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Review: Predator by Liz Meldon (The Hunt, #1)

Book Review: Predator by Liz Meldon (The Hunt #1)

“BLACK SOUL, SUFFOCATING IN SILENCE

Severus: demon, incubus, escort–leech. After centuries of scorn from his own kind in the underworld, Severus went topside and settled amongst the secret demon community in Farrow’s Hollow. Located near a hell-gate, the city allows him to exist on Earth without sacrificing much of his demon abilities, but as with all incubi, he must take the life essence of humans to maintain his strength.

Working as an escort, he has been able to keep himself satiated, juggling enough clients to ensure that he doesn’t repeat the mistakes of past incubi–the murderers, the gluttons, the true demonic leeches.

In his line of work, Severus sees much of the same every night: human women searching for surrender, for a connection, for love. He caters to them, steals from them, not realizing that he’s desperate for all the same things.

BLUE EYES, WATCHING HER WORLD FADE AWAY

Moira Aurelia: grad student, TV-marathoner, bar trivia champion–unable to look in a mirror. Not anymore. Because when she does, she no longer sees herself. The person, the creature, staring back isn’t her. It can’t be.

The physical changes started after her mom died a year ago. Hair, skin, eyes. Nothing is the same as it once was, and no one can tell her why. Doctors refer her to specialists. Specialists shrug their shoulders. And Moira assumes she’s dying from the same mysterious illness that plagued her mom.

But if she’s dying, why is she getting stronger? Her body is changing, but into what? Something… supernatural. Inhuman. Other. Frightening new realities flash across her mind, but she can’t accept them. She must be dying–because the alternative is crazy.

Fearing the end is near, and refusing to accept other possibilities, Moira goes after the one thing she can control: her sex life. Twenty-three and still unable to experience a satisfying climax, she schedules a session with a Rus Tanner, esteemed male escort, and hopes for something to go right for once.

LIGHT AND DARK COLLIDE–DESPERATE TO CONNECT

But the night takes a turn from the moment they meet. Severus, expecting just another dull session with a new client, is thrown by the otherworldly creature seeking his services–this strange, beautiful woman who arouses his long dormant demon side like none other. Moira, meanwhile, finds herself face-to-face with a man who can handle her newfound strength–and wears a dark stare and sinful smile like a second skin.

Two lonely creatures grapple with the undeniable pull between them.

Moira flees. Severus pursues.

Desperate for answers, the demon seeks her out–unaware that he isn’t the only predator to have caught her scent.”

Book Review: Predator by Liz Meldon (The Hunt #1)

What I thought:

My apologies for the lack of reviews lately–I’ve been working from home these past three weeks, and all my efforts went into editing Darkened Light. I’ve scheduled ahead for the next month and a bit, so all’s well again 🙂

From the moment I first saw Meldon mention this on Instagram, I knew I had to read it. It looks and sounds like everything I want in an erotic novella, and it didn’t disappoint.

I loved how Meldon blurred the lines in Predator. The angels are bad guys, the demons are good guys, and poor Moira finds herself in the middle, unsure what’s happening to her. The poor girl thinks she’s dying as her body slowly changes into one she doesn’t recognise, and I was just as curious as Severus to find out what she was turning into.

No magic. No tricks. It was just her–Moira without a last name. College student. Intriguing beauty. A threat to Severus’s carefully cultivated control if he had ever seen one.

My only issue with Predator was the many italics. It’s a personal preference, but I always feel underestimated as the reader when the author has to double-highlight anything. It also dictates a little too much how I read to my liking. A few italics are fine, but six on one small kindle page? It was excessive for me.

Books like Predator are where Meldon shines the brightest. I’ve read a few by her now, and she’s at her best when demons, vampires, and other magical forces are involved. It’s an easy recommendation if you love a bit of smut with a dark plot on the side–she writes both rather well!

Please bear in mind that this is an erotic novella, and therefore not suitable for younger readers.

Buy it on Amazon | Add it on Goodreads

You might also like these books by Liz Meldon:

Book Review: Predator by Liz Meldon (The Hunt #1) | Alternative reading: Finn by Liz Meldon

Book Review: Predator by Liz Meldon (The Hunt #1) | Alternative reading: The Fool by Liz Meldon

 


Have you read Predator, or are you tempted? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

Please note: All reviews contain affiliate links. I do not review books on this blog that I didn’t enjoy or believe in–all reviews are recommendations.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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Review: Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Illuminae Files #3)

Book Review: Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Illuminae Files #3)

“Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha’s past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.”

