[763]: The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

I’m not much of a fantasy reader. Most of the books I’ve picked up in this genre are truly an intensive labour of love. But when I decide to read one, it’s usually because I’ve been persuaded through word of mouth. This couldn’t be truer with The Poppy War.  It’s been a popular choice for fantasy and non-fantasy readers alike as of late.  The main attraction for me is that it features a heroine who came from the poorest and most ridiculed part of the country to become one of the greatest warrior that ever lived. But the road to get there was far from a walk in the park.

Much has been said about the novel’s brutality, and yes.  They’re of the stomach-churning variety. The author didn’t skimp on the shock and awe factor. The first half of this book focuses on Rin’s training at the Academy in the hands of the masters. Because she was nothing but an orphan from a poor province, no one considered her worthy to earn her place in the prestigious Academy or even worthy of a second look. But she sure showed them.  Armed with determination and an ability to soak up knowledge, Rin quickly rose up to the challenge and gained infamy.

In the Academy, she meets the Lore master Jiang who would teach her how to hone her power, call on the gods, and harness her untapped potential. The training was grueling to say the least. It was a series of testing and skirmishes meant to determine those who were not only merely good at what they do, but the best of the best to carry on defending the territories against the Federation.

Of course, it’d be remiss of me if I don’t mention the battles. My eyes tend to glaze over when I’m in the throes of reading such scenes. But this is one of those rare occasions when I couldn’t look away.  They were descriptive, visceral and not at all gratuitously violent. After all, who doesn’t want to see the evil faction fall in the hands of the least likely heroine? This would not be a book about war without deaths, blood and gore so expect those in spades.

I am not the most reliable reviewer of fantasy novels because I have a very small quantity of books in my arsenal. As well, I don’t seek them out. But even I can admit this was pretty kickass and I’m excited and terrified for the installment in equal measure.

Continue Reading

[703]: The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

Good versus evil and star-crossed romance: the perfect recipe for a good YA fantasy.


The Edge of Everything
by Jeff Giles

I haven’t read too many YA novels lately. But when I started seeing reviews for this Jeff Giles offering, I was instantly curious. It had allusions to fallen angels, grim reapers, and demons. But when most mentioned about a forbidden romance between a human and a godly creature, I was sunk.

Zoe’s year hasn’t been the best, to be honest. After the sudden disappearance of her father, she’s left trying to keep her family somewhat in a normal state. With her brother’s bouts of anxiety brought on by the knowledge that their father’s body could still be in the cave where he last went, things at home are a little precarious. When she lost him in a snowstorm, frostbite wouldn’t be the only thing that could put both their lives in danger. They found themselves at the mercy of a deranged criminal. Just when she’s about to lose hope, a vision in fire and light came to their rescue.

Their rescuer came in the form of X; a boy who looked to be in bad shape himself. His assignment was to retrieve the soul of one Stan Manggold, a hardened criminal who rightfully belonged in the Lowlands. Lowlands, for lack of a better word, is what you would call as hell. X is one of the bounty hunters who has lived in the Lowlands for eternity, it seems. There is no way out for the likes of him. But a deal with one of the generals could give X a chance to escape and live the rest of his life on Earth. It will not be easy, though, as his freedom come at a cost.

This book is gripping. I didn’t think I would enjoy yet another YA supernatural fantasy, but here I am. Honestly, if I hadn’t been distracted by so many books on my shelves, I could just as easily finished reading this in one sitting. As I mentioned, I’m a huge fan of star-crossed romances. It just so happens that X and Zoe were in one. The only downside to this is the speed with which they fell for each other. I feel like there wasn’t much chance of getting to know X. But I get it. Since X didn’t know much about himself either, I can forgive the underdevelopment of his character.

Zoe, on the other hand, is a girl whose life upended when her dad died. Granted that their dad wasn’t a “conventional parent” by any standards, they still had a camaraderie like that of any father and daughter relationship. He was presumed dead, but they never retrieve his body in the cave. Their mom is present in their lives, sure but she’s also distracted by trying to raise her kids. Mostly, she tried her best to keep what’s left of her family together.

