Book List 2018, Reviews

Review: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

norse mythologyTitle: Norse Mythology

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: History, mythology, super awesome audiobook

Summary:

Neil Gaiman, long inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction, presents a bravura rendition of the Norse gods and their world from their origin though their upheaval in Ragnarok. 

In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki—son of a giant—blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.

Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose, these gods emerge with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

My Thoughts:

Oh my gods. This is one of the best books I’ve read and the best audiobook I have ever listened to.

I now own a full Neil Gaiman audiobook collection because this man is so nice to listen to. His care for his writing and subject matter really does shine through in his reading of this work.

I have long loved reading about the different myths, and legends from other countries, and did read rather extensively about the Norse Gods when I was in college, but this was one of the most wonderful re-tellings I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.

There is no dryness to this writing, but rather life is breathed into every tale, injected with humour and tragedy where needed. The Gods come to life in a way they have not in many years, and with it a different point of view of Norse life.

I would recommend this to anyone who loves Gaiman, mythology, or just plain good literature.

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Book List 2018, Reviews

Review: My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows and Brodi Ashton

my plain janesTitle: My Plain Jane

Author(s): Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows and Brodi Ashton

Series: The Lady Janies

Genre: Alternate History, Historical Fiction, Fantasy

Summary: 

You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)

Or does she?

Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights

My Thoughts:

I wish I could express to you how much I was excited about this book, and I mean truly, mind-numbingly excited. I absolutely loved the first book, I read it four times in the last year because it was  so humorous, and the story was woven so tightly I could hardly find fault with it.

This book was good. Please do not think that I didn’t enjoy it because I did. But…I didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as I had enjoyed the first one.

The parts I wanted more of (the ghost hunting adventures), I got very little of, and wished it had been expanded upon. The parts I could’ve done with a little bit less of (the actual plot of Jane Eyre) I got too much of.

I did like the twist on the story, but it wasn’t as twisty as some of my other favourite Jane Eyre works (The Eyre Affair for example), and the character I actually enjoyed the most was Charlotte Bronte, I was left with very little interest in Jane herself.

The characters alongside Jane are enough to keep the book going, and the end truly does build to a rather satisfying climax, but it’s just not quite enough.

Now a novel with more of Charlie and Blackwood? I would be behind that in a second.

And as for the next book, My Calamity Jane? I can’t freaking wait to read that one.

 

Book List 2018

Review: A Touch of Magic by Isabelle Adler

a touch of magicTitle: A Touch of Magic

Author: Isabelle Adler

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQ Romance

Summary: After returning to the straight and narrow, Cary Westfield hopes to rebuild his life as a stage magician. Only thing is, the success of his new show is entirely dependent on a strange medallion inherited from his late grandfather—an amulet that holds a rare and inexplicable power to captivate the wearer’s audience.

Ty prides himself on his ability to obtain any item of magical significance—for the right price. When a mysterious client hires him to steal a magical amulet from a neophyte illusionist, he’s sure it will be a quick and easy job, earning him a nice chunk of cash.

As it turns out, nothing is sure when greed and powerful magic are at play. When a mob boss with far-reaching aspirations beats Ty to the snatch, Cary and Ty form an unlikely partnership to get the amulet back. The unexpected spark of attraction between them is a welcome perk, but each man has his own plan for the prize.

All bets are off, however, when it is revealed the magical amulet holds a darker secret than either of them had bargained for.

Review:

This is a book I wish there was more of. It was good as is, but it left me a little bit hungry for more, in particular for learning more about the characters within.

Ty is an enigma, wrapped in a….no I’m just kidding. He’s a bad boy with a heart of gold and I do truly love him. He’s lovely, and he might possibly have an inkling of it.

Cary is a sweetheart, but definitely not as sweet as he seems. He’s a total secret badass.

My favourite character though was definitely Bas, who is flamboyant and interesting in equal measures.

This book is a fun heist-like romp. I thoroughly enjoyed those parts of it, but this book is not the greatest if you are looking for slow-burn romance. But if you’re looking for instant attraction, and gratification then this is definitely the book for you.

I’m excited to see this universe expand, and the magic within it to do so as well.

Received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

 

Book List 2018

Review: Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

fawkes
Gorgeous cover art is always a plus!

Title: Fawkes

Author: Nadine Brandes

Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Fantasy

Release Date: 10 July, 2018

Summary: 

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

Review: 

This book has so much in it that I love, so I’m just going to start with that. I’ve been a fan of YA fantasy since…well since I was the age that YA is usually geared towards. However it was very rare that something as good as this came along, especially something that included real life historical events.

The plot of this book comes together really well, winding the historical facts in with the fiction, and the fantasy weaving it all together in one beautifully written package.

The magic within the book is encompassing and wonderful. It was interesting to read how the masks help the users control, or invigorate their magic.

The writing in this book, and the descriptive nature carried me through the streets of London at a time very different from now. It had me clutching my eReader in fear for Thomas, a character I grew to care about extremely quickly.

This is definitely one of my favourite books I’ve read this year. I wished for more the minute I turned the last page, and then proceeded to order a copy to be delivered to myself on release day. After all I am definitely going to lend it to everyone I know as soon as I can.

And I will be reading more of Nadine Brandes’ books for as long as she keeps writing.

Received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

 

Book List 2018

Review: Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

wild beauty.jpgTitle: Wild Beauty

Author: Anna-Marie McLemore

Genre: Fantasy

Summary: For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

Favourite Quotes: 

“Even in its first faint traces, love could alter a landscape. It wrote unimagined stories and made the most beautiful, forbidding places.”

“As though their daughters loving men and women meant they wanted all of them in the world. There was no way to tell their mothers the truth and make them believe it, that hearts that loved boys and girls were no more reckless or easily won than any other heart. They loved who they loved. They broke how they broke.”