Book Review: Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Illuminae Files #3)

What I thought:

Friends, I was so engrossed in this book I didn’t remember to take notes until a couple of days after I finished it oo #fail

So this review will be entirely from memory. Not that I remember much besides the pain…

*ahem*

They cry, they embrace, they pray, they wait with grim determination. They whisper their instructions to themselves over and over again, or pore over manuals for jobs they’re not qualified to do.

They close their eyes tight, or stare into space.

And in case this is the end–because this probably is the end–they say goodbye.

OUCH MY EVERYTHING

I feel like there should be a support group for people who’ve read The Illuminae Files. If you know of one, point the way.

*AHEM*

This book hurt, but then I expected that. I tore through it just as quickly as I did the other two, and the ending left me feeling just as empty. In a good way, though, because this book definitely delivered.

My expectations were high after Illuminae and Gemina, and Obsidio was everything I feared it would be. Pain, slayed hope, death–it’s all right here, in these most beautiful of all pages <3

Too many secrets between these kids.

It was never gonna end well.

If you want to read books that will make you feel something (mostly pain, tbh, but there’s some joy, too), then this series is for you! I can’t recommend these enough <3

Buy it on Amazon | Add it on Goodreads

Or, if you haven’t read Illuminae and Gemina yet, start here:

Book Review: Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Illuminae Files #3) Read first: Illuminae Book Review: Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Illuminae Files #3) Read first: Gemina


Have you read Obsidio? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

Please note: All reviews contain affiliate links. I do not review books on this blog that I didn’t enjoy or believe in–all reviews are recommendations.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

Want to know what else you can find on this blog? Take a look here.

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Review: The Magicians’ Guild by Trudi Canavan (The Black Magician Trilogy #1)

Book review: The Magicians' Guild by Trudi Canavan

“‘We should expect this young woman to be more powerful than our average novice, possibly even more powerful than the average magician.’

This year, like every other, the magicians of Imardin gather to purge the city of undesirables. Cloaked in the protection of their sorcery, they move with no fear of the vagrants and miscreants who despise them and their work-—until one enraged girl, barely more than a child, hurls a stone at the hated invaders…and effortlessly penetrates their magical shield.

What the Magicians’ Guild has long dreaded has finally come to pass. There is someone outside their ranks who possesses a raw power beyond imagining, an untrained mage who must be found and schooled before she destroys herself and her city with a force she cannot yet control.”

Book review: The Magicians' Guild by Trudi Canavan

What I thought:

(if I type magician’s rather than magicians’ one more time I’ll break something!)

*ahem*

Check out this killer of a first sentence:

It is said, in Imardin, that the wind has a soul, and that it wails through the narrow city streets because it is grieved by what it finds there.

GAAAWWWD take my money <3 <3 <3

Sadly, I enjoyed it too much after that to note more quotes. Reviewing is hard, okay?

There was a lot I loved about this. My only issues were that the first half was repetitive, and there wasn’t much character development. For the first 50% or so, Sonea hides from the magicians, the magicians find Sonea, and Sonea runs from the magicians. And then Sonea hides again, until they find her, again, and the cycle starts over.

I kinda wanted them to just find her already and take her to the guild.

The second half definitely makes up for that. There’s so much interesting world building and such an intriguing magic system that I didn’t even mind the repetition in the first half that much. Sonea’s newly discovered powers develop quickly in unwanted, destructive ways, until she almost burns down her neighbourhood.

I adored the characters, but most of them didn’t really develop. Sonea is the only one who has any real adjusting to do and she does develop a huge deal, but I’d have liked to see the other POVs grow, too.

The Magicians’ Guild has a villain I loved to hate, Sonea’s best friend is the personification of loyalty, and Dannyl is my hero for his persistence and patience with Fergun. If anyone ever begged for a fist in their face, it’s Fergun. He’s every insufferable arsehole you’ve ever met, and you’ll enjoy the ending I think. It’s not everything I hoped for, but that might just be because I have no mercy and mercy was shown. Sometimes people just deserve worse, you know? Like a fist in their face. Or a chair.

*sigh*

The ending, apart from showing too much mercy, threw a few bigger issues into the plot than addressed in The Magicians’ Guild. (hinted at, though!)

If you love fantasy with strong world building, a detailed and intriguing history, and a well developed magic system you’ll enjoy The Magicians’ Guild.

Buy it on Amazon | Add it on Goodreads


Have you read The Magicians’s Guild, or are you tempted? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

Please note: All reviews contain affiliate links. I do not review books on this blog that I didn’t enjoy or believe in–all reviews are recommendations.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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WWW Wednesday 14th February 2018

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

This meme will be categorised together with my book reviews. All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

***

What I’m currently reading

The Magicians’ Guild

I’m really enjoying this! The first half was a bit repetitive for me (Sonea runs, Sonea hides, Sonea is discovered, Sonea runs,… you get the idea) but I’m over halfway there now and am looking forward to see what’s next. The world building is excellent, and I can’t wait to learn more about it.

