Book Review: An Enchantment of Ravens


An Enchantment of RavensTitle: An Enchantment of Ravens

Author: Margaret Rogerson

Pub. Date: September 26, 2017

Rating: ♥♥♥♥


A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.


As it turns out, my TBR list for February is basically null and void. Now I’m just kind of reading books that I know won’t take long to read, and books I know I’ll like. Reading slumps suck.

Like with many of my reviews there will be some spoilers, and they will be after my initial reaction.

I’m always excited for a Fae book.

It goes back to my love of  A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

I really liked this book. It was a quick and fun read. Sometimes I just want a good standalone that I can read and enjoy and not have to worry about a book 2. (Though I wouldn’t be opposed to more books set in this world).  I really enjoyed both Rook’s and Isobel’s characters. I liked that it wasn’t a serious read, that I could just enjoy the whimsy of the whole novel. It didn’t hurt that Rook was the ideal Fae Prince. I thought the banter between Rook and Isobel was cute and their whole relationship was a little too perfect and convenient, but again, it’s a whimsical read. I loved the imagery that Rogerson used in this book, and it made the world feel rich and made it easy to picture.

Though with that being said, I do wish that there had been a little more to this book. I enjoyed the book for what it was, but a part of me wanted more! I wanted a richer story, a little bit more world building, and character development. I think that this need for want more stems from the fact that I liked the story, and wanted to be immersed in the world even longer.

I did have some questions about the world, and some of it’s rules. I think Rogerson wanted us, the readers, to pull on Fae knowledge that we already had, and then fill in the blanks as we saw fit. Even if that is the case, it still left questions, and the story felt a little incomplete.

I definitely recommend reading this book if you just want a quick, fun, whimsical full of Fae read.

Now onto the spoiler-y section.

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Last Chance!

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Bear with me, my thoughts might be a little all over the place, I know what I want to say but don’t really know how to organize it.

While I did want more from this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wanted more time with Rook and Isobel. I wanted to know why it was so bad for her to paint human emotion on the Fae portraits. We are just told it’s bad, but not why. We’re told a lot of things without really getting an explanation.

In the beginning I wanted to know why the Fae realm was dying, but ultimately that was answered by the end of the book, with the acknowledgement that the Alder King had apparently gotten lazy in his super long rule. I wanted that conflict to be a little longer and more involved than it was, because it felt like they woke up the sleeping giant, and then killed him in the next breath.

As for Rook and Isobel, I liked how their relationship was pretty much insta-love. I’m kind of on the fence about insta-love, and it all kind of depends on the story and the characters. I think it works for these two because the whole story was kind of shallow without a whole lot of depth.

I’m so wishy-washy about what I wanted from this novel. I didn’t have any expectations. I had heard that it was a great book, and hadn’t really heard any negative reviews, but those opinions never altered the book. So I went in hoping to enjoy it as a good book, and I did. I enjoyed it enough to say that I wanted more of the story. I feel like I keep repeating myself, and usually that means I’m trying to convince myself that I actually did enjoy the story, but in this case I REALLY DID ENJOY IT.

Like I mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t say no to a book 2 or another book just set in this world. I think it would be interesting to see how Rook and Isobel rule the courts. I did love that little twist at the end – how Isobel – a mortal – a human – is now Queen of the Courts, and Rook her King, only because she asked him to be.

Oh! and the Crafts. I wanted to know more about the history there with why the Fae couldn’t ‘craft’ anything.

There’s that word again. More.

I promise. I really did enjoy this book.

But clearly, I just wanted more insight, lore, character building and world building.

I’m going to end my semi-spoiler-y review there, because I’m sick and tired of the word more. Just know this, I don’t regret buying, or reading this book. It’s definitely a good read, and if you love Fae, and shapeshifting princes, beautiful imagery, and interesting characters, check this book out. I can’t wait to see what Margaret Rogerson comes out with next.

 

 

Book Review: Artemis

ArtemisTitle: Artemis

Author: Andy Weir

Pub. Date: November 14, 2017

Rating: ♥♥♥


Not crazy, eccentric-billionaire rich, like many of the visitors to her hometown of Artemis, humanity’s first and only lunar colony. Just rich enough to move out of her coffin-sized apartment and eat something better than flavored algae. Rich enough to pay off a debt she’s owed for a long time.
 
So when a chance at a huge score finally comes her way, Jazz can’t say no. Sure, it requires her to graduate from small-time smuggler to full-on criminal mastermind. And it calls for a particular combination of cunning, technical skills, and large explosions—not to mention sheer brazen swagger. But Jazz has never run into a challenge her intellect can’t handle, and she figures she’s got the ‘swagger’ part down. 
 
The trouble is, engineering the perfect crime is just the start of Jazz’s problems. Because her little heist is about to land her in the middle of a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself. 
 
Trapped between competing forces, pursued by a killer and the law alike, even Jazz has to admit she’s in way over her head. She’ll have to hatch a truly spectacular scheme to have a chance at staying alive and saving her city. 
 
Jazz is no hero, but she is a very good criminal. 
 
That’ll have to do.


This review will contain spoilers, but they will be after my general reaction.

I loved The Martian.

I got really excited when I found out that Andy Weir had another sci-fi coming out.

I wish I had enjoyed Artemis more than I did. It wasn’t a bad book, but it felt super rushed, and I wasn’t a huge fan of Jazz.

In The Martain Mark Watney’s chatty peppy attitude made sense. He was alone on Mars trying to keep his sanity. Rather than falling into a pit of despair he found the humor and the light in his situation. Jazz just felt like a copy and pasted version of Watney, but in her case, it didn’t make sense. She was annoying. Her crass, smart-ass attitude grated on my nerves, and for most of the novel her language, inner dialogue and attitude is unfounded she just didn’t make sense. She’s smart, but she constantly chooses to make awful and stupid choices. There’s being stubborn, and then there is being stupid, and in my opinion she makes stupid choices for pretty much the whole novel.

I think Weir wanted her to be this badass, aloof woman, but it didn’t come across that way.

Ugh, I really wanted to love this book, because I loved The Martian. What is it with sci-fi books letting me down recently?

This book is a quick read – I read it in four hours. There isn’t a lot of world building, and the whole heist element felt a little half assed, half baked.

If you’re looking for a quick, enjoyable sci-fi read, and don’t have a lot of expectations, then yes, pick this book up. It hits all of those points. But if you’re looking for something more, The Martian is heaps better. Even the suspense element is better in The Martian.

Onto spoilers.

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Last chance!

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This book could have been waaaaay better.

I wish Jazz hadn’t been so unlikable.

I wish the plot hadn’t been so rushed through the whole book.

I wish the heist element had been more thought out, and not so clichéd.

I wish that there had been more information on the “side kick” characters.