Review:

This book is just as beautiful as it’s cover, and filled with so much emotion that it was palpable. McLemore has a style that is all her own, mixing a contemporary writing style with that of all the classic fairy tales.

It runs the gamut of emotions, from happiness, to grief, and everything in between, but within it all is a thread of hope. It will make you feel for the characters within, and make you want to wrap your arms around them and hold them to make it a little better, if you can.

This is also a really good introduction to magical realism for those who might not have been interested in the genre before, as it is written in a way that gently guides you into the journey that these characters are going to, without seeming too overtly strange or otherworldly.

The characters are individual, and their struggles are painful, agonizing, really, and they are written so realistically. This book is just awesome.

 

Book List 2017

Review: (Un)Masked by Anyta Sunday and Andy Gallo

Un-masked-fTitle: (Un)Masked

Authors: Anyta Sunday and Andy Gallo (self-published)

Genre: M/M paranormal romance, magical realism, new adult

Buy it here

Summary: 

Jay Walker has two wishes: to perform the play of his dreams alongside his best friend at Wellington’s Tory Street Theatre, and to meet that special someone. Someone he’d go to the ends of the earth for. Someone who might only exist in fairy tales.

When Jay meets accordion busker Lethe Cross, it’s like living a dream come true. Lethe’s music captivates Jay, and he resolves to meet the man who plays so beautifully. But then he discovers Lethe’s life is more like a nightmare. The phrase “down on his luck” can’t begin to cover it. Determined to help, Jay does some snooping for answers—and winds up on the wrong end of a centuries-old curse. The good news is there’s a way to break it. The bad news is it might cost Jay his life

Excerpt:

His music sailed over me, beautiful, seductive; the call of a siren—and I went willingly.

He stood on a concrete wall dividing the beach and pavement, cutting notes into a thousand beautiful fragments that the air caught and whipped around me.

His hips twisted and his fingers slid over the accordion keyboard as he commanded the bellows.  Like magic, the disappointment that had clung to me all morning dulled, and I sank against a pylon across and watched him. Watched, and wished the lip of the hoodie he wore would lift so I could see his face.

He swayed with the music, and I glimpsed blond hair and a scar splitting one brow.

Nearer and nearer, I inched, until I stood before him.

His song ended abruptly, and he stared down at me with haunted, tired eyes.

I opened my mouth to ask him to play again, to tell him he was truly talented, but he jumped onto the beach and fled.

My soul prickled, and I knew I would never be the same again.

One never was, when death lurked nearby.

Continue reading “Review: (Un)Masked by Anyta Sunday and Andy Gallo”

Book List 2017, Reviews

Review: “Omens” by Kelley Armstrong

omens

Title: Omens

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Genre: Defies all genre but it’s fantasy, horror, suspense and mystery all rolled into one if you’re going to force me to label it.

Summary: 

Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions.

But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancé, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.

Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.

Aided by her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia focuses on the Larsens’ last crime, the one her birth mother swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel start investigating the case, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. Because there are darker secrets behind her new home and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.

Continue reading “Review: “Omens” by Kelley Armstrong”

Book List 2016, Reviews

Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

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Overall Rating: ★★★★

This seems to be one of the most polarizing tales in this universe. You will notice I do not say novel, because what some people seem to forget is that this is NOT a novel. It is the script of a play which, let’s face it, most of us will be unable to see as it seems to be sold out for the next two year.

Cut due to spoilers.

Continue reading “Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”

Book List 2016, Reviews

Review: The Orange Cat and Other Cainsville Tales by Kelley Armstrong

40

Overall Rating: ★★★★

I love Liv. I really love Liv and so I was glad to be able to get a sneak peak at her life as she travels through Cape Breton with Ricky (who I also love, but maybe not as much as Gabriel). The two of them of course find trouble, because what does Liv do except find trouble?

The chemistry between the two is there, the sex scenes are something I kind of skimmed past because it’s not really my thing though I hear they’re excellent and the games the two play are amusing. This is a lovely little addition to the Cainsville world.

Book List 2014, Reviews

Review: An Echo in the Bone and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood Combined Review

I hate to say this, perhaps because I am so late to the game when it comes to Diana Gabaldon and the Outlander series but I have never been so glad I waited so long to read a series.

an echo in the boneThe simple reason is this, if I had had to wait so long after An Echo in the Bone to read Written in My Own Heart’s Blood I would’ve gone insane. Seriously.

So here are my thoughts in no particular order.

 

 

 

  • Diana Gabaldon continues to handle the world her characters live in with grace and respect.
  • It is still so insanely well researched and I am so impressed by the depth of the research.
  • The suspense in these two novels in particular had me turning the pages rapidly in search of what would happen next.
  • Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser remains one of my favourite characters.
  • Jamie Fraser is still one of my favourites as well. That Bloody Man.
  • Ian appears to grow more and more with each novel which makes me happy.
  • It was refreshing to learn a little bit more about the quakers as admittedly that is not something I’m too familiar with but these two books left me wanting to learn more about that lifestyle in particular during that time in history.
  • William aggravated me in the beginning of MOBY but by the end I wanted to hear more about him.
  • I am charmed by these books and everything that occurs within them. While some people do complain about what they see as filler in the every day life chapters I actually enjoy them quite a bit because it makes everything a touch more realistic.
  • I can’t wait to read the next book, though I know I’ll have to wait four more years.

written in my own hearts bloodI have never been more happy, or moved so quickly through books of this size in a very long time. I’m enjoying it quite a lot.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes books about time travel, who likes fantasy, or historical fantasy or just loves being dragged into a book by a plot that just doesn’t want to let you go, and you don’t want to let go of it.