I seem to remember trying this author before and I couldn’t get into her then, but this time I’m definitely intrigued.

Blurb:

This year, like every other, the magicians of Imardin gather to purge the city of undesirables. Cloaked in the protection of their sorcery, they move with no fear of the vagrants and miscreants who despise them and their work-—until one enraged girl, barely more than a child, hurls a stone at the hated invaders…and effortlessly penetrates their magical shield.

What the Magicians’ Guild has long dreaded has finally come to pass. There is someone outside their ranks who possesses a raw power beyond imagining, an untrained mage who must be found and schooled before she destroys herself and her city with a force she cannot yet control.

***

What I recently finished reading

EVO Ghost

I’ll keep it short because my full review will be up tomorrow:

EVO Ghost was a great end to the trilogy. I especially liked Rave and Fernan, but I wanted more to go wrong. It was all a bit too smooth for me.

(How’s that for a flash review?)

Blurb:

Her name is both feared and revered. 
Her name is that of a ghost. 
Her name is Teddie Leason, and she’s back from the dead.

Teddie never agreed with Woodman’s hare-brained declaration of war that cost the lives of those dear to her, but now, she is the main participant in forwarding what he started. There is no turning back, the war has to play out, and she must end the oppression of her kind. EVO are at the mercy of a man with outdated ideas and the power to wield them. Britain will be reshaped forever unless enemies become allies and sacrifices are made. 

Becoming the ‘Face of the Rebellion’ is bitter sweet, with the potential for justice, but also a weight she struggles to shoulder. The fight has never been more important, and EVO have never been more at risk. They will follow where she leads. Does Teddie have the strength to bear that responsibility?

***

What I think I’ll read next

Empress

I know my ever-growing tbr list doesn’t allow for re-reads (especially such long ones), but I’m tempted to re-read this all the same. Empress was the book that made me realise I wanted to be an author, and I’d love to pick it apart to see what makes it work. It clearly made an impression on me, and I’d love to see just how it’s put together.

I will still draw something new from my tbr jar, but damn this is tempting!

Blurb:

Her name is Hekat–
And she will be slave to no man.

In a family torn apart by poverty and violence, Hekat is no more than an unwanted mouth to feed, worth only a few coins from a passing slave trader.

But Hekat was not born to be a slave. For her, a different path has been chosen. It is a path that will take her from stinking back alleys to the house of her god, from blood-drenched battlefields to the glittering palaces of Mijak.

This is the story of Hekat, slave to no man.

***

Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do – just leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:

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WWW Wednesday 31st January 2018

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

***

What I’m currently reading

EVO Ghost

This is my second ARC in one month! I’m hoping to be halfway through by the time this post goes live (I’m preparing it ahead of time as always), and can’t wait to see how everything is going to conclude. Book 2 ended with a bang–literally!–so this one has a lot of to live up to!

Blurb:

Her name is both feared and revered. 
Her name is that of a ghost. 
Her name is Teddie Leason, and she’s back from the dead.

Teddie never agreed with Woodman’s hare-brained declaration of war that cost the lives of those dear to her, but now, she is the main participant in forwarding what he started. There is no turning back, the war has to play out, and she must end the oppression of her kind. EVO are at the mercy of a man with outdated ideas and the power to wield them. Britain will be reshaped forever unless enemies become allies and sacrifices are made. 

Becoming the ‘Face of the Rebellion’ is bitter sweet, with the potential for justice, but also a weight she struggles to shoulder. The fight has never been more important, and EVO have never been more at risk. They will follow where she leads. Does Teddie have the strength to bear that responsibility?

***

What I recently finished reading

(this looks longer than it is…)

Vancouver

I won’t say too much now because my review is up tomorrow 🙂 (or you can read it now on Goodreads)

I read the first one either one or two years ago, I can’t remember… I’ve fallen in love with Meldon’s writing since then, and while I’ve read a few others I had yet to return to this series. It was everything I remembered, if less steamy than Book 1.

But more on that tomorrow 🙂

Blurb:

Aphrodite, goddess of love and lust, is not impressed. After giving up her penthouse suite in trendy Manhattan to go monster hunting around the world, she finds herself in a sad hotel room in Vancouver with a decidedly distracted Loki. She hadn’t expected this job to be so serious, and her Norse partner isn’t exactly bowing to her whims these days. What was the point in coming with him if they weren’t beneath the sheets all hours of the day? It seems like such a waste of sexual compatibility. Humph.