Jazz was obnoxious and easily my least favorite aspect of the book. Her whole attitude made no sense to me. She was standoffish, crass, a smart ass, and what? It all stems from the fact that she doesn’t want to be pegged for her genius? She brings up the “potential talk” so many times. It’s clear she’s brilliant, and can pick up tasks, and new knowledge pretty quickly and easily. For someone who is so concerned with making money, getting rich, she chooses to not take up a job that would get her more money. But then there’s the “i’m too lazy to do anything to make my life better” BUT “I’m willing to take on a very very dangerous heist that could go incredibly wrong, and that requires all of my skills” just so that she can get rich quick.

It’s like cheating in school. “I spent six hours writing down everything onto a cheat sheet.” ….. So you studied?

Jazz just didn’t make sense to me.

And for someone so smart, she’s pretty blind, and has the mentality and humor of a 15 year old boy. For how many time’s her sex life is brought up, she doesn’t even kiss a guy until the end of the novel….so why bring it up at all?

Also, the whole reusable condom thing? WHY WAS THAT IN THE BOOK? Nothing comes of it, except for Svoboda to hint desperately that he has a thing for Jazz, and wants her to try it out on him. LIKE COME ON. It literally hold no weight in the scheme of things. Weir put it in there to show just how sexually active Jazz is, but we never see Jazz do anything. In fact, she constantly refutes the claims that she has a new dude in her bed every night.

Dale, Rudy and Svoboda were probably my fave characters. I wish Kelvin actually made an appearance.

This book was so rushed. The plot just whizzed by, with very little explanation or world building. This book could probably have been a little longer, and probably should have been told from multiple points of view. It would have been interesting to see it from Rudy’s point of view and Jazz’s. Artemis was pretty easy to visualize, but it also felt really unoriginal, and the world just left a lot to be desired.

The whole heist on the moon…really? Maybe I’m missing something but how exactly was what Jazz did, a heist? It was a sabotage mission at best. Heist is defined as a robbery. Is Weir defining it as a heist because she steals the power-for-oxygen contract? Because for a supposedly smart person, by the end of the book, she’s only like 15,000 slugs richer than she was at the start of the novel. Jazz risked everything for like no reward.

I found myself not buying into the whole heist plot. It was lame. It was full of gangsters, mobsters, “high stakes” and some new scientific technology that will change the face of the world as we know it…..really? And it can only be manufactured on the moon? REALLY? I just can’t. I didn’t buy it. I didn’t buy Jazz’s involvement, and her fast acting actions of going into hiding, and just knowing what to do in that situation? YEAH RIGHT.

Now, a book doesn’t need a romance to sell me on the story, but in this case, I think Svoboda should have been dating Jazz. It was only in the few interactions they had that I actually liked Jazz. I thought that they complemented each other well. But mostly, everyone in Jazz’s life just enabled her shit behavior and then condemned her for it. Maybe it’s because they don’t understand her, or maybe they just don’t want to, but they should’ve had an intervention or something to talk some sense into her. It would have been nice to get some more information on these characters since they end up playing such a big role in the end.

Also,

For a super secret heist, SO MANY PEOPLE END UP KNOWING ABOUT IT.

There were just a lot of issues with this book from lack of world building, to annoying characters, and an unbelievable heist.

I’m going to have to reread The Martian again to remind myself of a good sci-fi that makes sense, because damn, I’m 0-2 for sci-fi in 2018 and it sucks.

 

The Reading Slump Persists.

Since I haven’t finished a book in over a week, I’m going to talk about the Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole. I loved and still love these books so much.

It all started with a picture that Charlie Bowater drew. Like everything she draws, I fell right in love.

Death and Evie

Arcana Rising had just recently been released when Charlie posted this picture to her Instagram, so I downloaded the first audiobook and inhaled it. I was under the impression that Arcana Rising was the final book in the series, so imagine my surprise and anguish when I get to the end of the book, and it’s left open FOR THE FINAL BOOK.

I inhaled four of the five of the books in less than a week. I was so wrapped up in this world that when I found out that I would have to wait a year for the next one, my heart screamed.

Just look at this image of Death and Evie. I could just scream about how much I loved these books, the characters, the world, but I won’t. Now, it’s been about a year and a half since I listened to the first five, so my memory is a little hazy on the specifics, so for this review, it’s going to be more of a comprehensive one of the first five books, rather than individual reviews.

Poison Princess


Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles #1)

 

She could save the world–or destroy it.Sixteen year old Evangeline”Evie” Greene leads a charmed life–until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, killing everyone she loves, Evie realizes her hallucinati

ons were actually visions of the future–and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.
With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally trust Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?
As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side…

I wasn’t too sure when I started the first book. I never fully got invested in Evie’s pre-apocalyptic life, but soon the story picked up and I was completely involved with the story.

When I read I usually get completely drawn into the story, but there is something about audiobooks, where I legitimately feel transported into the story. Especially for these books, it was so easy to get into the world. All the characters felt unique and the story progressed at a good pace, not too fast, not to slow, and everything had a purpose. I don’t remember the characters ever acting outside of their character. I really loved how even the characters that were deemed “good”, or that we (the reader) perceive as “good” are full of faults. No one is completely good or completely bad. This is a post apocalyptic war with one survivor – eventually people will turn on one another.


Endless Knight (The Arcana Chronicles #2)

Endless NightEvie has fully come into her powers as the tarot Empress. And Jack was there to see it all. In the aftermath of killing Arthur, Evie realizes that there is a war brewing between the teens who’ve been given powers following the apocalypse, and it’s kill or be killed. When Evie meets Death, the gorgeous and dangerous Endless Knight, things get even more complicated. Somehow the Empress and Death share a romantic history. One that Evie can’t remember, but Death can’t forget. Evie is drawn to Death, but in love with Jack. She is determined to discover why she’s been granted these powers, and in the process, struggles to accept her place in the prophecy that will either save the world, or destroy it.

Who knew Death could be so enticing? Evie meets Death in this book, and their relationship – I don’t want to call it a romance – yet – had me hooked from the very beginning. But I’m also a sucker for eternal romances, reincarnations and love that lasts forever. As soon as Death entered the picture, I didn’t care about Jack anymore. I didn’t really care for him from the start, but he was definitely chopped liver after Death.

By this point I was fully invested in this story, these characters. It didn’t feel like anything I had read/listened to before. Who knew Tarot Cards could be tied with a post apocalyptic battle? I didn’t. But Kresley Cole has done it, and it’s amazing.


Dead of Winter (The Arcana Chronicles #3)

Dead of Winter

Heartbreaking decisions 
Evie was almost seduced by the life of comfort that Death offered her—until Jack was threatened by two of the most horrific Arcana, the Lovers. She will do anything to save him, even escape Death’s uncanny prison, full of beautiful objects, material comforts…and stolen glances from a former love.

