hearts.

Sir Percy Blakeney and Marguerite St. Just, The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy

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So swoon-worthy! I love the book and the movie version of this couple. Marguerite is passionate and fiery, Percy is daring and brave, and they have to overcome all these obstacles to find true love! The book and the movie have different ending, but each one has Percy rescuing Marguerite from the French Revolution. And they both look fabulous the whole time!

Annis Wychwood and Oliver Carleton, Lady of Quality by Georgette Heyer

I had to put a book by Georgette Heyer in here, as she is my favorite romance writer of all time. Finally I chose these two. Annis lives in Regency Bath with a companion. As a lady in her late twenties, she’s obviously a spinster, doomed to a life as a single woman. (How times have changed!) Oliver is a gentleman with reputation as being rude and unconventional. It is, if not quite love at first sight, a definite attraction. They share the same sardonic sense of humor, and that’s kind of my thing, because anyone who makes me laugh has already stolen half my heart. These guys are made for each other.

Amaranthe Lokdon and Sicarius, Emperor’s Edge series by Lindsay Buroker

Trigger warning for attempted sexual assault and torture.

She’s in the Imperial law force. He’s an assassin. She’s sent to bring him in. But it turns out, they both want the same thing – to protect the Emperor. This is definitely a slow burn. Sicarius has a really dark past and he’s very slow to trust. But Amaranthe just won’t give up on him.  I love this series, and it needs more love. If you like found family stories, with lots of humor and plenty of heist action (plus a little steampunk-y goodness), you should totally check it out.

The Entire Cast of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

OMG OMG OMG. I loved these ships so damn much. Wylan and Jesper, Nina and Matthias (my heart!), and especially Kaz and Inej. What makes these work is that each of them is broken in their own way, but they become someone better when they’re together. I don’t need to elaborate too much on this one, because so many people have read these books. If you have, then you know what I mean! Love these guys.

Scarlet Benoit and Wolf Kesley, the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

This one was hard, because I also love Thorn and Cressida, but I think Scarlet and Wolf are a teeny bit better. Scarlet is so feisty and so protective of her family. Once she decides that Wolf is part of her family, they become an unbeatable team. And poor Wolf – he’s been through so much, never dared to hope for anything better. Once he finds it though, he would do anything for Scarlet.

Capt. Cordelia Naismith and Admiral Adal Vorkosigan, Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold

Trigger warning for attempted sexual assault.

Cordelia, you badass. They are both amazing characters, but I love that Bujold really gives Cordelia a chance to shine. They’re not a traditional couple – she’s a career officer and he’s the Butcher of Barrayar. But once they decide they love each other, Cordelia especially will let nothing stand in her way of getting a life with the man she loves. Sure, there’s some fun sci-fi stuff in here, but it’s this relationship that makes the book worth reading.

Sarah Agnes Prine and Captain Jack Elliott, These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

Trigger warning for sexual assault, death of a child

It’s been a while since I’ve read this one, but they were so amazing that I have to give them some space here. Sarah and her family are on their way to new home when their wagon train is attacked by Indians and her father is killed. This is not a spoiler, it’s literally in chapter one. That’s your warning right there that this book is not going to be an easy ride. Stuff happens, and it’s hard reading sometimes. What makes it worth it is watching the relationship grow between Sarah and Captain Jack. It was so sweet and tender, and  he was so patient and kind. I just love this series so, so much.



So what do you think? Do we share any favorites? Who’s on your list? Let me know in the comments.

Quick Reviews

I’m in the middle of making dinner, but I have a few minutes to check in with you all. I thought I would add some mini reviews here.

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Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean

Written by a former WWII sailor, this one has a group of British secret service agents fly into Switzerland disguised as Alpenkorps soldiers and infiltrate a Nazi stronghold. This is a reread and while it was fun, I think this time around I was really struck by how theatrical it all was. Not surprising, since this was written for a movie coming out starring the author’s friend, Richard Burton. Very macho (read: sexist) stuff, but very suspenseful. Not worth another reread but it was fun.

 

sto The Storyspinner (Keeper’s Chronicles #1) by Becky Wallace

“Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.”

This one has a complex plot that’s tough to summarize, but I really enjoyed the characters and the story in this one. First in a duology, and I can’t wait to read the sequel. It ends on a cliffhanger, so if you pick it up, be prepared with book 2. This is a YA book but I think it would be fun for younger and older readers as well.

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Glimpse by Jonathan Maberry

A stand alone horror. Rain, a former junkie now 3 years sober, puts on a borrowed pair of glasses and catches a glimpse of a young boy. Or did she? She becomes haunted by shadowy images, all revolving around her image of the son she gave up for adoption 10 years ago. Time is running out if she wants to find her way to him and save him from the horrible monsters that want to destroy him. I couldn’t help comparing this one to NOS4A2 by Joe Hill which I read recently. I liked this one so much better.  There was plenty of menace but not as much gore. The threat is implied rather than described, and all the more compelling.