Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.
When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.
As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of misfits…if only she can find the courage to trust those she’s been taught to hate and fear.
Genre: History, mythology, super awesome audiobook
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.
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.
Author(s): Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows and Brodi Ashton
Series: The Lady Janies
Genre: Alternate History, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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
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.