Top 10 Tuesday

TTT-NEW

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

pimpernel (0743)

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.

Advertisements

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.

148337

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.

gli

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.

 

What are you reading – June 2018

One of the things I’m excited about with this trip is reading! I know, I do that anyway, but what can I say? I’m a serious bibliophile! I need my fix! Here’s what I’m reading right now. 📚

Arcanum Unbounded by Brandon Sanderson. This is a collection of his shorter works related to the Cosmere. Some of them I have read before, but I just finished a longer story about Kelsier from Mistborn which made me even more excited to re-read that with by book club later this year.

Zero Limit by Jeremy K Brown. I found this one through Kindle Unlimited. It’s a sci fi set on the moon.

Academ’s Fury by Jim Butcher. This one I got as a digital audio book from the library, but my loan expired, so I have to put it on hold until I get another copy. Enjoyable magic based story.

Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman. Creepy supernatural mystery about a woman whose husband buried her alive. Great premise, but I’m having trouble sticking with it.

That’s all for me. Too many at once really, but that’s how I roll. What are you reading?

The Archimage’s Fourth Daughter: A Review

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions remain my own.

36353709

The Archimage’s Fourth Daughter by Lyndon Hardy, Magics # 4

Excerpt:

Alodar placed his hands on Briana’s shoulders, paused for a moment more, and then said softly, “The answer is no.”

“You can’t do that!” Briana yelled back. “Even the Archimage has limits to his power. You admitted as much yourself. You cannot order me around like some serf of an Arcadian lord.”

“I do not order you to stay because I am the Archimage,” Alodar said. “I do so because I am your father.”

Briana felt the anger well within her like a brush fire suddenly out of control. She clinched her teeth so as not to say more. The library page had a key to this council chamber, she thought fiercely. It might take more than a single kiss to get it, but that is what she would have to do.

Brief book description:

A group of residents from a magical world have found a way to pass into another realm, but then lost contact. The archimage and his council need to find out what happened. They plan to send someone to find out, but his youngest daughter instead journeys there to discover a new world without magic. Instead the residents use technology. Briana has to find these offworlders and find out what they’re up to. Then she has to find a way to keep them from destroying her world.


Y’all. This book. I don’t even know where to start.

Let me start with the good: The part I really liked was when Briana came through to the “new world,” which was of course, modern Earth. Briana is has grown up in a medieval male-dominated style world, living a sheltered and privileged life due to her father’s status. She has servants, she has magic, and she has money.

When she gets to Earth, she has none of that. Instead she winds up living on the streets and in shelters at first, because she doesn’t understand how money works, she has no documents, and knows no one. She’s befriended by a homeless man named Eddie who takes her under his wing and shows her how to survive. Before long, she’s finds a place where she can wait tables and earn a little cash while she tries to figure out her next move. This was definitely the best part of the book. Not only was her struggle real, but it gave the author a way to discuss some modern day social issues, like the problem of homelessness, the divide between rich and poor, and problems with unjustified police engagement. I think this could have been taken even further, and really would have made a great book just by itself.

But it wasn’t the main part of the book. We then get into these bad guys. Who are they? Why have they been on earth so long and what is their problem? I don’t really know. They were just really unpleasant. I had a hard time seeing them as much of a threat. They never come above ground! How much damage can they do? And I’m not exactly sure what they looked like. The writer said they had tusks or something, they weren’t human. I’m not sure Briana was either, but she passed as human. I didn’t really get it. How had these dudes managed to survive for a hundred years, living underground with their weird wasp things?

Briana finally meets some humans who can help her with her quest, which I had almost forgotten by this point of the book, and that brings up the next set of problems I had with the book. Briana. I just didn’t like the girl. When she was lost on a new planet, I felt sorry for her. I could only imagine how disorienting that must be. But for someone who’s supposed to be smart, she sure took a long time figuring stuff out. She’s so stuck in her old world way of thinking, that she can’t tell when a man is hitting on her.

She chats up a guy because well, plot, and the next thing you know, she’s invited herself to move in with him. He’s kind of a creep, so he thinks, “Hey, hot girl I barely know, sure you can move it with me if you move into my bed.” Like she’s JUST introduced herself and he’s already trying to get her clothes off. But honestly, what would most guys think? This strange girl wants to move in with you? Slow down!

So sure, he’s a creep. But then she is all offended that he expects sex. She just wanted to move in with him and have him drive her places and buy her food. In return for what? Does she help with school work or house work? No. This other random dude who moves in too does that. She accuses him of using her, but he’s just there to solve her problems.