Meanwhile, Loki, Norse trickster, is equally unimpressed. He hadn’t thought taking on a beautiful partner would make his work so difficult. Her unfocused energy grates on his nerves, and his lust for her is only surpassed by his desire for more godly power. He will complete this job, whether she likes it or not, and he’ll walk away one step closer to regaining his old abilities. Now, if only he can get his partner to focus on the task at hand, not seduction. Ridiculous woman.

Aphrodite and Loki, an unlikely team if there ever was one, find themselves in the City of Vancouver hunting vampires. The job is pretty straightforward: rescue the damsel, kill the monster. Unfortunately, even the easiest of jobs hardly ever go according to plan. 

Westwick College

I thought this would be perfect to fill my review slots while I read longer books, being a novella and all, but it was long for a novella. Still a quick read, but definitely the longest of the three! It had the smallest level of smut and the highest level of risk, and the promise of more gods being in the next one is a mean tease!

My review will be up next week Thursday 🙂

Blurb:

Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love and lust, is so done with taking cases in Nowheresville towns. She thought partnering up with Loki to fight supernatural baddies meant excitement, drama, and exotic adventures. So far, the sleepy town of Westwick in rural Idaho isn’t quite meeting her expectations. Still, spending day in and day out with the Norse god of lies and trickery adds more than a little spice to life. And she’d rather be with another god, bored, than all by her lonesome again.

Meanwhile, Loki, Norse trickster, is trying—and failing—to come to terms with the fact that his powers aren’t returning as fast as he’d hoped, even with all his freshly acquired followers. When an academic from his past implores him to help battle a magical presence at Westwick College, he puts his mounting frustrations aside in order to help a friend, dragging his gorgeous, albeit occasionally moody, love goddess along for the ride.

Magic has descended on Westwick College in Idaho, holding its students hostage by creating bouts of sickness and eerie bumps in the library stacks when night falls. While Loki believes it will be a simple fix, Aphrodite, having learned from her time with vampires in Vancouver, braces herself for a tough road ahead. 

And as if that isn’t enough, something—someone—is watching Aphrodite’s each and every step. Biding their time. Waiting for the right moment to strike.

Insignia

You may remember from my last post two weeks ago that I kept my expectations low, and I guess you could say it didn’t disappoint in that regard? It wasn’t great. I didn’t get very far before I moved on. It’s not a good sign when you’re still in the first chapter and already sentences make no sense. It needed a professional editor and cover designer, badly. The premise was interesting, but sadly the execution wasn’t there.

This strikes me more as a book the author published to see her name in print rather than because she takes it seriously as a career.

Blurb:

Living on Earth in the year 2026 is supposed to be great. Electric cars, clean air, advanced computer technology. Holograms even. The world has come far from where it was decades ago. 

For Riy “Rai” Veilheart, it’s the opposite. It couldn’t be fun being the target of cruel jokes and pranks on a daily basis. Despite being a good student, all people know him as is “Albino Kid”. 

So getting a tattoo on his arm couldn’t make things, worse, right? It couldn’t become worse than it already is, was his thought at the time. But it did get worse. Just not in the way he would have expected. Now the high school junior has a sword wielding assassin after him, “monsters” biting at his ankles at every turn. Yet that’s not the strangest part. 

No that would be the girl with blue hair approaching him, claiming to come from another world. Anyone would be crazy to believe such a thing, but upon following her closely he discovers not only is this “other world” real, it’s dangerous. 

And for some strange reason, Riy feels like he’s changing. Subtly, into something he never knew existed. Welcome to a world of Magic, Demons and Spirits. 

Welcome to Arlaum.

***

What I think I’ll read next

My tbr glass has been upgraded to a tbr jar, actually (you can see why… so many scattered around it, and I’ve added to it since!) but until I take a new picture this is it 😛

I got a few new books for my birthday and they’ve been added to it, too, so there’s a nice choice next time I draw a book <3

I draw all new reads on Instagram in my stories – feel free to follow the next one!

(In case you were wondering:

Yellow – Fantasy

Orange – Fiction

Blue – SciFi)

***

Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do – just leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:

8 Comments

WWW Wednesday 17th January 2018

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

HAPPY NEW YEAR! A little late, perhaps, but I had nothing to report two weeks ago. Hope you all had a good start to the year 🙂

This meme is no longer categorised with my book reviews! You can now find all WWW Wednesday posts in their own category 🙂

***

What I’m currently reading

Vancouver (Lovers and Liars #2)

Planning ahead a bit again here as I’m preparing this post on Tuesday and still finishing The Light Over Broken Tide!

Originally, I was going to read Court of the Phantom Queen next but I read Book 1 of this series last year and want to finish it before I start a new one, short as they all may be <3

After one disappointing read, one mediocre one, and one brilliant one, I wanted a book I knew I’d love, and Meldon’s novellas are sure bets for me. Plus, they buff out my reviews a little while I read longer books 😛

I usually get through her novellas in a day, sometimes two, so will start and finish this before Friday!

