Book Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

An Enchantment of Ravens

Hardcover, 300 pages
Published September 26th 2017 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

I was so ready to love this book.  The cover is gorgeous, the reviews were fantastic, and I love so many other fairy-based stories.  Unfortunately, this was just felt meh.  I didn’t hate it, but I also didn’t feel compelled either.  Honestly, I couldn’t stop comparing it to some of my absolute favorite fae books and authors (i.e. Holly Black, Sarah Maas, and others).

 

I finished it and liked it.  The character connection just wasn’t there for me, and that’s usually what grabs me in a story.  I think this was a debut novel, maybe.  So I’m hoping to read more of her books in the future.

Summary:

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

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Book Review: Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett

Onyx and Ivory

Hardcover, 512 pages
Published May 15th 2018 by Balzer + Bray

This book made the last few workdays fly on by. I’ve enjoyed participating in the street team and am so glad that I picked up the audiobook as it is read by one of my favorite narrator, Kristine Hvam, who also did the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. Things I enjoyed most: character depth, elemental magic, horses!, friendship, slow-burn romance, and pacing. Things I didn’t like: give me a minute… um… yeah can’t really think of anything right now, so there you go.

Definitely check this one out! I felt like the author did a really good job wrapping up a lot of threads while leaving plotlines open for the sequel. And I can’t wait to read it 🙂

Summary:

They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.

The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.

Birthday Haul! 2018

Last week was my birthday, and I just want to share the lovely presents I received from friends and family 🙂

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I totally picked out everything in the above photo, but my lovely husband purchased it all for me as I couldn’t decide on what I wanted.  Both of these manga are amazing, and I can’t wait to start trying out some watercolor techniques.  Plus 3 new copic colors for those projects!

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My first ever OTSP Secret Sister sent me this lovely Tamora Pierce themed birthday package!  Lady Knight is full of her personal annotations, and I can’t wait to read what she thinks 🙂

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This is obviously not a book, but I was delighted when I found this pre-made ice cream cake with icing dragon at my local Dairy Queen when I went to pick one up for my birthday 🙂

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This is also not a book but a present to myself 🙂  This is a fun little dragon-fly with sunset moth patterning.  Jessica Douglas (one of my favorite artists) was asking for suggestions for warm up paintings in a live stream and since I was the first person to jump on, I was able to make this suggestion and watch her make it!!  I then purchased it because it is beautiful.  Thanks so much!

 

May 2018 New Releases

May is so full of wonderful book releases that I’m sure to have missed a couple!  But here’s all the ones on my list!  Let me know your favorites down below.  (PS this is my birthday month, so it feels like these are all presents just for me!)

 

A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3.1)Evangeline of the BayouThe Poppy WarThe Rose LegacyAcross the Dark Water (Riders of the Realm #1)The Queen UnderneathSpindrift and the OrchidThe Ghost, The OwlThe Queen of Sorrow (The Queens of Renthia #3)War Storm (Red Queen, #4)A Dark Descent (Ages of Oz)Onyx and IvoryWitchsign (Ashen Torment, #1)Furyborn (Empirium, #1)All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella’s StepmotherSpectacle Vol. 1The Ancient Magus' Bride Official Guide Book MerkmalLIFEL1K3 (Lifelike, #1)

Cover Comparisons: Flower Featured

I’ve done similar posts in the past that list similar covers based around a theme.  I don’t remember which blog was hosting that and haven’t seen it recently, so I thought I’d share a spring-related theme.  Covers that feature a flower or flowers.  So not just covers that have flowers on them, but the ones that are primarily covered in a flower or flowers.  This has been so much fun to search for, and I loved to see some of your flower covers in genres I haven’t covered or might have missed 🙂

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Ghost, The Owl by Franco

Image result for c2e2 ghost the owl

Hardcover, 53 pages
Expected publication: May 8th 2018 by Diamond Book Distributors
I was ridiculously happy to learn that one of my favorite artists, Sara Richard, had a comic/graphic novel coming out this year!  After hearing this exciting news, I found that NetGalley had digital arcs for people to review.  When I downloaded it the first time, I honestly just went through and looked at all the gorgeous art without “reading” the story.  Owls are a favorite for Sara Richard to make into art, and she’s gotten really good at them.  Ghosts also lend themselves well to her art nouveau styling, and the match makes this book absolutely fabulous!

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Throwback Thursday: Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones

Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle, #1)

Mass Market Paperback, Greenwillow Books, 329 pages
Published August 1st 2001 by Harper Trophy
Another book I’ve recently decided to re-read/listen as an audiobook at work was this classic, Howl’s Moving Castle.  I loved this as a young reader, and I think it has aged rather well.  I still love how the author subverted certain fantasy tropes by calling them out in the text.  And who doesn’t like the flame demon, Calcifer?  It does have some random loose threads that still bother me.  Like the missing prince, war that is only sorta mentioned as a plot device, and certain magic pieces being left unexplained.  But, it still holds the same charm and happiness that my memory has fed me all these years.  And because of that, I will continue to promote it to readers who haven’t had the pleasure yet.  Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Studio Ghibli re-imagining.  While it didn’t keep a lot of the plot points, and changed many others, it was a great story, and I re-watch it quite often.
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Summary:

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.