December 24, 2014

Dark Triumph

I was so nervous to read this book.  Grave Mercy was so good….how could a second book top it?

Dark Triumph is Sybella’s book which really made me nervous because Sybella is a bit insane.

But Oh. My. Goodness.  THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING.  I decided to read this book while waiting for Elder Scrolls Online to download.  It downloaded 1% in the time it took me to read this book. Whether that tells of how fast I read, or how slowly ESO downloads...

Sybella is awesome.  She is a survivor, albeit a broken one.  She is an absolute badass, and she loves fiercely.  Her character development was fantastically plotted.  The reveals along the way... I won't spoil them, but they were amazing.

Sybella’s family is FUCKED UP.  Not just a little.  A crap ton.  But how she gets through it, how she survives, how she opens up to the Beast…it is beautiful.  I actually cried during one part of this book.

We don’t get as much politics (government or convent) in this book, but all the signs of a storm brewing are there.  I am pretty excited for the culmination of all the intrigue and lies going on in the covent to happen in book three.

This book gets 5 out of 5 stars.  Definitely one of the best books i have read this year.

December 4, 2014

Fractured Dream

-I received a copy of this book to do an honest review-

 Have you ever wondered where fairytales go once they’re created?

It’s been eight years since Story Sparks last had a dream. Now they’re back, tormenting her as nightmares she can’t remember upon waking. The black waters of Lake Sandeen, where her Uncle Peter disappeared decades before, may hold the secret to Story’s hidden memories, or a truth she’d rather not know. On a bright summer afternoon, Story and her two best friends, Elliot and Adam, take a hike to the lake, where they dive into the cool water and never reemerge. What they find is beyond anything they’ve ever imagined could be possible, a world where dangers lurk in the form of Big Bad Wolves, living Nightmares and meddlesome witches and gods.

Now Story must remember who she really is and somehow stop two worlds from ultimate annihilation, all while trying not to be too distracted by the inexplicable pull she feels toward a certain dark-eyed traveler who seems to have secrets of his own. The fates of the worlds are counting on her.

This book was a fairytale dream.   A must read for fans of Once Upon a Time, Alice in Wonderland, and Kiersten White’s Paranormalcy series.  I can always tell when a book evokes an emotional response from me.  My reviews tend to get really long and geeky.

This post is going to be really long.

Things I loved!

I adored Story’s backstory.  The snippets we get of the Dreamer and Fiddler were fantastic.  The mythical land has its own myths!  Fantastic! 

Chapter 7 gave me chills.  Full body chills.  And I do not think I blinked once during the last two pages.  It was AWESOME.

The title, Fractured Dream, is perfect.  I won’t explain why it fits so well because SPOILERS, but trust me.  It’s perfect.

I loved Jess.  Take Traditional Little Red Riding Hood, add Once Upon a Time Red, and stir in a crackle of Selene from Underworld and you have Jess.  She was a firecracker.  I loved it.

LGBTQ.  This book had gay and lesbian characters!  *waves flag*  I love how Randall has her world treat gay characters.  No one hates or is disgusted by them, their interests are perfectly normal and valid.  I wish our world were as accepting!  In fact, it is even okay for a Thumbelina to like a human!  Cross-species love!  


The things I didn’t like so much…
The main character, Story, did, at times, drive me a bit nuts.  She avoids doing things or realizing things that the reader has figured out chapters ago.  Her inability and refusal to do/realize things gets other people killed and hurt, and drags out the story unnecessarily.  In this way she reminded me of Evie from Paranormalcy.  It was the biggest complaint I had about that series as well.  And also…her name.  Story Sparks.  I hated it.  Fractured Dream is a fantastically imagined book, and the main character’s name is Story.  It makes me so sad.

Adam.  The other character I didn’t enjoy very much.  His constant refusal to believe anything about Story being the Dreamer drove me bonkers.  You are in a fairytale world.  Shuddup.

I did really enjoy this book although there were some things I didn’t love.  I stand by my earlier statement.  If you are a fan of Once Upon a Time, Alice in Wonderland, and Keirsten White’s Paranormalcy series you will love this book.

December 1, 2014

Serpent on a Cross

Dennah Dubrovnika is a formidable hunter and talented healer. However, she cannot control her own powers, which have suddenly reawakened in the aftermath of her mother's violent capture by a powerful warlord who destroyed their village in his wake. As she races to free her mother, Dennah is accompanied by Jeth, the man she loves. But she's increasingly, inexorably drawn to the mysterious Skallon, who is allied with her greatest enemy. Will Dennah be able to gain a measure of control over her magic or will she lose everything and everyone she loves to its raging inferno? Serpent on a Cross is a novel of Jewish fantasy and adventure in Medieval Eastern Europe.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this book.  It was nothing like what I was expecting, but I found it compelling and original.

It takes place in 1043 AD in Poland.  So I was thinking hmmm medieval-ish fantasy!  My favorite!
Then I started flipping the pages and found this: "A novel of Jewish fantasy and Adventure in Medieval Eastern Europe".  I was a bit confused because the summary mentioned magic.  I was instantly afraid.  Jewish religion and magic?  Those do not go together in my head.  

But I am here to tell you.  Read on.  IT WORKS.  I don't know how Wendy Garfinkle managed it, but the Jewish culture works with the magic.  And reading this book made me learn a bit more about Jewish history.  Apparently antisemitism is much older than I thought.  I had no idea Jewish people were forced to wear badges to identify themselves before WWII era Germany.  I had no idea they were persecuted throughout Europe during this time period.  This makes me incredibly sad.  *waves freedom of religion flag in triumph*

Garfinkle does more than just weave a compelling story of medieval magic and female coming of age, her historical knowledge is fantastic.  She takes medieval eastern Europe and makes it come alive on the page.

The only problem I had with the book was the strength of the main character.  At times Dennah seemed a bit too 21st century woman.  She took me out of medieval Europe; I forgot she was wearing dresses, and probably had a rag around her hair because they didn't have chemical shampoos.

This book receives 4 of 5 stars for an awesome concept, fantastic writing, and rocking historical world building.