Blurb:

Aphrodite, goddess of love and lust, is not impressed. After giving up her penthouse suite in trendy Manhattan to go monster hunting around the world, she finds herself in a sad hotel room in Vancouver with a decidedly distracted Loki. She hadn’t expected this job to be so serious, and her Norse partner isn’t exactly bowing to her whims these days. What was the point in coming with him if they weren’t beneath the sheets all hours of the day? It seems like such a waste of sexual compatibility. Humph.

Meanwhile, Loki, Norse trickster, is equally unimpressed. He hadn’t thought taking on a beautiful partner would make his work so difficult. Her unfocused energy grates on his nerves, and his lust for her is only surpassed by his desire for more godly power. He will complete this job, whether she likes it or not, and he’ll walk away one step closer to regaining his old abilities. Now, if only he can get his partner to focus on the task at hand, not seduction. Ridiculous woman.

Aphrodite and Loki, an unlikely team if there ever was one, find themselves in the City of Vancouver hunting vampires. The job is pretty straightforward: rescue the damsel, kill the monster. Unfortunately, even the easiest of jobs hardly ever go according to plan.

***

What I recently finished reading

The Light Over Broken Tide

Now this is how you self-publish! <3 This was an excellent emotional rollercoaster of a book. I still have roughly 13% left as I’m preparing this post but it’s a quick read and right now, I’m a little bit broken.

It’s my first read by Ducarte and I love her melodic, sometimes poetic, always clear writing style. Normally I read two books before putting an author on my insta-buy list, but in this case it only took the one <3

My full review will follow next week. You should definitely get this in the meantime.

Blurb:

Out of the blue, Rebecca Stafford’s Father arrives to parent her after years of absence. He then extracts her last bit of normalcy by moving them to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. The shocking news plunges Rebecca into a despair that brings about an otherworldly encounter; she begins to have visions of her deceased Mom.
Uncertain whether what she sees is reality or the product of a troubled mind, Rebecca searches for an anchor to keep her from drifting in the new coastal town. She clings to Shawn, the eccentric, spritely boy-next-door promising adventures
with surprises of his own, involving an Irish legend and a hidden lighthouse. This brings on a whole new dimension to Rebecca’s visions, and sparks feverish romance between her and Shawn. A bond eventually threatened by forces beyond her control, sending her spiralling into dark, stormy places, leaving her to wonder how broken a mind can get.

Once Upon a Curse

My review for this will be up tomorrow, so I won’t go into detail now. I really enjoyed some of the stories while others felt unfinished and didn’t actually conclude their story. The editing wasn’t even, so some stories were edited a lot better than others which I found quite off-putting–I’d read one story and enjoy it, and then the next would be riddled with mistakes.

I really did enjoy some of them (maybe half?) and loved that I recognised the original fairy tales in most. Overall, I was a little disappointed with the quality since it advertises itself as having been written by bestselling authors.

Blurb:

Seventeen magical stories from NY Times and USA Todaybestsellers and award-winning authors that will entice you to the darker side of faerie tales. More Grimm than Disney, in this collection you’ll find twists on Snow White, Hansel & Gretel, Rumplestilstskin, The Snow Queen, Cinderella, The Pied Piper, Alice in Wonderland, and Red Riding Hood, plus new tales paying homage to the old traditions.
Shadows cannot exist without light, however, and you’ll find enough happily-ever-afters to lift your spirits in this anthology full of adventure, dark powers, and ultimately the enduring power of true love.

Visions of Zarua

Unfortunately, I didn’t actually finish this. I hate giving up on any book, but I just wasn’t looking forward to coming back to it. Most of the chapters felt like filler and as a result I didn’t enjoy the story. The world-building was good (no map, though, even though several important maps were mentioned in the story) and the chapters written in the past intrigued me a lot more, but there weren’t many of them and it took almost half the book before it was clear why they were there at all.

So I’m sorry I didn’t finish this, but it just didn’t work for me.

Blurb:

Two wizards, 350 years apart. Can they save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past? 

An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria. 
Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master Kalesh dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate. 
Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer. 
The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions in time to save the Paltrian people from the dark menace of Zarua’s past? 

 

***

What I think I’ll read next

Insignia

I drew this at random from my tbr-jar, but to be honest I don’t have high hopes for it. The cover doesn’t make it look promising and the edition I have wasn’t on Goodreads, where it has one review despite having been out since late 2014.

I fear this author isn’t taking this self-publishing thing overly serious, but I want it to surprise me with great writing so bad. It’s not a long book, so unless it’s unreadable I’m determined to finish it.