I really lost interest in the second half of this book. The plot sort of limps along and the bad guys are bad and we get an epic battle at the end, but it wasn’t worth it. I was really disappointed. This is book 4 in a series, but the series has been on hiatus for a long time, and I was assured I could jump in at this point, so I didn’t read the previous book. It might have made a difference to me, but I just can’t imagine that I’d want to go back and read them now. If you are into magic-based fantasy, I would say don’t start with this one. Try his first book, Master of the Five Magics, which I guess is about Briana’s father. But I’m moving on.

The Wandering Land: A Review

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions remain my own.

40003673 The Wandering Land by Jamie Killen

Book Description:

The Maze House. The Fox Woman’s Garden. The Caverns of the Queen. These are the things that await you in the wandering land. 

On a summer night in a sunbaked desert city, the wandering land appears. A fairytale village nestled in dense forest, it is a place of ruined castles, abandoned treasures, and strange creatures living in the shadows. Brought together by this impossible place are five visitors: failed painter Eli; art professor Amal; young lovers Darcy and Wes; and mysterious, haunted Coyote. Together they explore their own secret village, an entire world hidden in plain sight. 

But there is darkness beneath the magic, a force pulling the visitors deeper and deeper into the place’s mysteries. As the boundaries between the secret land and the outside world begin to collapse, each of the visitors is confronted with visions of an otherworldly child, a child whose existence holds the key to understanding everything about the place that has drawn them together. 

Who is this child? Why did she choose them? And will she ever let them go?

I love a good, creepy story. My idea of great horror is something that takes the familiar and makes it slightly but definitely other, then taking the story and letting the otherness grow until the whole story is just horrifying. It doesn’t even have to have supernatural stuff in it – a creepy, suspenseful story is always immensely satisfying. One example would be We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I loved the book description on The Wandering Land, and I was really hoping the story was just as good.

I was right. Killen delivers a very satisfying story with a truly creepy payoff. The story starts with five different people who all discover a way into a hidden world. Each of the five is creative in a different way – an artist, a writer, a cartoonist, an editor, and a musician – and they discover that through their art they can create new and sometimes unsettling changes to this hidden world.

As they redesign the world, they are given tasks to complete, all at the direction of a hidden queen. The further they progress in their tasks, the more the world begins taking hold of their every day life as well. Soon it becomes almost impossible to separate the two. They have to dive deep to uncover the history of this wandering land if they are all going to be able to free themselves from its spell.

There was so much to enjoy about this book. First, I loved the concept of a hidden world that chooses its new residents. It’s set in Tuscon, and I think that’s a great place to imagine a portal to a hidden world. The desert is definitely a landscape where you feel like anything could happen.

But my favorite part of this book was the characters. While the story was great, well-imagined and original, the characters were the part that really made this story shine for me. I loved that the author was able to get such diverse group of characters  without making it seem like she was just checking off boxes for the sake of diversity. Lovers Darcy and Wes work together on a comic, but they have to work hard to overcome the differences in their upbringing. Eli has a family to support but he can’t help feeling this connection to the wandering land that threatens to overshadow his responsibilities. Amal is a professor who has just moved in with her girlfriend. And Coyote has no family, only one friend, and lives only for her music. Each character has a compelling back story and a unique voice.

In short, I’m really glad I had a chance to read this one. I haven’t read any other books from this author, but I would definitely recommend this one.

 

A few reviews

I’m playing catch up with my reviews so I’m going to do a few today.

Let’s start with the one I didn’t like so I can finish strong. The Shadow Rises by K S Marden, Witch Hunters book 1. Witch hunters and witches and inherited powers. A little confused with poorly developed characters. DNF. Not much to say but at least it was free.

——————-

Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott, Sam Capra book 1

Sam works for the CIA. His wife is expecting their first baby. She also works for the Company. One day Sam goes to work and receives a call to from her to come outside right this second. As soon as he does a bomb goes off in the building and she disappears.

Sam is now the only survivor and the chief suspect. He only wants to escape custody and find his wife and baby. To do that he has to make some new allies and go on the run.

I love a good thriller and this one sounded really exciting. It has a great premise, as who doesn’t identify with wanting to find your family and keep them safe? The bad guys were pretty bad,the pace was goos. But the writing kept me from giving it more than 3.5 stars. Also I don’t enjoy political thrillers as much, so it wasn’t quite what I expected.