Uncertain victory 
Despite leaving a part of her heart behind with Death, Evie sets out into a perilous post-apocalyptic wasteland to meet up with her allies and launch an attack on the Lovers. Such formidable enemies require a battle plan, and the only way to kill them may mean Evie, Jack, and Death allying. Evie doesn’t know what will prove more impossible: surviving slavers, plague, Bagmen and other Arcana—or convincing Jack and Death to work together.

Two heroes returned 
There’s a thin line between love and hate, and Evie just doesn’t know where she stands with either Jack or Death. Will this unlikely trio be able to defeat The Lovers without killing one another first…?

*screeching noise* By this time, I was utterly involved, and definitely didn’t care about Jack and Evie. So much happens in these books, the elicit so many different emotions. I was definitely on the edge of my seat pretty much the whole time.  I wasn’t super into the whole love triangle thing. I could understand the draw of Jack, since he was part of her pre-apocalyptic life he was a tether to everything she left behind and lost. But I often found myself not caring about Jack.


Day Zero (The Arcana Chronicles #4)

Ashes to ashes . . .
Day Zero.jpgEvie Greene’s story of the Flash is just one of many. All over the world, those connected in some way to the lethal Arcana game–like Death, Jack, and Fortune–must first survive a horrifying night of blood and screams.

We all fall down.
Some will have to grapple with new powers; all will be damned to a hellish new existence of plague, brutality, desolation, and cannibalism. Find out who they lost, why they endure, and what they sacrificed in order to live past Day Zero. . . .

….I just realized. I never actually read this one. It wasn’t available on Audible. I remember telling myself to purchase the physical copy, but I never did. I guess I need to. I kind of want to reread the whole series before reading the final book, so maybe that will be my excuse to purchase this one.


Arcana Rising (The Arcana Chronicles #5)

When the battle is done . . . Arcana RisingThe Emperor unleashes hell and annihilates an army, jeopardizing the future of mankind–but Circe strikes back. The epic clash between them devastates the Arcana world and nearly kills Evie, separating her from her allies.

And all hope is lost . . . 
With Aric missing and no sign that Jack and Selena escaped Richter’s reach, Evie turns more and more to the darkness lurking inside her. Two Arcana emerge as game changers: one who could be her salvation, the other her worst nightmare.

Vengeance becomes everything.
To take on Richter, Evie must reunite with Death and mend their broken bond. But as she learns more about her role in the future–and her chilling past–will she become a monster like the Emperor? Or can Evie and her allies rise up from Richter’s ashes, stronger than ever before?

I thought this was the end of the series, and got really excited that I found a series that was *complete*, and I would be able to binge it all while at work…and then it wasn’t. So much happened in this book. I was on an emotional roller coaster that kept throwing me for a loop. I want Evie to choose Aric (Death). They are endgame. If either Jack or Aric dies, then her choice is made for her.


The Dark Calling (The Arcana Chronicles #6)

In a world teetering on the edge . . .The Dark CallingWhen Evie receives life-changing—and possibly game-changing—news, she has trouble believing it. Why doesn’t she feel any different? Is it possible someone she trusts might be lying?

With enemies at every turn . . .
Tensions seethe inside the castle of lost time as Evie starts to doubt her own sanity. Answers can be found outside their stronghold, but will Death help her find them—or prevent her from learning the truth about her future and Jack’s possible survival?

Darkness beckons. 
A mysterious, sinister power begins to affect the Arcana in its path. Forced out into the wasteland alone, Evie must depend on unexpected allies. But as a battle with Richter looms, can her new alliance defeat the Dark Calling before hell reigns on earth?

This is hopefully a book I will get to soon, IF I EVER GET OVER THIS READING SLUMP. I’ve been waiting a long freaking time to find out how it all ends, and if this post is any idea, I need to reread the series before picking up this final installment. But I won’t complain with having to reread them. I’m so curious as to how this will all conclude. So much has happened so far, characters have died, and fought, and struggled, I can only assume someone I love is going to end up six feet under.


I promise I will have a book read soon! I think I’m going to hit pause on what I’m currently trying (and failing) to read The Heart of the Empire by Carrie Summers  and read Artemis by Andy Weir since that’s my Book Club’s book, and I have yet to touch it….we meet this Friday to talk about it. Ooops.

Tomorrow I plan on reading, writing, and editing, and hopefully fitting in a workout somewhere. We’ll see if it all gets done.

I can’t wait to get back into reading. *Fingers crossed*

 

NaNoWriMo Projects (Writing Journey Overview)

I still haven’t finished a book, so I’m going to talk about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), even though it’s February.

Screen Shot 2018-02-22 at 9.28.00 PM

NaNoWriMo being a free event/challenge in the month of November where the goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That equals to about 1,700 words per day, rounded up slightly.


Let’s travel way back to 2011, when I was a Senior in High School.

I was in a writing class (Advanced Composition), and my teacher told the class that we needed to at least try and participate. For those of us who did, there would be potential extra credit or something (it was a long time ago, I don’t remember the specifics). So I, along with some other classmates decided that we would participate.

I come in on day one, and everyone has hit their mark, of 1,700 or more…I didn’t. When my teacher calculated the percentages done, I was at like .010% completed – some low number, and then my teacher challenged me to catch up. Out of all the people who started NaNoWriMo, I was one of a handful who actually completed.

The story I wrote was utter shit. So bad. Complete trash. I don’t know how I completed it though. After about a week and a half, writers block hit me hard. It basically punched me in the face, and kept punching me in the face for two weeks. NaNoWriMo is only four weeks long, give or take. Nothing I did shook off the writer’s block. I wrote everyday, but it was as painful as pulling teeth, so I stopped and had to wait for it to pass. Usually I can push past writer’s block, by just writing whatever comes to mind, but that time, nothing worked.

I was left scrambling in the last five days. Somehow I managed to write 25,000 words in those last five days, and submitted the story two minutes before midnight. I swore that I would never get that behind again, and so far I haven’t.


Now that I’ve given you the nightmare that was my first experience with NaNoWriMo, let’s take a little walk through all the projects I’ve worked on since 2011. Some of them I’m still very passionate about, while others I’m not.

Screen Shot 2018-02-22 at 9.40.16 PMThe 2011 story was about a girl who gets sent back to ancient Rome. That’s all I legitimately remember about the story. And it sucked, so I wiped it from my mind.


In 2012 I wrote the second book to the SF Dystopian that I’m still currently working on. I had a completed draft of Book 1 at the time, and decided to use NaNoWriMo as a way to write book 2. Since Book 1 (Destiny) has changed so much since 2012, book 2 is no longer relevant at all, so it will forever be the way it is.


