Hey all! It’s been awhile since I did a feature of books I have received via the mail, work, and through trades. This week I received such a great mix of books for review and to add to my collection that I just had to share!
Today I’m participating in something special, a blog tour that pairs several authors with their new books and specially chosen teas that match some aspect of the books being featured. I may not be much of a tea drinker but this sounded like so much fun, I had to participate!
I was paired up with Meg Eden, the author of Post High-School Reality Quest, which is a very interesting piece that explores being a nerdy girl written in the style of a text adventure game.
Here’s what Meg had to say about her tea and her book! And don’t forget to check out the other participants in the tour (links below) and the giveaway where you can win some of the teas and books from the tour!!
Two days ago, I saw a tweet from the Book Smugglers about the release of their first title in the Novella Initiate, Keeper of the Dawn by Dianna Gunn. They sent me an epub to read (which in no way affects the honesty of this review), and I found myself wanting to devour it without stop once I got started. Unfortunately, that was late at night after a long day, so my eyes kept closing and I had to stop about 2/3 in. But I picked it up again this morning!
This was a fantastic, short read! It was almost perfect; I just wanted more world building. But that’s a problem I have with any short fiction pieces. I always find myself wanting more.
What I did get was great characters and a plot that spoke to me on a deeper level. It was something I needed right now when my life is mental turmoil. The whole story is based on being able to achieve your dreams and goals, but you may not make it there the way you thought you would. It was very uplifting to read a story where the protagonist just follows down the path that was chosen for them because of a prophecy or fate. Lai knows what she wants, her path is littered with affirmations that she’ll get it, but then she fails and has to readjust.
Along the way, she discovers more about herself and the world she lives in. We also get a beautifully told female/female relationship that doesn’t feel forced, nor is it just there. It provides support and stability for Lai when the rest of her life is in turmoil.
Since this is a novella, I don’t want to give away too much, so I’ll stop here. But know that I loved this piece, and can’t wait to see what else the Novella Initiate has to offer us.
Sometimes failure is just the beginning
All Lai has ever wanted is to become a priestess, like her mother and grandmother before her, in service to their beloved goddess. That’s before the unthinkable happens, and Lai fails the trials she has trained for her entire life. She makes the only choice she believes she can: she runs away.
From her isolated desert homeland, Lai rides north to the colder, stranger kingdom of Alanum—a land where magic, and female warriors, are not commonplace.
Here, she hears tales about a mountain city of women guardians and steel forgers, worshiping goddesses who sound very similar to Lai’s own. Determined to learn more about these women, these Keepers of the Dawn, Lai travels onward to find their temple. She is determined to make up for her past failure, and will do whatever it takes to join their sacred order.
Falling in love with another initiate was not part of the plan.
Keeper of the Dawn is a tale of new beginnings, second chances, and the endurance of hope.
Dr. Eliza Jekyll must turn to her dark side, Miss Lizzie Hyde, to stop a madman targeting London’s most important scientists and sorcerers terrorizing the city with dark magic in this third Electric Empire novel—a dazzlingly original steampunk fantasy set in the gritty world of alternate Victorian London, with echoes of H G. Wells classic, The Time Machine
Being two people in one body isn’t easy. Metropolitan Police crime scene physician Eliza Jekyll is trying to maintain a semblance of control, even as her rebellious second self, Lizzie, grows increasingly wild—threatening the respectable Eliza’s reputation and her marriage to Remy Lafayette, the Royal Society investigator and occasional lycanthrope. With England on the brink of war, Remy’s away in sorcery-riddled Paris on a secretive mission that grows ever more sinister. Has he been an enemy agent all along? Or is coping with Eliza’s secret divided self finally driving her mad?
Eliza needs her mind clear and sharp if she’s to catch an evil genius who is killing eminent scientists. The chase uncovers a murky world of forbidden books, secret laboratories, and a cabal of fanatical inventors whose work could change the world—or destroy it—and who may hold answers to Eliza’s past.
As sorcery-wielding terrorists attack London, Eliza discovers her own enemies are closing in, driving her to desperate measures—enlisting the aid of the wily, resourceful, mercurial Lizzie—to thwart the killer. But Lizzie’s got her own life now, and true to her nature, will resort to the devious and diabolical to keep it. Even if it means throwing Eliza to the wolves, and letting the world burn. . .
Hardcover, 376 pages
DREAM MAGIC, A SHADOW MAGIC NOVEL
by Joshua Khan
Disney-Hyperion | On Sale April 11, 2017
Hardcover ISBN: 9781484737620 | $16.99 | $17.99 Can. | 352 pages | Ages 8-12
Ebook ISBN: 9781368002462
Even though I loved Shadow Magic and was intrigued by this cover, my fear of spiders almost stopped me from reading this amazing story. But I’m glad I chanced the nightmares, which I didn’t have thankfully, because this book was just as good as the first one. The crystalline spiders were indeed quite creepy, but they totally fit with the story and I loved that they were so integral to the plot as they added a sense of urgency to the characters. I liked them so much that I drew up some of my own to share 🙂
I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.
But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.
Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…
I just finished reading Silence Fallen, which is book 10 in the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. The series is adult urban fantasy and features shapeshifters, werewolves, vampires, and fae in the Northwestern states. I can’t remember when I first started reading it, maybe around book 4 or 5? But I have been impatiently waiting for each new addition ever since. Since some of you may not know this series, I decided not to review book 10 on its own, but to give you some overall insight into the full series. You know, to get you hooked!
Here are my top 5 reasons to pick up this series and never put it down!
- Quick reads due to fluid writing
- Each book stays around 300 pages and avoids purple prose
- Seems like once I start a book, I find myself only setting it down to use the toilet or sleep
- Fantastic characters
- Mercy is the driving story, so she gets her own numbered reason
- Adam, werewolf alpha that also has a sensitive and fun side
- Coyote, a Trickster that makes the occasional appearance
- Even the side characters that appear briefly get nuance built into them
- Cover art
- Dan Dos Santos is a genius of his craft, and these covers are all splendid
- Details match the interior story without spoilers
- Main character growth and maturity
- Unlike some series where the main character becomes invincible quickly, I don’t see Mercy having that problem
- Every experience (plot) has a profound and noticeable effect on the heroine
- Mercy has flaws, redemptive qualities, and as much personality as a human
- Mercy makes mistakes and learns from them
- Fantastic beasts and monsters
- Besides the big bads of werewolf, vampire, witch, and fae, we are introduced to other creatures from folklore
- No big bad is limited by the archetype (ie. Stefan the vampire loves Scooby-Doo)
- Monsters are not just good or evil, they exist on a spectrum
Hopefully, this gives you enough knowledge to get a sense of Mercy’s world without spoiling any of the major character developments or plotlines. If you’ve already read this series, please share why you liked or disliked it! Did I miss something important for this list?