 

Goldmayne by Kate Stradling

Duncan escapes an abusive father to wind up servant to a witch. There he meets a talking 🐎 who helps him escape. They set off for a neighboring country and find work at the castle.

This was a fairy tale retelling of two French stories, Scurvyhead and Goldmayne. I was unfamiliar with either story, so I couldn’t tell at first how it was going to end. It has a happy ending, of course, and the hero gets the girl. Fun stuffstuff. This one is on Kindle Unlimited or it’s only $1.

——————-

Finally my favorite of the bunch, Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

“Far from city politics in the Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans’ most savage enemy – the Marat – return to the Valley, he will discover that his destiny is much greater than he could ever imagine.” Caught in a storm of deadly wind furies, Tavi saves the life of a runaway slave named Amara. But she is actually a spy for Gaius Sextus, sent to the Valley to gather intelligence on traitors to the Crown, who may be in league with the barbaric Marat horde. And when the Valley erupts in chaos – when rebels war with loyalists and furies clash with furies – Amara will find Tavi’s courage and resourcefulness to be a power greater than any fury – one that could turn the tides of war.

I actually liked this better than the Dresden Files. I liked Tavi and Amara better than I like Harry Dresden. It still has some problems, mainly a hyper sexualized female villain (her character does get explained though), but I thought it was a lot of fun. Looking forward to the next book.I

 

Hope this have you done ideas for your next read. See you later!

 

Pirates AND Dragons!

518Fp82k6aL._AC_US218_

Are you looking for a great escape read? After watching Marvel’s The Avengers: Infinity War – no spoilers, I promise! – I *really* needed something light and happy. What could be better than a fantasy story with a love triangle, pirates, and a little dragon? How about a kick-ass heroine who gets in there and mixes it up? And how about doing it all for less than a dollar?

The book is Moss Forest Orchid, book 1 in the Silver & Orchids series by one of my favorite fairy tale writers, Shari L. Tapscott. I’ve talked about Shari’s books before on here, so you know that I love them, but these books are not based on a fairy tale. They are entirely new.

Lucia is from a family of chicken farmers, looking for a way into a better life. She teams up with best friend (and grandson of the local lord) Sebastian and sets up as adventurers. Unfortunately, she invests all their earnings with a man who turns out to be a con artist, and the two have nothing to show for all their hard work. Then they hear about a new job – bringing back a cutting of a rare flower, an orchid that only grows in a distant and dangerous swamp. The pay would be enough for Lucia to pay back Sebastian and make a new start.

There’s only a few problems with this plan. First, Lucia and Sebastian can hardly talk to each other without fighting, so teaming up is going to be rough. And second, there’s this distracting (and sexy) pirate captain who keeping turning up. Finally, Lucia has hm, acquired a dragon egg, which is going to be trouble. The whole thing is a bit of a mess. But hey, pirates are good!

I loved this one so much that the love triangle didn’t even phase me. Normally I avoid those books, but this one was just done right. I was really deceived by the first book, but as soon as I finished, I downloaded book 2, Greybrow Serpent, and completely switched my ship! The first book is available on Amazon right now for only $1 so you have no reason not to check it out. Love, love this series!

 

 

Blog Tour: Q & A

38363145 Hey bookies! Yesterday I had a review of Happily by Chauncey Rogers. Well, I’m back today with a Q & A with one of the main character, Luc! This interview with our happy-go-lucky merchant takes place before events in the book really get started, so there’s no spoilers!

What brings you to the capital?
Work! I’ve heard that this is the best place to sell fine cloth, and I come with nothing but the very finest. I’m hoping to establish myself in the royal market.

Is this your first time in the capital?
It is. It matches my mother’s description very well—as beautiful as she said it would be, if not more so. You really are fortunate here in Écarlate.

How long have you been trading?
A while, but to be honest, this is my first time really trading. Before it was just bartering. My family had quite a few nice things, once upon a time. Most of it’s gone now, traded away for things that we needed. But you do what you have to do, and life goes on, I suppose.

So, do you have a girlfriend? What do you look for in a girl?
No, no girlfriend. I mean, I have some friends who are girls, but it’s been a while since I’ve spent time with any of them. But if I were choosing a wife… I think I’d look for someone who could work hard. It takes a lot of work to build a future for a family. I’d want someone who I could work beside. The work has to be done anyways, so I guess you might as well do it in good company.

Tell me more about yourself. How would you describe yourself?
Hmmm… I’m not sure. I’m me? Haha. Uh, let’s see…. I’m a morning person. I like going to bed feeling like I got a lot done that day. I like planning, I suppose—thinking things through. I like to watch the stars come out, and just think. I don’t like fish very much? Haha, yeah, I guess I really don’t know what to say.