In 2013 I dove into a fantasy that had been pounding in my head since that March. I had gone to a writing workshop hosted by Sarah J Maas, Susan Dennard, Erin Bowman, Kat Zhang, and an appearance by Jodi Meadows. During the writing workshop we did an exercise that involved 3 die, and each of those dice had multiple images on them and we had to write a brief story using those three images.

I can’t remember exactly what the images were anymore, but they gave me this idea for a story. What if a world existed where in a battle between good versus bad, bad won? For months I had these two characters, Katie and Beau, who later became Killian, pounding in my head, screaming at me to write their story. So I created this world where bad ruled, and the only sourc11272808_541050739367352_1285717135_ne of good, of light, remaining in the world was Killian. I’m still really passionate about this project, and have worked on it here and there since 2013.


I’m not gonna lie, my 2014 project was definitely inspired by the romance between Serena (Sailor Moon) and Darian (Tuxedo Mask).

Stars Collide, Galaxies Erupt. Magic Ignites. 

Serena and Kai, friends since before they could walk, hold the key to beating back the darkness that hangs at the edge of the universe. Sent there millennia ago, Astoria wants revenge on the people who put her there.

Serena and Kai must learn to use the  magic given to them by the prophecy that has foretold of this battle. 

This is a project I haven’t really touched since writing it in 2014, but it is the whole story from beginning to end, in a very rough, unfluffed way. There isn’t a lot of world building or descriptions, but there is a skeleton of a story there. I had these big plans to write a book 2, where the two characters, Serena and Kai are thrown into a contemporary world, where the fantasy world they had been in was part of an online, virtual reality game. I didn’t really know where it was going to go from there.


In 2015 I had this really great idea to write a Peter Pan story. I was so excited!

Peter Pan grew up. He gave up. Neverland is dying. Neverland’s fate rests with a girl who has loved Peter for her entire life and the son of a codfish. 

I think that with some more work this story could actually be really good. I thought it was brilliant when I was writing it, but reading back through it after NaNoWriMo ended, I could tell it wasn’t. In the 30 days I had to write it, it just didn’t work. It was weak and shallow. It just fell through in a lot of places. With more work, I could actually envision people reading it. One of these days I’d like to go back and rework this story and make something better.


Onto 2016! Geez, I didn’t really realize just how long this post was going to be, but we’re nearly there!

2016 was the year of fantasy again, and actually this is the story that is the foundation of my current fantasy WIP.

I posted this synopsis in a recent post, but I’m going to post it again.

Emma and Jonas, heirs of waring Courts in the land of Adina. In an attempt to end the war that has been raging so long that no one knows why they are still fighting, they agree to marry each other, knowing nothing about the other person. When they do meet, there is this unexplainable attraction, knowing, and fear of the strong feelings they feel for each other. 

Though, all is not well in the world. There is one, who doesn’t want the fighting to end. She wants the power all to herself, so she steals it. The magic Emma had been born to protect falls into the wrong hand. In order to save her Court and the land they live in, she embarks on a journey to find her ancestors – because it all began with them. 

I’ve already reworked the story, so this synopsis isn’t entirely accurate to the story anymore, but the gist, the idea of it is still the same. I’m so completely in love with this story. I love the characters and the world keeps opening up to me. I’m learning more and more about these characters. Usually I write in chronological order, but for this story, I’ve been writing out of order, and these scenes are everything.  

This was the first year that I didn’t write a whole skeleton of a story. I got caught up in the world building and character development that I only got through a fraction of the story.


Finally, 2017! Now we really are almost done!

This was heavily influenced by Tangled, Barbie Island Princess and even Anastasia. This story was just one I wanted to write, but wasn’t the story I had initially set out to write for this past NaNoWriMo.

I intended to write a mermaid story, about a girl who had been living for hundreds of years, and this guy who she was in love with. For whatever reason the guy would die, but she would always find a reincarnation of him years later, and they would fall in love. But every time he died, she grew angry and vicious, causing havoc every where she went. The idea and concept of the story got to out of hand – I wanted too much to happen, and didn’t have the time to research and plan it all before NaNo started. Sadly I had to put it aside, and quickly come up with something else to write.

Emilia has lived her whole remembered life on an island. She doesn’t know how she got there, or who she really is. All she wants in the whole world is go find the people who she lost. Kiko, her best friend on the protects her fiercely, and is her only real companion on the island. 

Then Jamie, the heir to the Kingdom of Corona comes to the island, and Emilia is intrigued. Never has she seen someone who looks like her. With hesitation she allows them to meet, and Jamie insists that she come back to civilization with her. Wanting to know who she is beyond the island, and if there are people who have been looking for her, Emilia agrees to go with him. 

When she reaches Corona she isn’t prepared for what society has waiting for her. 

The synopsis doesn’t say much, because I wasn’t even really sure where the story was going to go. This might be a story I go back to, but I’m not sure.


For 2018, I don’t know what I’m going to write yet. But in the meantime, I’m going to be working on Destiny and hopefully get that going onto the next step, querying. I’ll also be working on my Fantasy WIP. Maybe something will inspire me and I’ll have characters screaming at me to write them in November.

Feel free to friend me on the NaNoWriMo site! Come November we can cheer each other on!

Personality Test – INTP-T

Two nights ago I asked my mom a question –

What color is a mirror?

Her response – (paraphrased) “Any color it reflects.”

My response: “Silver.”

Now, I’m definitely a “right-side brain” person, and my mom is definitely left. So it was interesting that she had the more “creative” answer, and I the more practical.

So, fast forward roughly 24 hours, and my family is sitting at the dinner table, and I ask my dad the same question.

What color is a mirror?

He pauses, and I inform him that this isn’t a trick question.

His response: “Clear.”

It’s one of those questions that can be argued forever so we quickly gave that up. Then my dad tells me to take a Myer’s Briggs Personality Type Test. I grab my Mac, and search Google.

This is the first test I took, and the results kind of surprised me.

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Curious, I decided to take another one. A little test of sorts, to see how widely these free online personality tests differed from one another. So I went back to Google, and clicked on another link, and took that test as well.

The results for this test fell more in line with what my dad thought I’d be. Apparently I’m turbulent.

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Just because Google has so many options, I decided to take a third test. These results ended up being the same as the second one, which makes me think that INTP is more likely my personality type than ISFP.

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I definitely liked the last test the best. It gives you some more information – strength and weaknesses, personal relationships (parenthood, romantic, friendship) and career. With the further reading, it was easier to see how many characteristics/aspects were accurate.

Though, I take this with a grain of salt. Even though these tests are designed to test you and determine your personality, they aren’t fool proof, and I don’t think they are fully indicative of who we are. All three of these tests are FREE on the internet. So keep that in mind. They are fun, and it’s interesting to see what other people get, but don’t let a free test off the internet define you. Where’s the fun in that?

