Book Review: Roar by Cora Carmack #RoarDay

Roar (Stormheart, #1)

Hardcover, 380 pages
Expected publication: June 13th 2017 (TODAY!!) by Tor Teen
Happy book birthday!  When I was selected to participate on the street team for Roar, I was so excited and ecstatic!  This book was already one of my most anticipated of the year, but then I had the opportunity to share it in even cooler ways with even more people 🙂  Which is why my social media has been littered with references and reminders lately.
This book was everything I wanted and more ❤  I love weather-related magic, and the storm magic in Roar fulfilled this need perfectly.  Cora beautifully describes a vast variety of storms, how they form, and how they affect the landscape and people living there.  It was amazing how the magic blended with the world and the characters.   I want to tell you all the things, but I’m worried I’ll spill all the fun and spread too many spoilers, so I’m going to share a few of my favorite quotes.  (Warning: these come from the arc and may have changed in the final version, but I love them all the same!)
She felt as if she had stepped into the pages of one of her books.
People are not recipes to be carefully measured and mixed together. Life is imprecise and messy.
There were a couple of small things that felt off within the narrative.  They aren’t terrible in any way, just something I noticed that felt like sharing.  If you are unfamiliar with Cora Carmack, you should know that she has written mostly romance stories until Roar.  You can definitely tell that she’s more adept at romantic writing instead of fantasy by the emphasis of details throughout the book.
There are multiple POV used, and sometimes it was hard to keep track of which characters knew the other characters’ motivations and who hadn’t put together all the clues yet.  Otherwise, the pacing was pretty good and the characters and magic system were so much fun to read!  I hope you check out all the fun stuff happening on social media this week, and don’t forget to enter the giveaways!!
7stormydays

Summary:

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

Manic Monday: Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)

Hardcover, 176 pages
Expected publication: June 13th 2017 by Tor.com
Last year, Seanan McGuire made a splash with Every Heart a Doorway, introducing a world that puzzles an answer to the questions, “What comes after a portal adventure for the children who go through the door?”  And I loved every page, the only downside was the length, since it was only a novella.  Much to my delight, a second and third book was announced, and I awaited with greedy, grabby hands.  I was so excited to get my hands on an early copy through a friend!
Just as short as the first book, this story packs a punch.  Although we were given a brief sketch of Jack and Jill’s back story in book one, this provides so, so much more.  All the emotional turmoil and parental “guidance”.  The longing and desire for companionship and expression of self.  Seanan truly knows how to create depth and characterization while being economical with words.  Did I mention this world is an interesting mash-up of horror monster tropes?  I truly cannot wait for Beneath the Sugar Sky, and look forward to what else the Tor.com lineup will bring my way.

Summary:

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

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.

Continue reading

Waiting on Wednesday: The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King

The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King

Paperback, 300 pages
Expected publication: June 1st 2017 by Skyscape
Such a compelling read that I had to finish it in a day. I couldn’t get myself to put it down for very long!  It was also refreshing to visit a different culture than that of European origin or inspiration.  I love fantasy books that use knights and dragons and lush forests, but it’s also fun to visit the desert.  Drawing on Sumerian mythology and desert nation cultures, King did a great job of blending magic and intrigue into a maturation and finding-self tale.

Continue reading

Throwback Thursday: The Saga of Rex by Michel Gagne

The Saga of Rex

Paperback, 200 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Image Comics
Considering this is a mostly wordless graphic novel that originally featured in the Flight anthology series, The Saga of Rex is absolutely adorable and tells a fun but traumatic story of a little fox on an epic journey through space.  The artwork is quite amazing and I was hooked from the title page art, which shows the little fox bent down and nose-to-nose with a little, orange fish-bug.  The whole story conveys deep emotions from all over the spectrum and constructs a heartwarming tale of love and adventure.  There isn’t much else I can say, except read it and share it (careful with the really young readers though).  And then go watch the short video on YouTube that the author created!

Summary:

A little fox named Rex is plucked from his home world by a mysterious spaceship and transported to the arcane world of Edernia, where he meets Aven, an enigmatic biomorph with a flying saucer. Follow his epic journey as he travels through outer-worldly landscapes, faces strange perils, and makes surprising encounters.

Book Review: You Can’t Win Them All, Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

You Can't Win Them All, Rainbow Fish

Hardcover, 32 pages
Expected publication: June 6th 2017 by NorthSouth Books

 

I love that Rainbow Fish is still teaching children important life lessons and etiquette! I remember the original story being a favorite when I was a child, and I’m so excited that I can share this book with a new generation. I had forgotten about this little fish for a while, but there are so many new stories that I want to read and share with all the children in my personal and professional life.  I highly recommend this series.  Especially since almost all the books include iridescent scales throughout!  So pretty 🙂

Review copy provided by publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, which did not affect from opinion or review.

Summary:

A brand new title in the bestselling Rainbow Fish series!

Everyone loses once in a while. But being a good sport when you lose isn’t always easy—not even for Rainbow Fish. A lighthearted look at accepting loss without losing your sparkle!

The Rainbow FishRainbow Fish Discovers the Deep Sea (Rainbow Fish (North-South Books))Rainbow Fish: The Dangerous Deep

Book Review: Keeper of the Dawn by Dianna Gunn

Keeper of the Dawn

Paperback, 205 pages
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Book Smugglers Publishing

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.

Summary:

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.

Book Review: Frostblood by Elly Blake

Frostblood (Frostblood Saga, #1)

Hardcover, 376 pages

Published January 10th 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
I’m happy to share that I finally had the opportunity to read this gripping fantasy.  There were parts that reminded me of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, but Elly Blake was able to give us a wonderful story that unfolded into something that, while maybe not the most original, was definitely a fun read.

Continue reading

Waiting on Wednesday: Dream Magic by Joshua Khan

Dream Magic (Shadow Magic, #2)

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 🙂

Continue reading