I enjoyed this book. It had funny moments, surreal moments, and instances where I choked up a little. I especially enjoyed Zoe relationships with her close friends and her brother. She took care of him the only way she knew how. I could’ve sworn Jeff Giles is an experienced author. I didn’t realize this was only his second book. The Edge of Everything is exactly the YA paranormal fantasy that teens and adults alike would enjoy. The contemporary elements balance out the supernatural that makes reading it such a breeze.

Continue Reading

[697]: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Strange, imaginative and intricately plotted.


The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern

One of the hazards of reading and reviewing a book such as The Night Circus is it renders one’s reviewing ability virtually useless. It’s a good thing and a bad thing. For one, piecing together a coherent take on the book is an arduous task. For another, it’s a shot at your already frail capacity to write a review in the first place. To top it off, The Night Circus was very vague in a lot of aspects. So the chances drawing blanks while writing the review is considerably high.

Still, I can say in all honesty, that this book is highly imaginative, however strange. Though it’s tough to follow sometimes because the timeline jumps sporadically. And the fact that the train arrives without warning at the most random places adds to that confusion. The train itself is magical, obviously. It carries the performers who possessed some otherworldly abilities recruited by the mysterious founder.

At the core of this novel is a love story between two protégés caught in between two competing magicians. But the romance lacks intensity so it takes a backseat throughout the novel. The two magicians seem immortal, pitting one protege against the other over the years. The mechanics of the game wasn’t clear, which is frustrating for the most part. The object was to beat each other, of course. As to the genesis and end game, Ms. Morgenstern was not very forthcoming.

The world of The Night Circus is magical in the literal sense. Besides the fact that the train travels like the wind (swift as the speed of sound), Celia and Marco have the strangest ability to manipulate thoughts, stop time, and even dabble in telekinesis. You have a fortune teller whose accuracy is uncanny, and kids who speak to animals. But is there anything more magical than love? Ms. Morgenstern explores the dark relationships between the children and their minders. Most of them were taken when they were young then cared for by their guardians. But it is love? Like that of a parent to their child? Celia’s relationship with her father was tenuous at best, volatile for the most part. Marco didn’t fare any better. In the end, it was hard to decipher who was manipulating whom.

There is a star-crossed element to the romance between Marco and Celia. Besides the fact that their masters are mortal enemies, the result of the competition ends in the loser’s death.  Quitting the game is no easy task. It’s almost as if the contest is set up so the competing magicians fall in love, so to win the game also means it’s at the expense of the person they love. That should be enough to titillate the most ardent romance readers, but sadly, the thrill just wasn’t there.

Morgenstern’s writing is very polished but because it’s set in the 1800s, I can’t help but feel that the emotions were restricted. It’s formal, regimented, and unfortunately, very cold at times. I would like to read more of her other works, though. But I would like to wait and see something other than this historical/magical realism/fantasy hybrid.

Continue Reading

[668]: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

25494343 Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Dark Artifices, #1
Margaret K. McElderry Books | March 8th, 2016
Young Adult | Fantasy | Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


In a kingdom by the sea…

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?


We first met Julian and Emma as kids in the last book of The Mortal Instruments. Barely escaping death, the kids were shell-shocked by what they witnessed as they fled the Los Angeles Institute. What’s more, a couple of their siblings were taken: one by the hunt, and the other – exiled. These kids grew up pretty fast.  Since the Blackthorns were killed during the Dark Days, Julian has had to play the role of the father figure to the rest of his siblings. On top of that, they had to hide the fact that their uncle barely has the capacity to look after himself, let alone run an institute. So Julian and Emma  hid this fact to the Clave to ensure that the rest of the Blackthorns will never be separated. But now something bigger is at stake

When the bodies of murdered humans and faeries alike turned up in a way Emma’s dead parents were found, Emma and Julian found themselves consorting with the fairies to solve the murders. Part of the agreement was to hide the uneasy alliance from the Clave; because to align themselves with the fairy folk is a direct violation of the Accord. The kids may not have a choice, though. In fact, this may be their only chance to get their brother back. As they piece together the mystery of the murders, they unearth a tragic love story that could very well end in more tragedy.

My Thoughts

Cassandra Clare’s novels always leave me floundering for words. For someone who is infinitely against fantasy, she sure has a way of making me forget this fact. But then again, one could argue that this is not fantasy per se.