If you take the any of the tests, leave a comment!

Life Update + A Little Insight

Honestly, I didn’t have a post planned for today.

I’ve been in a reading slump (I blame Zenith – sorrynotsorry) / haven’t had time or energy to read…there needs to be more hours in a day.

BUT, there is an upside.

Even though I’ve been busy as hell, I’ve had plenty of time to think…wait, no maybe that’s a bad thing. I’ve been thinking about the Fantasy WIP I’ve been working on, and I’ve come up with a bunch of little ideas that I cannot wait to write down! So yay!

Here’s a brief synopsis:

Emma and Jonas, heirs of waring Courts in the land of Adina. In an attempt to end the war that has been raging so long that no one knows why they are still fighting, they agree to marry each other, knowing nothing about the other person. When they do meet, there is this unexplainable attraction, knowing, and fear of the strong feelings they feel for each other. 

Though, all is not well in the world. There is one person who doesn’t want the fighting to end. She wants the power all to herself, so she steals it. The magic Emma had been born to protect falls into the wrong hand. In order to save her Court and the land they live in, she embarks on a journey to find her ancestors – because it all began with them. 

^ Synopsis above is a pretty blanket idea of the story. A few things have changed, but I’m really enjoying these two characters.

That’s how all my stories start – with two names.

Two names, which eventually become characters, and then once I’ve got a pretty good (albeit rough) grasp on the characters, I figure out the story. Sometimes it’s a song, or a movie that initially inspires the story. For this current WIP, which is currently being called “Kingdom of Grace” (subject to change) – I can’t actually recall what specific thing inspired me, but I wanted to write this epic fantasy for these two characters. I didn’t want the journey to be easy, I didn’t want their relationship to be easy. I wanted these two to struggle a little bit.

For my SF project, “Destiny”, I came up with my MC’s name while touring Towson University in MD. My tour guide’s name was McKenna, and I fell in love with it. It was different, something I had never heard before, and I knew it was my MC’s name. Then came Connor, and he was pretty similar to McKenna, but vastly different in the way he grew up, and that ignited their own issues.

In some of the first drafts, Connor was a real asshole to McKenna, and it took a long long  time for him to warm up to her…I ditched that plot element a long time ago, and now they start off on better terms, but are in no way completely in sync with each other all of the time. Both are very head strong and stubborn, and that often gets in their way.

-Destiny follows McKenna Hampton as she embarks on a journey away from Earth and into the stars. The UAF Destiny, an intergalactic ship, ferries the last of humanity away from the dying Earth, to their new home, in the recently discovered Auraelis Galaxy.

Brought on board to finish her parent’s research, McKenna works to solve the problem plaguing the women on board. There are those who would try to stop her by any means necessary, and she cannot let them win.

With the help of Connor, her brother, and Jack, they face more danger than they ever thought they would have to. The UAF Destiny is their home, and she would be dammed if she lost it. –

^It’s a rough synopsis, but this story is one I’ve been working on for – oh my god – seven years. Though it’s almost ready for the next step, so that’s terrifying and exciting.


I’m still pushing my way through The Heart of the Empire – it’s not a bad book, just reading slumps make it difficult. When I do get into it, I’m really into the world and the characters and the conflict, but if I stop reading for any reason, I find it hard to pick back up. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish it this weekend, and get back on track with reading. February is almost over, and I haven’t finished one book on my TBR.

I did receive something exciting in the mail today! IMG_7894.JPG

If you don’t know, I’m a huge Brigid Kemmerer fan – all of her books are just so wonderful.

Also, if you don’t know, there’s this tag on Twitter – #booksfortrade.

I was able to snag this copy of Letters to the Lost – which is phenomenal by the way.

I had never participated in #booksfortrade so I was definitely nervous. A millions thoughts were racing through my head, but thankfully it was successful – the girl I traded with was so freaking nice! – and now I can add this ARC to my collection of Brigid books!


One more bit of exciting news – well – I guess it’s two bits.

In a little over a month, I’m going to Apollycon in D.C. and I’m so excited! I bought tickets last June, and I can’t believe it’s almost time! So many authors are going to be there, and I’m so excited to see everyone!

As for the other bit of news. I get to take my friend to her first book signing / book festival in March. One of her favorite authors is going to be there, and I haven’t told her yet! I’m pretty sure she is going to freak out, and I cannot wait!


Well, hopefully I’ll be back to regular scheduled programming – i.e. book reviews – soon. Gotta get out of this reading slump! There are so many good books that I want to read, and I need to get on it!

Snow Like Ashes Trilogy

Snow Like Ashes

Title(s): Snow Like Ashes / Ice Like Fire / Frost Like Night

Author: Sara Raasch

Pub. Date(s): September 15, 2015 / August 30, 2016 / September 19, 2017

Overall Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥


Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics—and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.


Ice Like Fire

It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. The last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders Meira and Theron on a mission to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans on using the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Jannuari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, Mather decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken Kingdom and protect his people from new threats?

As the web of power and deception is woven tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter but for the world.


Angra is alive, his Decay is spreading—and no one is safe.

Meira will do anything to save her world. With Angra trying to break through her mental defenses, she desperately needs to learn to control her own magic—so when the 

Frost Like Nightleader of a mysterious Order from Paisly offers to teach her, Meira jumps at the chance.  But the true solution to stopping the Decay lies in a labyrinth deep beneath the Season Kingdoms. To defeat Angra, Meira will have to enter the labyrinth, destroy the very magic she’s learning to control—and make the biggest sacrifice of all.

Mather will do anything to save his queen. He needs to rally the Children of the Thaw, find Meira—and finally tell her how he really feels.  But with a plan of attack that leaves no kingdom unscathed and a major betrayal within their ranks, winning the war—and protecting Meira—slips farther and farther out of reach.

Ceridwen will do anything to save her people. Angra had her brother killed, stole her kingdom, and made her a prisoner. But when she’s freed by an unexpected ally who reveals a shocking truth behind Summer’s slave trade, Ceridwen must take action to save her true love and her kingdom, even if it costs her what little she has left.

As Angra unleashes the Decay on the world, Meira, Mather, and Ceridwen must bring the kingdoms of Primoria together…or lose everything.


When I started listening to this trilogy, in no way did I expect it to become one of my all time favorite fantasy trilogies.

Just pasting the synopses of the three books, Snow Like Ashes, Ice Like Fire, and Frost Like Night, made me all excited again. I just absolutely love these books, and the world Sara created.

Why did I choose to listen to the trilogy on Audible over reading the books?

