Friday, May 27, 2016

TOUR: Memories of Ash

Pages: 363
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Publication Date: May 30, 2016
Initial Reaction:
In the year since she cast her sunbolt, Hitomi has recovered only a handful of memories. But the truths of the past have a tendency to come calling, and an isolated mountain fastness can offer only so much shelter. When the High Council of Mages summons Brigit Stormwind to stand trial for treason, Hitomi knows her mentor won’t return—not with Arch Mage Blackflame behind the charges.
Armed only with her magic and her wits, Hitomi vows to free her mentor from unjust imprisonment. She must traverse spell-cursed lands and barren deserts, facing powerful ancient enchantments and navigating bitter enmities, as she races to reach the High Council. There, she reunites with old friends, planning a rescue equal parts magic and trickery.
If she succeeds, Hitomi will be hunted the rest of her life. If she fails, she’ll face the ultimate punishment: enslavement to the High Council, her magic slowly drained until she dies.

Sunbolt (Book 1) Amazon
The first book in this series ended on a note that left me wanting more. Memories of Ash picks up with Hitomi living with Brigit Stormwind and honing her magic under the High Mage's guidance. The peaceful environment is disrupted when Stormwind is charged with treason and convicted by the Arch Mage Blackflame who played a key role in Hitomi's experience in the first book. Hitomi decides to travel to where the High Council of Mages resides to try to save her mentor and regain the memories she lost after she cast her sunbolt. 

Sunbolt gave us a glimpse of the Eleven Kingdoms and in Memories of Ash gives us a wider tour of the Kingdoms from the desert to the Mage School where the council is currently residing. We are also given more insight into the structure of mages and the Council as well as the sheer power of Blackflame. On the topic of Blackflame, he continues to embody the role of the greedy, power hungry villain and continues to terrorize every opponent he has.

Hitomi really gets an opportunity to re-develop her character and recover her memories. She strengthens her inner resolve and power and comes into contact with so many different people who are equally as complex. It was really interesting to see how Intisar Khanani made the villain of the story sort of flat and typical and created these three dimensional characters that contributed a lot to the story. You're constantly left guessing to see who will help or hurt her because each character has a place where their loyalties lie and you don't know what they will do.

I have to admit that my favorite part of this novel was being reunited with some of the old characters because Sunbolt did a great job in just giving us a glimpse of the characters and leaves you wanting more develop in those relationships, especially since she lost her memories. When Kenta showed up I was so happy and then Val. I really loved how Intisar Khanani just developed those relationships and the characters. 

While the first book ended on a note that left me satisfied but intrigued to find out more, Memories of Ash leaves me desperately wanting more. With all the events that happened in this book, I'm so interested in finding out more and exploring more of the Kingdoms.

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Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. She has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. Intisar's current projects include a companion trilogy to Thorn, featuring the heroine introduced in her free short story The Bone Knife, and The Sunbolt Chronicles.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

ISBN: 0545424968
Pages: 391
Source: Library
Publication Date: October 21, 2014
Initial Reaction:
There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up. 
Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs. 
The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.
Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.
What is the meaning of life anymore? I have no idea after reading this book because my mind is floating somewhere in space and my heart is shattered. This book is just pure genius. When I first read The Dream Thieves, I wasn't too blown away because it just felt like a lot of planning and not a lot of happening, but all that planning was worth it because Maggie Stiefvater takes everything and sets it into motion. The quest to find Glendower begins to pick up speed and everything from the three sleepers, Mauara's disappearance, and Greenmantle's appearance just made the whole story so gripping.

“Humans were so circular; they lived the same slow cycles of joy and misery over and over, never learning. Every lesson in the universe had to be taught billions of times, and it never stuck.Maybe it was good that the world forgot every lesson, every good and bad memory, every triumph and failure, all of it dying with each generation. Perhaps this cultural amnesia spared them all. Perhaps if they remembered everything, hope would die instead.” 

I don't think I've ever loved so many characters with so much passion at the exact same time. Every single Raven Boy is so incredibly precious and beautiful and I'm literally terrified of what the ending is going to bring. Blue's relationship with each boy is so heartbreaking and I don't know what is going to happen and it scares me so much. This book also introduces some new characters who immediately stole my heart, in particular Jesse Dittley who talks in ALL CAPS and that small detail literally made my day. Maggie Stiefvater just brings these characters to life and makes them so unique and beautiful that it's impossible not to love them.

“It kills Dittleys and does terrible things to my friend." (Blue)
"That's not his fault. Why didn't you say you could see him?"
"But I'm not dead."

The ending of this book nearly killed me. It was so unexpected and scary because so many things could happen and the way Maggie Stiefvater ended it nearly gave me a heart attack. With that being said, I have the Raven King and I've started it. Well, I've read the prologue and almost cried with the first sentence. I loved this book so much and I'm afraid to continue but I need to know what happens and I just hope my babies stay alive.