After all, looks aren’t everything and I really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. I really want this to surprise me.

Blurb:

Living on Earth in the year 2026 is supposed to be great. Electric cars, clean air, advanced computer technology. Holograms even. The world has come far from where it was decades ago. 

For Riy “Rai” Veilheart, it’s the opposite. It couldn’t be fun being the target of cruel jokes and pranks on a daily basis. Despite being a good student, all people know him as is “Albino Kid”. 

So getting a tattoo on his arm couldn’t make things, worse, right? It couldn’t become worse than it already is, was his thought at the time. But it did get worse. Just not in the way he would have expected. Now the high school junior has a sword wielding assassin after him, “monsters” biting at his ankles at every turn. Yet that’s not the strangest part. 

No that would be the girl with blue hair approaching him, claiming to come from another world. Anyone would be crazy to believe such a thing, but upon following her closely he discovers not only is this “other world” real, it’s dangerous. 

And for some strange reason, Riy feels like he’s changing. Subtly, into something he never knew existed. Welcome to a world of Magic, Demons and Spirits. 

Welcome to Arlaum.

***

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Review: Origins of the Never by C. J. Rutherford (Tales of the Neverwar, #0.5)

Book Review: Origins of the Never by C. J. Rutherford (Tales of the Neverwar, #0.5)

“A prequel to The Tales of the Neverwar series, with dragons, elves and faeries.

Set thousands of years before the Tales of the Neverwar, an epic fantasy through space, time, and reality.
Teralia. A world of light and beauty, holding the core of magic that infuses the universe. A land of Faerie magic and Ancient Dragons.
Here, two friends, closer than brothers, are destined to become the mightiest among the immortal Elven race.
One will fall, ensnared by an ancient evil thought destroyed eons ago.
The other will face a desperate choice to save a doomed world.
Ultimately, only one can prevail.”

Book Review: Origins of the Never by C. J. Rutherford (Tales of the Neverwar, #0.5)

What I thought:

This is my last review for 2017, but it’s a good one, friends.

I could have sworn I read once that authors should never combine sci-fi and high fantasy in one book. Something about asking your readers to believe in too much at once? Well, friends, Origins of the Never has magic and fairies and alternate realities and dragons and distant planets and let me tell ya, it works! Whoever said they can’t co-exist peacefully (or not so peacefully–this is about a war) didn’t read this novella.

If we strip it right down, this novella is a love story turned dark. One man loves his best friend’s girl, and seeing them together slowly drives him mad until he raises a zombie army and enslaves all dragons. There were some parts I would have liked Rutherford to expand a little more, but this is only a novella, and it sets up one epic battle of light against dark! I’m hoping to learn more about those parts in Book 1, Souls of the Never.

The Glade held the magic. In the mountains to the north of the Citadel lay the source, the spring of magical energy that infused this world; and through the Never, the void which linked all reality, it passed into the universe.

(Personal note: YAAASSS!)

There was a tiny amount of POV switching and as I already pointed out, I’d have loved more info a few times, but other than that? Yeah, this was good.

Honestly, friends, I usually cut indie books some slack. I’m not a monster. It’s hard publishing your first book yourself without the expertise of an agent and big publishing house behind you telling you what to do and making some decisions for you. I don’t think this needs any slack-cutting, though. I’m expecting big things from the rest of this series. Don’t disappoint me, Rutherford! Fan in the making here!

Gawd, I need more books like this. I can see, maybe, why having both genres in one book might be too much for some readers, but I loved it and have already added the first book in this series to my reading list. If you can think of any others, recommend away. This girl’s ready for more epic sci-fi! <3

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My Favourite Books of 2017

Welcome to another round of favourite reads!

Last week, I looked back on my favourite indie books of 2017, but today I’m showing off the awesome traditionally published books I devoured these past eleven months <3 Get ready for the goodness!*  And, of course, the last review of the year is still scheduled for later, too 🙂

I was originally going to select 10 very special books for this list but it was impossible to cut seven, so here are my favourite 17 😀

* much of it is magical goodness, too, which makes this list even better

The Night Circus

I can’t imagine a better start to my year <3 This was magical, and perfect for December/January. If you haven’t read this yet, it’s an easy recommendation for the cold months ahead! I don’t usually re-read books for time reasons*, but this might be a yearly winter read <3

* and, yes, my tbr list threatening to crush me might have something to do with it, too

Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, & Ruin and Rising

How could I not read these after Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom? This trilogy was my reward for finishing NaNo last year, and they were my first reads this year (since I technically started The Night Circus in December 2016*). I loved them for so many reasons, but the Russian mythology was my personal highlight <3

* Wow, that seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it?