First, working every day gave me little time in the evenings to read, and the audiobooks just made sense. My job allows me to listen to them while I work. As for why these books, I usually look for longer books so that they last me *hopefully* more than one work day.


This isn’t really a book review, but more of me just talking about this trilogy and the things I loved about it. I’ve been wanting to do a post on this trilogy for a while, and I finally got around to it. I just wanted to come on her and write about a set of books that wormed their way into my heart and marked themselves as one of my all time favorite fantasy trilogies ever. (Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini are two series on my most fave fantasy list, if that gives you any idea.)

Where do I even start? I just want to scream into the sky about how much I wholeheartedly enjoyed these books. When I finished bingeing them, I had the biggest book hangover – I want to say ever but that’s dramatic, but there was definitely a book hangover followed by a reading slump. I just wanted to wipe my mind and read them all over again fresh.

The world! Primoria! The kingdoms! The Seasons and The Rhythms! I found it to be so clever and intricate, but at the same time so simple. I loved how the Kingdom’s capital cities were plays on the months, which created a very clear picture (in my mind) of the kind of weather and place these cities were. The descriptions of the world blew me away. I could picture these places as if I were there walking the streets. Primoria was beautiful and complex. The magic system being tied to bloodlines and how it could be used was interesting. I loved the internal battle that waged inside Meira about magic.

Meira was a breath of fresh air. Perfectly capable of fending for herself, and surviving, but also willing to listen and have other help her in return. For the most part, Meira just seemed to want to be acknowledged and allowed to stand on her own to feet Meira was willing to do everything she had the power to do to save her people and free Primoria of Angra and his Decay, and would sooner risk her own life rather than anyone she holds dear. Meira went from a character who, despite being in hiding and on the run, lived a pretty sheltered life until her true identity is revealed to her, to leading her kingdom and others into a war they where they were severely outmatched. Like any sane person, she didn’t want to die, but she would if it meant that the rest of the people of Primoria could live without the fear of Angra and his Decay. I think that speaks volumes of her character.

I loved her relationship with Sir – constantly seeking his approval, but never quite getting it. It made her stronger, made her strive harder to be better, to fight better, lead better, be a better person overall. He wanted to keep her safe, because (she didn’t know) she is the heir to the Winter Kingdom, but he never babies her. He gives her reasons, not excuses why she doesn’t need to go out and fight, or recon missions His love for her is so evident, even if Meira can’t tell half of the time, but even that aspect felt so realistic. How many times have we wanted to do something, and our parents have said no, and we think they are being unreasonable. Yes, maybe some of the time they are, but there is usually a good reason. I think Sara hit the mark right on the nose with Sir and Meira’s relationship.

Now, Mather. He could have handled things a little better. He tended to be hyper-focused and lost sight of things that mattered….aka his feelings for Meira. But even though he was sometimes blind to the obvious he was constantly loyal and steadfast and willing to fight for Meira. To protect her yes, but also to act as her warrior to stand beside her in the battle. I loved their relationship with each other – from friends, to distancing themselves because of their feelings and Theron (We’ll get to him in a moment) to actually acknowledging those feelings and acting upon them – I loved every minute of it. It felt natural and real, and I just wanted to smush them together to be happy forever.

NOW THE LOVE TRIANGLE.

I mean, I knew she would end up with Mather, he was #endgame. Theron was just a blip…a blip she cared too much for. I get why she did, because even I couldn’t hate Theron. He was used and misguided, but I don’t think he made a good match with Meira – as friends maybe, but anything more…

Their relationship felt more like one of amiable convenience than actual romantic feelings.  Could they have been happy together? Yeah, probably. Theron was the perfectly perfect prince; kind, funny, caring of his people – it makes it kind of hard to choose between the two, because both are pretty perfect (there’s that word again). But Mather was #endgame for Meira from the very beginning. (At least in my eyes he was). They would risk their lives for one another over and over again no matter what.   So while Theron is pretty to look at, and all around a pretty nice guy, I never found myself rooting for him and Meira. It was always Meira and Mather.

I hated Angra because he was the bad guy, but I liked his character because he didn’t seem like come copy and pasted villain. Besides the fact that he wanted to rule over all of Primoria, he didn’t feel like a walking cliché, and I can appreciate that. I didn’t find myself hating the story when he was brought up.

As for Ceridwen, I really liked her character. I really liked all the female characters in this book. They were all badasses who could beat the shit out of anyone who crossed them. Ceridwen was just as motivated to save her kingdom as Meira was to save hers, and they created a pretty good team.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I still wish I could wipe them from my mind, so I can experience them all over again. Though, one day in the future I’ll reread them and fall in love all over.

Definitely check these books out if you want a high fantasy adventure with amazing characters set in a visually stunning world.

So, Thank You Sara Raasch! I can’t wait to read These Rebel Waves and see where you take us next!

 

Book Review: The Great Hunt

The-Great-Hunt-by-Wendy-HigginsTitle: The Great Hunt

Author: Wendy Higgins

Pub. Date: March 8, 2016

Rating: ♥♥♥♥


When a monstrous beast attacks in Eurona, desperate measures must be taken. The king sends a proclamation to the best and bravest hunters: whoever kills the creature will win the hand of his daughter Princess Aerity as a reward. The princess recognizes her duty but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger—she was meant to marry for love—until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. And while there’s no denying the fiery chemistry between them, Princess Aerity feels that Paxton’s mysteriousness is foreboding, maybe even dangerous.

Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He is determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast—but the princess continues to surprise him, and the secrets he’s buried begin to surface against his wishes.


****Since this is an older book, having been published in 2016, I’m not going to hide my spoilers. I’ll give a general reaction to the book first, and then I’m going to jump right into to talking about the book.

I know this book is YA, but with the way it started, I expected more stolen romantic moments, and was a little disappointed there wasn’t. I wanted little moments between Aerity and Paxton, and there were moments when they were alone together, and I just wanted to scream “KISS HER ALREADY DAMMIT”.

With that being said, I really enjoyed this book. I listened to it on Audible and loved it. I thought the magic system was so interesting, and the characters varied widely, and no two felt the same.

To me, this book felt fresh and new, and unlike a lot of the fantasy I’ve read before. I’ve read some fantasy YA that feels like it’s been copied and pasted from other fantasy, so I was glad that this didn’t feel that way. I’m so glad that I finally decided to pick this book up and read it, because I fell in love with the world and the characters.

****Review with spoilers!

I’m going to start with the things I really didn’t like or care for in the book. First is Paxton’s hatred for the royal family. Ultimately by the end of the book you know his deep dark secrete of being a Lashed, so you understand his anger…to a degree. Even after finding that out, I still felt like his distain and hatred for the royals was pretty unfounded, and pretty unfair. It was like no matter what people did to prove him different he wouldn’t believe them. It was like in his mind, the royal family is inherently bad and nothing can change that about them…even if Aerity accepts him for who he is, he still can’t seem to fully accept that she isn’t the monster he’s made her out to be.