What are your long-term plans?
Well, I’ve got to get up this hill for starters, but that’s definitely short term. I have enough cloth in here, though, that if I get it all sold I’d be well set for a long while. I think then I’d be going out to restock at even lower prices—maybe travel closer to the sources, but perhaps get a horse so I can give my back a break from pulling this cart around myself. But if you mean really long term, I don’t know for sure. I just want peace and prosperity, really.

Thanks for dropping in and reading this Q&A with Luc. It’s been a while since I finished writing Happily, so it was fun to drop back into Luc’s head and think about things from his perspective for a little bit.

Luc’s positive nature and work ethic are endearing to some, and a bit annoying to others. How do you feel about it? Would you want to spend a week at a job with Luc? Let us know in the comments!

Day 7 of 13 of Happily’s Release Blog Tour. Seethe full schedule here.

Happily on GoodReads
Purchase Happily on Amazon!

Catch more of the blog tour here:

Blog Tour Schedule - Optional.jpg

And this tour is courtesy of R & R book tours.

r & r

2 Faery Tales

foggy-mist-forest-trees-42263.jpeg

I love some good fantasy involving the fae. I like fluffy happy fairy tales too, but sometimes I like the darker tales, the ones that remind you that those Fair Folk can be spooky and otherworldly beings as well as beautiful and kind. I just read two fae books in a row, and while neither was as good as I hoped, one was better than the other one. Neither of these were specifically YA books, but either one could be read by any age.

I’ll start with the one I am recommending (with reservations).

25761086

The Masked City by Genevieve Cogmon
Invisible Library book 2

I read the first one in this series, The Invisible Library, last month I believe and I thought it was quite fun. In that one, Junior Librarian Irene is given a new apprentice and sent into a world to retrieve a rare book. When she is there, she discovers that the fae are rather powerful in that world, which also has some steampunk aspects, and narrowly escapes being murdered by the one person to escape the Library oaths.

This book starts a little while after that one. Slight spoiler: she is assigned to remain on that world with. Her assistant Kai, who has secrets I won’t spoil, but trust me they’re big, gets kidnapped in this one and taken to an alternate Venice entirely ruled by the fae. Irene has to get him back before war breaks out. More noticeable plotholes than the first book, but more dragons, so it sort of events out. Irene is still awesome, but too impulsive. I liked the Train. If you’re looking for a fun series that sort of bridges the YA/adult gap, this one would be a good place to start. Right now this series is four books long, but it sounds like the author has even more planned, so this is a good one to check out if you want something you can really enjoy.

23500493

A Fairy Tale by Shanna Swendson book 1

This one was not as good as the previous book. You might know this author from her Rebel Mechanics or Enchanted, Inc series. This one was at the library so I thought I would give it a try. Emily gets kidnapped by the fae – there’s a lot of that going around – and big sister Sophie wants to get her back. Lots of faery politics, some romantic tension, and a bulldog. Not a lot to this book, and Sophie really takes her time, but I liked the picture of the fae world and I liked Emily. I didn’t like that it took Sophie so long to figure things out. Probably won’t read more in this series.

So that’s it for today. Also, I’m thinking of starting a BookTube channel. Let me know in the comments if you would watch and what you’d like to see from me if I do. Happy reading!

Muirwood – a Review

The Wretched of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler*

I have read Wheelers other series and enjoyed it, but I didn’t know much about these. When I saw the set at the thrift store I decided to snag all three. Later I read the rather tepid reviews. Readers described them as a rather predictable story of a Pig-Girl who saved the Kingdom, but I was kind of in the mood for safe and predictable, so I have it a try.

Lia is a Wretched, which is sort of like a foundling, except it’s an actual class in her world. One day a stranger arrives with an injured boy and asks her to hide him. She does. Turns out that he’s a knight in training and the evil Sheriff of Nottingham or so edging is looking for him. Meanwhile, Lia can do magic and stuff so she goes on this quest with him and fulfills her destiny and all that.

It was pretty unexceptional, but okay enough. Now I have two more books that I suppose I’ll read to see if it gets any better. We have yet to meet the Dude Who Wants to be King, but I guess he’s cooler than the actual 👑, so maybe that will be fun. IDK. I’m hiding from some real life worries in these books and I’m not up to any Serious Topics right now.

Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend them unless you were under 14. For everyone else, you’ve read this story before and seen it done better