Book Review: The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst

The Queen of Blood  (The Queens of Renthia, #1)

Hardcover, 353 pages
Published September 20th 2016 by Harper Voyager
 I was consumed by this book!  I loved every second of it, and it was exactly what I needed in my life right now.  Unfortunately, it took me forever to write this review because I couldn’t sort out my feelings into coherent words.  Here’s my attempt at sharing what I felt while reading this amazing book!  Word of caution: there are probably small spoilers throughout.

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Throwback Thursday: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)

415 pages
Published January 5th 2016 by Tor Teen
Finished reading the lovely Truthwitch yesterday, and I’m sad it took me so long to get around to reading it.  Especially since I met the author twice (once at BookCon 2016 and on her recent Windwitch tour) before getting past chapter two.
I’m very glad that I took advantage of those opportunities though because I really liked this book and these characters.  It’s hard to describe the actual story because the book focused a lot on world building and characterization.  Normally, this would be a detriment to the plot, but I think we were given enough story that it worked.  This is definitely not your basic action plot.  There’s a lot of thought given to relationships, emotions, and internal reasoning.
I’ve already gotten several people hooked on the idea of reading this book, and I’m glad book two is out already.  Even if I do have to wait until I get some other books read for reviews 🙂
PS I was inspired by the descriptions of the taro cards mentioned and have started working on designing some fan art.  Can’t wait to share it with you!

Summary:

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery,” a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Book Review: Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff

Maresi (The Red Abbey Chronicles #1)

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 3rd 2017 by Amulet Books
 I knew nothing about this book before I traded for it through #booksfortrade, but it looked interesting and was a newly translated release.  I actually got it read this past weekend when a cold decided to take up residence within my skull.  I couldn’t sleep and had watched too much TV by Sunday afternoon, so I picked up the closest book to my reading nook, which happened to be this title.  I wasn’t intending to just pick it up and read.  Normally, I select several and kind of read the back cover and beginning chapter or pages until something drags me between the pages and I forget to come out again.
Let’s just say, this book led me away like a siren, and me the foolish pirate who didn’t even notice she was drowning.  Luckily, that was a good thing here!
I devoured this book very quickly that afternoon due to a couple of things.  First, the story’s pacing was great plus the translation wasn’t rigid.  It was so fluid that I didn’t realize it was a translation until I did some research for this review.  The other reason was page length.  This book did not include superfluous pages.  The world building, characterization, and story were all given plenty of room to build and grow.
Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)
I did find myself comparing Maresi to Robin LaFevers’ Grave Mercy due to the similarities of girl goes to secluded place of full of only women following ancient traditions.  But then this story branches off and explores different themes than Grave Mercy.  So, it doesn’t feel like I’ve read the same story twice.
My last comment on this fun and fantastic book, is that I appreciated that these abused, disadvantaged girls weren’t all put there after being raped.  Rape is talked about, but the main character was not abused by her family or any other man.  That might be because the audience is more focused on middle grade than teen, but it was a relief nonetheless.
I recommend anyone looking for a good, fast read pick this up and share with friends!

Summary:

Only women and girls are allowed in the Red Abbey, a haven from abuse and oppression. Maresi, a thirteen-year-old novice there, arrived in the hunger winter and now lives a happy life in the Abbey, protected by the Mother and reveling in the vast library in the House of Knowledge, her favorite place. Into this idyllic existence comes Jai, a girl with a dark past. She has escaped her home after witnessing the killing of her beloved sister. Soon the dangers of the outside world follow Jai into the sacred space of the Abbey, and Maresi can no longer hide in books and words but must become one who acts.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Crystal Ribbon by Celeste Lim

The Crystal Ribbon

Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: January 31st 2017 by Scholastic Press
The cover for this book caught my eye.  It’s so pretty!  And the summary makes it sound like a fun little fairy tale set in medieval China.  Definitely on my 2017 TBR!

Summary:

In the village of Huanan, in medieval China, the deity that rules is the Great Huli Jing. Though twelve-year-old Li Jing’s name is a different character entirely from the Huli Jing, the sound is close enough to provide constant teasing-but maybe is also a source of greater destiny and power. Jing’s life isn’t easy. Her father is a poor tea farmer, and her family has come to the conclusion that in order for everyone to survive, Jing must be sacrificed for the common good. She is sold as a bride to the Koh family, where she will be the wife and nursemaid to their three-year-old son, Ju’nan. It’s not fair, and Jing feels this bitterly, especially when she is treated poorly by the Koh’s, and sold yet again into a worse situation that leads Jing to believe her only option is to run away, and find home again. With the help of a spider who weaves Jing a means to escape, and a nightingale who helps her find her way, Jing embarks on a quest back to Huanan–and to herself.

Top 10 Best Book Covers of 2016

Today’s Top 10 in 2016 topic is best book covers! “Best Book Covers of 2016 (MUST be a book released in 2016. Would be best if it’s a book you’ve READ in 2016, but it’s not required).”

Since yesterday’s post wasn’t a true top 10, today’s should make up for that 🙂  Here’s my favorite 2016 release book covers, most of which I was able to get read already!

The Transference Engine

I haven’t read this one yet, but look at that hummingbird!Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5)

So, I really like the covers for the whole Throne of Glass series, but I was at the reveal for this one, which makes it a little more special.A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1)

I actually like Breath of Fire‘s cover better, but it’s a 2017 release and this one is also really good.Heartless

The Owlcrate exclusive cover is simple yet has good composition.A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, #1)

I love the colors in this fiery rose!Shadow Magic  (Shadow Magic #1)

This cover gives such a fantastic intro to the actual story, plus who doesn’t love a giant bat.Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)

I haven’t read this one yet, but the cover is very alluring.The Sleeping Prince (The Sin Eater’s Daughter, #2)

I haven’t had a chance yet to read this one, but the cover is just as amazing as The Sin-Eater’s Daughter, which was a great read.Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson, #9)

I love every cover in the Mercy Thompson series, but this one was incredibly powerful and really stuck with me this year.Heroine Complex (Heroine Complex, #1)

I found this book because of the cover artist and everything about this cover is awesome, which makes it my ultimate favorite 2016 cover!  Look at those demon cupcakes!!

Author Interview and Giveaway: Joshua Khan

 Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my readers and other internet folk!

Here’s a special holiday treat for all of you.  I was able to send some interview questions to Joshua Khan, author of the 2016 debut Shadow Magic, which I reviewed earlier this year.  I loved everything about this book, so I knew that I had to let the author know and find out about a sequel.  Luckily for us, he was willing to answer my questions and now I’m sharing them with you.  And he has some juicy tidbits strewn throughout, so make sure you read through all of them!

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Book Review: Pop Manga Coloring Book: A Surreal Journey Through a Cute, Curious, Bizarre, and Beautiful World by Camilla d’Errico

Pop Manga Coloring Book: A Surreal Journey Through a Cute, Curious, Bizarre, and Beautiful World

Paperback, 80 pages
Published July 19th 2016 by Watson-Guptill
You may remember my review from earlier this year for Camilla’s Pop Manga drawing book, where I discusses my newfound love for her style and art.  Well, she came out with a coloring book!!!!  The lineart chosen for this book is fantastic.  Leagues above the general/pattern adult coloring books.  And the detail lines are fine enough that you can ignore some of them to make a simpler piece.

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