Paxton reminded me of a constant pessimist, glass half empty kind of a person. It was almost like he adamantly refused to see any light in the situation. He was just there to kill the monster, and that was that. He kept pushing down his attraction for Aerity, and it was annoying. Like I said earlier, I just wanted them to freaking kiss.

That leads me into my next point. Aerity and Paxton, and their automatic attraction for each other. It felt a little insta-love-y, which I’m not against, especially in fantasy, but there wasn’t really a reason given. I can see from Aerity’s point of view, that Pax – who wants nothing to do with her – becomes a challenge or puzzle for her to try and solve. But for Paxton, it felt like he was just blown away by her beauty, and because “I’m mister mad at the world, so I can’t like her because she is everything I hate about the world”. As much as I loved the tension and chemistry between the two of them, Paxton definitely annoyed me.

ROSARIA. I hated her. Not because she was the ‘bad guy’ but because her reasoning for killing people was SO stupid. Two wrongs make a right. WRONG. Wronging those who have wronged you doesn’t make a situation better, it makes it worse, and you end up in a downward revenge spiral. When she started monologuing about why she has been killing all those people, my eyes rolled to the back of my head. Her revenge felt so half baked, and meh. I wasn’t impressed with her at all, and don’t really get (other than the story needed a villain) why she was necessary.

Now, I know that was a lot of negative, but I really did enjoy this book. I became lost in the world and the characters and often found myself having to pry myself away from the book. I couldn’t predict how it was going to end, except I knew Aerity would play some kick ass part. Going into the novel, I assumed Aerity would be going on the hunt with Paxton.

The first words I said to my friend, who had already read this book, was, “Paxton is a little bitch for going to join Rosaria” – No, that’s not a spoiler for book 2, because it’s legitimately in the synopsis. But like COME ON PAXTON. DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT IS A GOOD IDEA? AERITY IS WILLING TO HELP CHANGE THE WORLD, AND YOU GO JOIN THE WOMAN WHO HAS BEEN KILLING HER PEOPLE. Smooth.

I love Tiern.

Love him so much. I was heartbroken at the end of the book, but of course it ends well.

Now that Aerity has her betrothed, (ugh), I totally want Tiern with Vixie. She’s the fire to his goofy, and I love them together. Though, Tiern should have stayed on the island with Vixie, and NOT HAVE LEFT HER ALONE INJURED AND FACING ROSARIA. He might not have stayed dead if he had done that.

I just realized I hardly mention Aerity. I thought she was a really interesting character. I found her to be selfless even when she wanted to be selfish. I liked how it was more her skills and talents that impressed the men, rather than just her title and her beauty. I really liked how she was just as capable as the men, but wasn’t invulnerable, and still needed rescuing. I think most of the characters are like that, and it felt so realistic.

I loved this book, and can’t wait to dive into book 2!

Book Review: Hunting Prince Dracula

Hunting Prince DraculaTitle: Hunting Prince Dracula

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Pub. Date: September 19, 2017

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥


Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.
But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.


Since this is a more recent release, I’m going to give my general reaction first, and then go into spoilers, because I NEED to talk about this book.

OH MY GOD.

OH MY GOD.

OH MY GOD.

I didn’t think Kerri could top Stalking Jack the Ripper but she did. She so totally did!

I also didn’t think I could love Thomas Cresswell and Audrey Rose Wadsworth anymore than I already did. I WAS SO WRONG. I LOVE THEM EVEN MORE.

Both of these characters are brilliant. Personally, I think it’s rare when I like – love – both main characters equally, but oh my god I love them to bits.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, and it surprised me in all the best ways possible. There wasn’t a moment that I felt bored, or uninterested. My attention was focused the whole time.

Now, I listened to this on Audiobook through Audible, and holy crap! It was so good! Nicola Barber (the narrator) was amazing! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and will definitely be listening to Escaping From Houdini when it comes out in September (it’s on my Most Anticipated List!)  I definitely recommend listening to these books on audio, through Audible if you can, because they are just so good, and feel so real. I kept having to remind myself that I wasn’t in late 1800 England and Romania. Trust me, snapping back to the reality of work sucked, and I tried to spend as little time there as I could.

This book had so many twists and turns, and there were moments where my heart was thudding hard against my chest. This book is the next installment in Audrey Rose and Thomas’s journey, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Now. Time for spoilers!

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Last chance!

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I’m gonna jump ahead, because the ending of this book had some of the best scenes, and I don’t think I can wait to talk about them!

I loved how unexpected the Indiana Jones twists came about underneath the castle. But the scene in the room with the water rapidly filling. I WANTED THEM TO CONFESS THEIR FEELINGS! I wanted them to say everything that they had been suppressing, prosperity and society be damned! That scene, as the freezing water kept pouring into the room, as Audrey Rose’s skirts threatened to pull her under, to Thomas wrapping his arms around her to keep her afloat – my heart was screaming. I just love them together so much.

Then the creepy as hell grave yard – as gross as it was, it created a really vivid picture in my head, and I felt like I was there. That whole scene was so weird and intense and again I was on the edge of my seat.

I HAD NO IDEA IT WAS ANASTASIA. NONE. I kind of assumed it was the Headmaster, and I didn’t believe it was her body they found in the bat filled room.

Okay, now that I have thoroughly spoiled the end of this book, lets jump back towards the beginning.

Smart ass, cocky, inappropriate Thomas Cresswell…can he please be real? I love him. I love how much he cares for Audrey Rose, and it’s so obvious because more than half of the time nonsense comes out of his mouth as he tries to impress her. Especially when he tries to look out for her, and it severely backfires.

I understand why Audrey Rose reacted the way she did each time Thomas spoke up on her behalf. One of her fears is to be caged, and she doesn’t want that. Audrey Rose is pretty progressive, as is Thomas, and she just wants to be treated as an equal, and equally capable. I think Thomas, not knowing how to go about, showing her he cares deeply, does what he thinks is helpful – this is basically stated in the book – that he had good intentions, they just played out horribly. I’m just glad that they they eventually work everything out.

The scene in the village when Audrey Rose is looking at the dress made of dreams. I knew right then and there that Thomas Cresswell would be buying her the dress because he saw her reaction to it. It’s the little things. Oh, and the line, upon opening the box with the dress inside, where she says something along the lines of he bought me dreams – my entire body thrummed with excitement! I absolutely love the fact that he bought her the dress.

The one thing that did feel kind of out of place was the fact that Thomas just happens to be the last living male heir to Dracula himself. But at the same time, we the reader, don’t actually know that much about his past, and he says so himself, that he doesn’t like bringing it up. I’m still a little undecided how I feel about it, but it is what it is.