The story of Lady Midnight is a tragic one. Even more tragic? The developing love story between Emma and Julian. If there is one thing that I know with all certainty that will drive me up the wall about this new series is how CClare is going to tackle this slowly surging train wreck. I’m equally excited and terrified of it, to be honest. I remember when I first read City of Ashes many years ago and throwing it on the floor soon after finishing. I thought she was cruel when she took Jace and Clary’s relationship right in that shocking direction. But we all know how that turned out, so that gives me a little comfort. One thing’s for sure, the road to HEA will be paved with hapless agony.

Now, the haters out there are convinced that this is yet another attempt of Clare to beat a money-making cash cow. Those people are what I would call, WRONG. This was not an attempt to regurgitate a tired story line. We’re introduced to new adventures, new legends, and characters that will incite feelings of fealty and hatred on some. Hate it or love it, I know many of us will be on tenterhooks for the books to come. This exciting new series is the perfect panacea to those who are missing the TMI characters something fierce. We get glimpses of the characters we’ve adored over the years. And as a bonus Magnus and Alec’s adopted a blue baby. Like, literally blue. Love. Love.

Continue Reading

[661]: Air Awakens by Elise Kova

23127048 Silver Wing Press | August 27th, 2015
Series: Air Awakens, #1
Paperback, 377 pp.
New Adult | Fantasy
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars


A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond…

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.


I wish I can join in the furor left in the wake of this little indie book. For the record, I like the idea of an apprentice slowly coming to terms with her supposed powerful magic. But I was frustrated with Vhalla. She was stubborn in such a way that she refused to embrace her powers. Nothing wrong with grandstanding as long as you have the balls to back it up. In the end, it wasn’t all the root cause of why I didn’t quite enjoy this book. At times, I wanted to shriek in frustration because for all the talks of her being the most powerful and rare, I never saw it. The readers was only given a second-hand account of it. She was always unaware of what she was doing when she was unleashing her power. It was very irritating.

What the heck is a Windwalker, anyway?

What is her power? It annoys me that after finishing the first book, I still hadn’t a clue as to what she can do. Can she fly? Can she summon wind? I wish that I didn’t have to read the next set of books to learn the scope and breadth of her power. If I’d learned of what she can do in Air Awakens, I’d be one-clicking the entire series faster than you can say, next! 

Technicalities

The pacing didn’t bother me either way. The lack of consistency wasn’t as annoying as I’d expected it to be. This is one of those times when I wasn’t interested in what happened to the characters or the story either way. I was going through the motions and was just racing to get to the end. Which is a clear indication that it was all over before the crying! I kind of knew how it would end but that didn’t stave off my frustration somehow. As far as series opening goes, this was the kind of introduction that I wasn’t a fan of. Because instead of whetting my appetite for the rest of the books, it incited a general lack of interest.

In Retrospect

Three stars for world-building and plot; and for a slow-burn romance that I could’ve enjoyed reading come to a fruition. Overall, this is not the fantasy I was looking for. Sorry.

 

 

 

Continue Reading

[650]: Radiance by Grace Draven

24473763 Radiance by Grace Draven
Series: Wraith Kings, #1
Self-Published | January 13th, 2015
Adult Fiction | Fantasy | Romance
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars


THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE

Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE

Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.


I keep trying to get past my aversion to fantasy because I really do feel bad about it. I mean, besides Science Fiction, I think it’s a genre where an author’s ability to build spectacular worlds can truly shine. I’m thinking maybe it’s because I haven’t been picking the right books? That my selection process is solely based on whether or not a book is high-fantasy? If it is, it doesn’t make the cut. Perhaps if I try the works of say, Brandon Sanderson or RA Salvatore, it would blow my mind and therefore would grow to appreciate it.

Sometimes, I think some book god is messing with me. The excuse that I use often before was that I don’t have the patience for intricate world-building. That the book must consist of romance first and foremost in order for me to enjoy it. Well, I’ve read a couple of fantasy novels in the last couple of weeks where the romance makes up the bulk of the story, but I’m still left scratching my head.

Radiance, for all intents and purposes, is a romance novel packaged as a light fantasy read. There was no quest and no curse. Just a couple of kids who aren’t meant to be together who somehow found themselves married in order to secure prosperity and unity between two kingdoms.

THAT’S IT.

The End.

I kid you not.