The Slow Regard of Silent Things

I loved how whimsical and magical and different this was. Auri is one of my favourite characters in Rothfuss’s books, so having this little novella entirely from her POV was amazing. If you can forget for a moment what a book is supposed to be* and embrace Auri’s mind, this is perfection. The illustrations** were a lovely touch, too.

* like filled with dialogue and character development
** It’s just occurred to me that I’ve read a few books with pwetty illustrations this year… Read on and see 😉

The Caves of Steel

This was so much better than expected, and I can’t wait to read more sci-fi now. I’m holding off until I start writing my own sci-fi WIP*, but this was a fantastic introduction for me.

* this may just be next year’s NaNo project… I was so tempted this year, guys! SO TEMPTED

Equal Rites

I didn’t read anywhere near as many Discworld novels this year as I wanted to*, but out of the few I did manage to read Equal Rites is my favourite. I love Granny Weatherwax and hope to see her around in future novels. I thought Mort would take the lead but now I think it’ll be difficult for another one to come close.

We’ll see, 2018. We’ll see.

* my goal was ten and I read *counts down on her fingers* three. #fail

An Ember in the Ashes & A Torch Against the Night

Oddly enough, I’m not sure what to say other than that I really enjoyed these and am looking forward to Book 3! They’d been on my tbr list for a while and were just as good as I hoped they’d be.

Although, I’m a little annoyed that Book 2 is larger than Book 1. It looks weird on my shelf. #bookwormproblems

Our Dark Duet

I’m always torn about Schwab’s books. I like them and definitely get the hype, but at the same time they just don’t excite me. I liked this, but I also didn’t struggle to put it aside for the day. But, as I said, I definitely get the hype, which is why it’s on this list despite me being torn 🙂 And I did love the opening and those little chapters where Kate tried to control her sanity. Those won it for me.

The Final Empire

Originally, I was going to treat myself to the other books in this series as a reward for winning NaNo this year, but then I failed miserably *awkward cough* They’re on the list for my next book haul, whenever that’ll be. It’s a masterclass of fantasy writing and I feel like I should read it again, notebook and pen by my side so I can take notes.

Illuminae & Gemina

I don’t know what to say other than ouch, my feelings, and DAMN, these looked pretty on the inside! Illuminae and Gemina re-defined what a book is with their one-word pages, stunning illustrations of space ships and explosions and blood soaking through pages and letters and emails and final goodbyes and gah, just read them yourself!

Dracula

I’d never read this before October, but am so happy I’ve done it now <3 It’s not often you read a book that invented a genre! And I’ve got the stunning cloth-bound edition, so it’s pretty on my shelf, too*.

* It’s important to have priorities, friends and familiars.

Nevernight & Godsgrave

If it wasn’t for Illuminae, Nevernight would easily be my favourite book this year. But then Illuminae came and made decisions hard.

I feel like this series is the most grown-up epic fantasy I’ll ever read, but that might just be all the bloody details, sex, and heavy swearing talking. Definitely my kind of book 😛

The Language of Thorns

This is the most beautiful book I’ve bought all year. If you haven’t seen my review for it yet I recommend you take a look since I showed off the illustrations which grow with the short stories. It was beautiful inside and out, and the short stories made me feel nostalgic. If you love dark fairy tales, this is a must-read!

You can find the reviews for all of these on this blog, too, if you’d like to know more 🙂

Tomorrow, I’ll have one last post before I go on my Christmas break, but then that’s it for 2017! Can you believe how fast it’s gone? I’m excited to see what amazing reads are waiting for me in 2018*. If you’re here for my bookish posts like this one, and don’t care for my general updates, I wish you a merry Christmas, lovely holidays, and a happy new year now <3 I’ll see you in 2018, friends and familiars!

* BRING IT ON, OBSIDIO

What were your favourite reads this year? Did you love any of these as much as I did? Make a tea, take some cookies, and talk books to me!


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Review: Heralding by Faith Rivens (InĂ­onaofa Chronicles #2) (ARC)

Book Review: Heralding by Faith Rivens (InĂ­onaofa Chronicles #2)

“Life was simple for ElĂ©onore when her biggest concerns were hunting demons, stacking shelves, and pulling off the single mother gig.

But that was before the night at the Citadelle two months ago. The night when she killed an Elder sorcerer. The night she discovered her own destructive powers.

Now ElĂ©onore’s life is defined by questions of will


Will her dangerous powers and InĂ­onaofa heritage ever be explained to her?
Will her son’s father make a reappearance in her life?
Will her son discover the terrible truth of her nighttime hunts?
Will the demon who offered her protection come for her due?

With chaos brewing in Daemoniar—the demon realm—and a tyrannical group on the rise, one thing is for certain


ElĂ©onore’s about to stumble into a whole new hellhole of trouble.”