BUT ON THE OTHER HAND –

I could not, could not get behind Anastasia’s reasoning for doing everything she did. It felt a little clichéd. Of course, since Thomas is the last living male heir to Dracula, Anastasia is the last living heir to Lady Dracula. Her reasoning for everything was that she and Thomas would get together, have little Dracula babies, and rule Romania…yeah. Nope.

Just Nope.

As much as I wasn’t thrilled with this kind of half baked villain, I can’t bring myself to lower my rating for this book, because I just loved it so much, flaws and all.

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SPOILERS OVER!

Hunting Prince Dracula is definitely going on my Favorites of 2018 list, even though it was released in 2017. I adore this book and Stalking Jack the Ripper so much and I cannot wait to see what Audrey Rose and Thomas get into in Escaping From Houdini! I wish I could fast forward to September just so I can read it now! I’m going through Wadsworth and Cresswell withdrawals.

 

Review: Zenith

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Title: Zenith: The Androma Saga

Authors: Lindsay Cummings & Sasha Alsberg

Pub. Date: January 16, 2018

Rating: ♥♥♥


Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness, a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her glass starship, Marauder, however, she’s just Andi, their friend and fearless leader.

But when a routine mission goes awry, the Marauder’s all-girl crew is tested as they find themselves in a treacherous situation and at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter from Andi’s past.

Meanwhile, across the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their ship or just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only certainty is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.


***ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.***

Due to some kind of downloading or uploading issue, the version of Zenith I received to review early did not contain the novel in full.  My original review for Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings isn’t a complete representation of the novel.


I’m going to start by saying that I’m proud of Sasha and Lindsay for writing the story they wanted to tell. I’m happy for them that they made it onto the NYT Bestseller List – I know they’ve worked hard to create this world and these characters. I’m genuinely happy for them!

Now I’m going to put a disclaimer. My thought’s on Zenith are my own, and while this might be your favorite book, it wasn’t mine, and that’s okay. We can all like different stories, and still be able to discuss them. That the great thing about YA – there are plenty of books and stories to choose from.


This review will have spoilers.

I don’t know whether its “fortunate” or “unfortunate” that the ending and the fact that it was SF were the only aspect of this book that saved it from being a total flop.

I had such high hopes for this book, and it continuously fell short. I think the plot had great potential, it just wasn’t executed correctly. I also think that the hype surrounding this book hurt as much as it helped. Because this book was hella hyped, and while hype is a good thing, it also causes heightened expectations, and in my experience, heightened expectations are rarely, if not ever met. There are very few books that have met my expectations when a book is as hyped as Zenith was.

From the weird dialogue/inner thoughts, descriptions, lack of information, and a couple of other issues, I felt completely let down. I wanted so badly to love this book, because it sounded exactly like something I would completely love.

It wasn’t, and that hurts to type.

This is going to be a rough review to write, but I want to be honest.

Now I’m going to start the spoiler section of this review.

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Last chance!

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My first complaint was that there were too many points of view, and most of them didn’t really add much to the story. I found myself not caring about Lira’s inner turmoil. I didn’t care about Valen either. I definitely didn’t care about Nor, or Klaren, and kept wishing that the story had just been told from Androma’s and Dex’s perspectives. I felt like with all the plot lines that were in this book, didn’t need to be there, they were excessive, and the book, coming to a conclusion at 534 was too long.

Now for the dialogue/inner thoughts. It wasn’t all bad, but there were some lines that just made me question why they were there. It all felt very flowery, with weird comparisons and metaphors – feeling like it belonged in a fantasy novel rather than a SF one. i.e. (paraphrasing) ‘a voice being slippery as if it were coated in oil’ or ‘a building being razor sharp and soft’. To me, neither of those images paint a very clear image.

Then there are jokes or phrases that the crew finds funny, hysterical, ‘spit-water-out-of-mouth’ shocking. I rarely found it understandable as to why these jokes got these kind of reactions.

When Androma and Dex flirt with each other, even if it’s through snide grins and hatred, it sounded like something out of a Hallmark movie. I couldn’t buy into their relationship for most of the book.

Which leads me into another point. We as the readers are left out of the loop a lot. First example I can think of – “darowak” . It’s mentioned on page 21, and it’s not explained what a “darowak” is…is it a bird, a plane? It just says it can fly. We have no idea. It’s not until page 417 that we learn that it’s a giant fast-flying bird. There is no reason that it should take almost 400 pages for the reader to know what a “darowak” is.

As for the crew. This book does a lot of telling rather than showing. We’re told Androma’s the Bloody Baroness, but we rarely ever see her switch to this other personality. When she’s Andi, she hates the killing, we see that with the tally marks, and the weird dancing with dead people, but we see the Bloody Baroness, once? twice? Breck is bullet proof, but why? How? What about her makes her so invulnerable? And Gilly. Sweet, innocent Gilly, until you put a gun in her hand. For someone who is described as a “bloodthirsty little beast, a gunner with plenty of death on her hands” we rarely see that. She breaks out into tears at the first sign of trouble. Lira. I really didn’t care about her inner problems, her inner turmoil, and would have been okay with seeing her solely from Androma’s point of view. Other than being a great pilot, I didn’t really understand her being there.

I understand wanting to weave in the past with the present, as events evoke memories – it makes for a good story, but I don’t want to be nearing the end of the story, and only just learning about character background. In Valen’s case, I get it. It’s the big surprise twist at the end, the reader isn’t supposed to know until it’s revealed.

I will say, starting at Chapter 80, was when I felt immersed in the story, with the inklings of desire to want to know what will happen in book 2. I enjoyed the end of the book, the shock factor, the twist with Valen, and then Andi’s crew falling under Nor’s control, that had me drawn into the story. But only being fully invested in 18 chapters out of 98 isn’t exactly stellar.

For me, this book left so much to be desired. I found it rather tedious to get through. I feel like it could have been 200 pages shorter and a much more compelling novel. I’m sad that I didn’t love this book like I anticipated I would. It’s been on my radar since Sasha and Lindsay first announced that they were working on a SF novel set in space. I was super eager to read it, and when I was approved to read an eARC I felt severely let down. I felt like half the book was missing. Turns out the file I was sent, from a reputable source, only contained the story up to Chapter 41. (I mention this briefly at the start of this post). I felt like I had read a different book than everyone else.

I wish my review for this book could have been more positive, but I often found myself forcing my eyes to stay focused on the page, forcing myself to finish the book. I didn’t want to DNF, I wanted to give the book a fair shot.

I think, based on the ending alone, I’d be interested in seeing how it all concludes in book 2. Towards the end it finally felt like Sasha and Lindsay found a sweet spot with their writing.