As far as fantasy goes, this one was an ice-skater. And by that, I mean the author only skims the surface of the story. There was no depth or layers and not even a thin ice to give you a glimpse of what’s below the surface. The characters are pretty much one-dimensional, too. They don’t offer much in terms of emotions or personality. There was no chemistry to speak of so the romance was flaccid in as much as the straight-as-a-ruler plot is. Seriously, I almost fell asleep a number of times while listening to the audio book and it had nothing to do with the narrator but more about the lack of suspense or conflict in the storyline. I do, however, enjoyed the way they turned insults into endearments. It broke the monotonous dialogue just a bit.

I’m a bit of the odd duck in my opinion of this book, though. You have to take in consideration that I’m not a fan of the genre. Also, if you’re a reader of high fantasy, this book might not satisfy you. It was pure romance but the kind that I didn’t enjoy. I wasn’t able to empathize with the characters so the series was doomed from the start.

Continue Reading

[646]: The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

29008738 The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon
Stand Alone | Createspace Independent Pub
May 11th, 2016
Adult Fiction | Fantasy | Romance
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars


Swallow, Daughter, pull them in, those words that sit upon your lips. Lock them deep inside your soul, hide them ‘til they’ve time to grow. Close your mouth upon the power, curse not, cure not, ‘til the hour. You won’t speak and you won’t tell, you won’t call on heav’n or hell. You will learn and you will thrive. Silence, Daughter. Stay alive.

The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn’t speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would trade his soul and lose his son to the sky.

My father has a claim to the throne, and he is waiting in the shadows for all of my mother’s words to come to pass. He wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free.

But freedom will require escape, and I’m a prisoner of my mother’s curse and my father’s greed. I can’t speak or make a sound, and I can’t wield a sword or beguile a king. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love . . . a bird?


I had high hopes for this book. After all the great things I’ve been reading about it, I was sure I was going to love it. I mean, I should’ve known better, you know? There is something about fantasy novels that just do not appeal to my reading sensibilities. But I didn’t let that stop me because most of you have given this book such a high rating. Y’all know how easy it is to persuade me.

The first thing that appealed to me was the cover; it just doesn’t look like a fantasy novel, in my opinion. So because of that, I decided to give it a go. The second thing is that Lark cannot speak. And I’m the kind of reader who’s eternally intrigued by characters with disabilities. There is something about them that’s even more admirable than a character with their full capacities. They’re inherently stronger because of the things they had to overcome day in and day out. So yes, even though that cover is gorgeous, Lark was the major draw. Though, I should mention that her being mute is not a birth defect or as a result of an injury.

Fantasy is so tricky for me. My attention span can’t deal with the legends, the curses, the myths that I have to keep track of. Moreover, the seemingly archaic narration just doesn’t suit me. The last fantasy series that I’ve devoured and loved was The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta. I’ve grown to appreciate it more over the years because I’ve re-read the books at least a thousand times.

So in this book, the story was propelled by a curse (as fantasy novels often do) inflicted by a witch that was about to be slaughtered by Tiras’ father. She ordered her daughter (Lark) to keep her words because her words are powerful. Lark’s ability is a variation of the power of persuasion. She can order animals and some people to do her will. In this land, anybody who has powers is found and killed. People are afraid of those with abilities. But she made sure that her curse was woven tightly that it would affect her husband (who didn’t do anything to protect her) and the, then King’s son (Tiras).

Years later, when the King died, Tiras took over. The kingdom is constantly under threat. Because the many years of injustice directed towards those with powers, a group of shifters wanted the royal blood and their people. In short, this book has the right recipe for some good old-fashioned fantasy. The kind that fans of the genre can easily like. As much as this book didn’t tickle my fancy, I’d like to say that it’s something fans of romance novels could like. It is heavy on the romance. I like Tiras and Lark. They were perfectly matched in temper and as much as couples ought to be well-suited.

Tiras was a little off-putting sometimes, though. He more often throws it in Lark’s face that she is “of use” to him in his war. And no matter how indignant Lark was with her role as a sword to be wielded, she doesn’t say no – not that she couldn’t (she was a way of speaking to Tiras telepathically).

I really wish I’d loved it more, but it just wasn’t in the cards. The pacing was inconsistent, impeded by Tiras’ constant disappearing acts. I do love the smooth prose, though. It wasn’t overly prettified but it had enough gorgeousness to be purple.