Book Review: Heralding by Faith Rivens (InĂ­onaofa Chronicles #2)

What I thought:

I was thrilled when I was offered an ARC of Heralding. I loved the prequel novella Eléonore, and have been looking forward to Heralding ever since last year December. So. Worth. The Wait!

Survive. That was always the goal of each year. Live and prepare for another. Protect Étienne. I had stopped worrying about my own future a long time ago. Life was a day by day thing, not something to hope or wish for.

One of the many highlights for me was the relationship ElĂ©onore has with her son, Étienne. She’s torn between knowing she needs to tell him about his heritage sooner or later, but she also wants to protect him from her world for as long as possible. Any Mum will understand her decisions and reservations, and will love the strong bond they have. Nothing matters to her as much as protecting her child, but as her two worlds–her domestic one with Étienne and her job as a kick-ass demon hunter–come ever closer to colliding, keeping Étienne safe isn’t so easy anymore. Especially when Étienne shows signs and everything gets a little more complicated.

As much as I loved the mother-son relationship, I just wanted ElĂ©onore to make up with Raphael. It’s clear she still loves him (and he certainly makes no secret of his own feelings), and I feel bad for the guy, you know? His only crime is that he fathered a son who may or may not have magic, and ElĂ©onore’s desire to protect Étienne from her life of demons and dark magic is so strong she doesn’t even let poor Raph near him for fear Étienne will get pulled into her world too soon. ElĂ©onore loves Raphael, and there’s nothing she wants more than a normal life with her son and the man she loves, but as any mother will know, her baby comes first, always. Raph is an understanding champion through it all, even when he comes close to Étienne. Bless him, that must have hurt 🙁

A tugging sensation began in my fingers. It spread through my whole body as Raphael pulled me from the fabric of our reality and into the one than ran between time and space. The dimension we travelled was black and filled with grey shapes without any distinguishable forms. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d trespassed through it.

Honestly, I want what ElĂ©onore wants–for them to be together and have a happy ending as a family.

(Gawd, all my notes are about their relationship! Why am I so bad at this? Other things happened?)

Besides their family dynamics, the side characters were excellent, too. Everyone needs a friend like Rosalie–caring, loyal, and always there for ElĂ©onore–and even though Kerryn got a lot of hate dislike? for being a demon, she’s one of my favourite characters. This book has a lot of sass, but the banter between Kerryn and ElĂ©onore adds most of it.

Oh, also, there’s a war coming between demons and the InĂ­onaofa. ElĂ©onore is only just starting to understand her powers and there aren’t many other InĂ­onaofa, so I can’t wait to see how everything is going to clash in the next book.

Maybe he would think I was some kind of hero. Maybe that was worse than the truth.

If you’re a fan of kick-ass heroines in an urban fantasy setting, then this is the book for you! Better yet, if you grew up with Buffy and loved her, you’ll love ElĂ©onore, too. This is a very easy recommendation indeed!

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Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Book Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

“Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.”

Book Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

What I thought:

Okay, so, there are beautiful books, and then there’s The Language of Thorns. The short stories are fantastic, and the illustrations? The illustrations are everything! The illustrations bring the short stories to life!

There’s a new illustration for each short story, and they become more intricate as the stories progress. They start as small drawings, then slowly crawl up along the sides of the pages, meet in the middle, and end in one final image at the end of each story. It’s right up there alongside Illuminae in terms of prettiness <3

There are different kinds of magic. Some call for rare herbs or complicated incantations. Some demand blood. Other magic is more mysterious still, the kind that fits one voice to another, one being to another, when moments before they were as good as strangers.

It was also quite nostalgic for me because I grew up with these kinds of stories and I loved seeing how some of them have influenced Bardugo here, like The Little Mermaid and Hansel and Gretel. It took me right back to the bedtime stories I grew up with.

And because I can’t adequately describe how beautiful the illustrations are, here are some more pictures to show off their gorgeousness properly:

Book Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
They start small…
Book Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
…slowly grow around the words…
Book Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
DETAIL

Book Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

HOW PRETTY IS THAT! <3 <3 <3

None of these ended quite like I expected and that just added to their beauty. Some have a happy ending but most don’t and that’s one of the many things I loved about this. There’s deceit, lies, betrayal, backstabbing, selfishness, and a whole lot of magic!

This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tales.

If you love a dark fairytale you’ll appreciate these. While all of these short stories take place in the Grishaverse, it’s not necessary to have read the Grisha trilogy or Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom. I think I appreciated this book all the more because I’d read the others first, but I’d still have loved it if I hadn’t. There’s something timeless about it, and if you’re a sucker for gorgeous illustrations it’s a must-read!

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