 

Continue Reading

[635]: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

DSC00690


The Raven King

by Maggie Stiefvater


I’m a part of the population who died a little when this book’s original publication date was pushed back. I was devastated. I needed to read it like I needed my next breath. But there was nothing else I can do. Earth continued to orbit around the sun. Seasons changed as I came closer to my death. With very little desire to live, I trudged on and waited with everyone. Until that one fateful day when I was given a reprieve: my bookstore had it three days earlier than its publication date. Huzzah.

So I got ready to boogie. I settled in with my Trenta Black Tea Lemonade and told my family to leave me the hell alone. Hours passed. After a few starts and stops, I grew agitated.  Brows furrowed, I start to question if I might be reading a different book. For one, I was reading and rereading passages. For another, I was confused af. This is not the Maggie I knew and love. She was no longer speaking my language. Days passed. I was no closer to deciphering the words. Why was it so complicated?  What changed? Why am I suddenly struggling to imagine what she was describing? I wanted to cry. I wanted to shout at a cruel god who made me wait extra long for a book that will not fulfill its promise of greatness. But I persevered. Who cares if it will take me longer than necessary to read something that I proclaimed to be the most anticipated book to come out this year? I didn’t give up hope. Somewhere in there, I knew I’ll get all the lovin’ feeling back.

The story went on. Gansey and Blue continued to ignore the four-letter-word flashing above their heads. Blue continued to resist kissing Gansey. The women of 300 Fox Way proceeded to exist in their mystical magnificence per usual. Blue’s father was still doing his rendition of R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet. Adam and Ronan circled each other like prey and predator (which is which was everyone’s prerogative). Ronan brought strays he collected from his dreams like always. The story went on but I couldn’t even muster an ounce of excitement for what’s unfolding before me. Because the truth of the matter is, The Raven King dragged. The writing didn’t work for me. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t ever remember Maggie’s writing to be this complicated and long-winded. It’s too pretty for my taste. And I’m the type of reader who was a high tolerance for purple prose. I know how to appreciate cloaked meanings. But above all, If I was disappointed in The Raven King, I was even more disappointed in myself. Because I knew that I would be the black sheep in the community after everything is said and done. I am ashamed.

Towards the end,  a couple of things happened. There was kissing that became a preamble to chapter 39; the culmination of all my wanting happened. For the last two years, I’d imagined how it could be. Who would make the first move? Who would be the first one to  run away after they realized what had happened? I had imagined it in every conceivable way but nothing could’ve prepared me for that moment. It was glorious, splendid, beautiful and way too freaking short. But it doesn’t matter. Because in a few short pages, The Raven King was redeemed. That was all it took. Two kids kissing.

It turns out that I’m easy. I can be bought with the right bribe. You can irritate me with your beautiful words. You can prolong the agony of waiting for my ship to sail. But if you give me everything I’ve been hoping for, you can forget that I ever considered abandoning your book in the first place.

All’s well that ends well.

Continue Reading

[622]: Shimmer by Paula Weston

DSC00654


The Mother of a Cliffhanger

Paula Weston knows how to write them and write them well. Practically every book in this series ended in the most painful way possible. Haze, in particular, was the most painful of all. So Shimmer started where Shadows ended – the Outcasts had no choice but to seek shelter at the Sanctuary while they figure out how to rescue Rafa and Taya from the Gatekeepers. For Gaby, it means that she might not have a choice but to ask for help from the same people who knowingly fed her to a hellion in the hopes of jogging her memory. Whatever their methods were, she knew that they have the angel-power to destroy the Gatekeepers and the iron room where Rafa and Taya were being held. Gaby has never been the most patient person, especially when waiting means knowing that Rafa is slowly being tortured to death.

The Sanctuary

In the cold mountains of Italy, Gaby and Jude will find out more about the women who built the iron room in Iowa. A secret society made up of women whose primary objective is to rid the Earth of rephaims by any means necessary. But the knowledge they unearth would bring more questions and traitors in their ranks. Regardless of what they find out, the rephaims would be more divided than ever.

Anxious Anticipation

By now I can say without a doubt that Paula Weston’s Rephaim series surpassed all the other angel series that I’ve held dear over the years. Angellfall by Susan Ee took forever to finish and when the series ender came out, it was big let down. Daughters of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor was great, but the installments were painfully too long and was saturated by purple prose that they didn’t resonate with me at all. There’s not a lot of angel books series that I follow. In fact, these were it. So I was really hoping that the Rephaim series would come through. Well, it did. And all the familiar feelings of anticipation and nervous anxiety came rushing back as soon as I held the book in the palm of my hands. I knew she was going to take me for one hell of a ride.

While Shimmer wasn’t as action packed as its predecessor, it was full of revelations that made me hold my breath. My head spun with every discovery – end over end because I can’t figure out all the implications of each revelation. Ms. Weston knows how to make my heart pound even if her characters barely lift a finger. And with Rafa’s absence, she knows that she has to make it up to us somehow.

I knew she wouldn’t be able to resist torturing us again, so heads up, this ends with yet another cliffhanger. I sure am glad I have Burn sitting prettily on my shelf because I for one wouldn’t be able to resist taking a peek at what really happened before Gaby’s and Jude’s memories were erased.

Shimmer is the kind of book that will activate all your sweat glands, will give you heart palpitations and a feeling of restless wanting for the next book. You’ve been warned.


FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR HERE.

LINKS:

Paula’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads Author’s Page
Talking with Tundra | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

FIND THE REPHAIM SERIES HERE:

Goodreads | Amazon | Chapters !ndigo | Book Depository

MY REVIEWS:

Shadows | Haze

Continue Reading

[620]: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

DSC00656


This book was like a bag of chips. Once you start, you won’t be able to stop. It was so easy to read with a story so addictive that you’d want to savor all its sandy glory. Prior to reading this book, I was worried that it would not be for me because my experience with this type of trope was limited to The Wrath and the Dawn. And I’m not going to lie I haven’t been able to finish that since I tried months and months ago. The story was as dry as the desert heat and I had a hard time following the story. But Rebel of the Sands surprised me. I liked it. I liked it a lot.

ABOUT THE BOOK

This is a story about one girl’s hopes and desire to find her place in the world; a world so unlike the one she knows. Where food is as abundant as the kindness she seeks. And where girls are respected and valued. She longed to be free from the shackles of her aunt’s cruelty and the sickening desire of her uncle to make her one of his wives. In her town, there are only two possibilities for a girl like her: to wed or end up dead. Forever a slave to the men of her family. She’s a self-taught sharpshooter, skilled and precise. So when she finally makes her escape, she’ll be sure to carry a gun with her.  When she meets the equally skilled foreigner at a shooting game, she saw her chance at freedom. But the foreigner had ulterior motives.

Through him, the adventure that she sought was more than she could ever bargain for. Fleeing on a mythical horse, she’ll find out that the foreigner is wanted for treason by the Sultan’s Army. But that doesn’t stop her from falling in love. What she doesn’t know is that Jin has the key to figuring out who she truly is and the role she must play in a war Jin and the Rebel Prince has been waging against the Sultan and his sons.

MY THOUGHTS

This book far exceeded my expectations. I never thought it was anything about magical, powerful shifters, or humans with extraordinary powers. It’s about a kingdom torn by an ambitious ruler who would sell his country to the foreigners if only to gain more power. It’s about a girl who believed in herself and her worth. Who would unselfishly risk her life to save others. Amani is an empowered, inspiring character. Nothing held her back on her quest to seek her own freedom. And she was not boy-crazy – which is refreshing considering how many heroines have been allowed to be distracted by the easy, charming smiles of their counterparts. Nope. While all she wanted is to be free in the beginning, she found a greater calling once she was at the rebel camp. She knew in her heart that she had to help out the people that she left behind because not helping would mean more death for her countrymen. Unlike her trust in Jin, she didn’t dare doubt her allegiance to the rebels. She stayed true even though she couldn’t grasp the truth about who she is at first.

The author was very skilled in giving us a bit of everything. She combined magic, fantasy, and romance into one engrossing story. Great debut, Ms. Hamilton. I for one, can’t wait for the next saga. There’s still so much to know about Amani. So much to know about where her relationship with Jin would go.


GOODREADS SUMMARY | Viking Books for YR | March 8th, 2016


 

 

Continue Reading