4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

9 Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed

Hello everyone! Welcome to this week's Top Ten Tuesday or in my case Top Nine because I never come with ten responses. In my defense, nine just looks more aesthetically pleasing but anyway, I had to really scroll through Goodreads to find my answers to this and I think I have a good variety :)

207340021208427822544764The Weight of Feathers by Anna Marie McLemore - I picked this book up because a lot of people made comparisons to the Night Circus which is also on my list. At first glance, this book was definitely interesting but it took a while after I finished reading to really get the full impact.
City of A Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster - This book and its sequel was one of those stories that I didn't really find interesting at first but there was that one moment at the end that just got me. I honestly could not stop thinking and talking about this book for weeks after finishing it.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik - I really enjoyed Uprooted when I read it but I cannot stop thinking about it. The writing it just so incredibly amazing and the plot is so complex that I'm constantly trying to figure things out.

A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon - This book dragged on forever in the beginning. Don't get me wrong, I loved the vivid descriptions of everything but it seemed like nothing was happening. And then everything exploded and I could not stop thinking about this, I still can't stop talking about it.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - When I read The Night Circus, I was in the mood for something with a bit more action and I confess that a lot of the beautiful words just drifted over my head, but since then I've gone back and read excerpts and taken the time to appreciate the beautiful writing style.
The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe - I read this such a long time ago and at the beginning I was confused out of my mind and honestly a bit bored as well but there was that twist at the end that just blew my mind apart. I really need to continue this trilogy, I got the second book for review and I really need to get to it.

Kingdom of Gods by N.K. Jemisin - To be honest I haven't finished this book yet. When I started the Inheritance Trilogy I got swept up in the world of servant gods and messy politics and I loved it. The second book was a bit of a let down but I was determined to love the last book. I got maybe a hundred pages through and I just had to put it down but I planned to get right back to it. Now...I don't think I'm interested in reading and I'm probably going to move on to another one of her series because she's still one of my favorites. 
Beyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks - This is another one that I didn't finish and honestly I was so disappointed. I loved the first two books even though it's a lot darker than I'm used to. This book, I could not finish because the main character just got on my nerves and I had no investment in anything that was going on. I still want to pick up Brent Week's other series but as for this one, I think I'm letting it go. 
The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter - This is unintentional but this book is also the third in a series BUT I did finish it. I started the Goddess Test trilogy for a readathon and at first I was really enjoying it. Then the main character did a complete 360 and I could not understand anything she was doing. I have review notes for the entire trilogy but I haven't had the interest to write it out yet...

So that's my list! Let me know what books made it on yours and which ones you ended up loving or hating as time went on!

Foreverly Obsessed,

Saturday, May 21, 2016

TOUR: The Midnight Sea

ISBN: 0997236213
Pages: 326
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Publication Date: March 26, 2016
Initial Reaction:

They are the light against the darkness.

The steel against the necromancy of the Druj.
And they use demons to hunt demons….
Nazafareen lives for revenge. A girl of the isolated Four-Legs Clan, all she knows about the King's elite Water Dogs is that they leash wicked creatures called daevas to protect the empire from the Undead. But when scouts arrive to recruit young people with the gift, she leaps at the chance to join their ranks. To hunt the monsters that killed her sister.
Scarred by grief, she's willing to pay any price, even if it requires linking with a daeva named Darius. Human in body, he's possessed of a terrifying power, one that Nazafareen controls. But the golden cuffs that join them have an unwanted side effect. Each experiences the other's emotions, and human and daeva start to grow dangerously close.
As they pursue a deadly foe across the arid waste of the Great Salt Plain to the glittering capital of Persepolae, unearthing the secrets of Darius's past along the way, Nazafareen is forced to question his slavery—and her own loyalty to the empire. But with an ancient evil stirring in the north, and a young conqueror sweeping in from the west, the fate of an entire civilization may be at stake…
 I don't know what I was expecting when I picked up this book but words cannot describe how incredible this book was. We follow Nazafareen who wants nothing more than revenge against the demonic Drujs who killed her sister when she was younger. She decides to enlist to become a Water Dog, the Empire's elite group of fighters who travel around destroying the demons with their kin.The only downside of becoming a Water Dog is that she has to become bonded with a daeva, but it is a price she is willing to take if she can avenge her sister. Once her training has been completed and she begins to go out on missions, she discovers that the Empire and religion she has sworn to obey might not be as virtuous as they seem. 

It took me the longest time to piece together that this was based and loosely inspired by Alexander the Great and his conquests. I honestly completely skipped over the Greek and Persian references and the fact that it was inspired by history and the culture of that time period just amazes me so much. When I read the Author's Note at the back, it was like this lightbulb just clicked and this story became 10x as awesome. 

Before I pieced everything together, this story contained so many surprises that even if I never figured it out, I still would be amazed. Kat Ross has created this rich culture that just comes to life before your eyes. That coupled with the amazing characters is enough to make any story stand out. Nazafareen is such a complex character who joined with a single motive but grows to question what she has been taught and develops her own ideas and loyalties throughout the story. While she can be a bit stubborn at times, she learns and grows from her mistakes. I can't mention Nazafareen without mentioning her daeva Darius. I wish we could have gotten more from him but the brief moments we did get revealed his complex nature and shows that different dimensions that Nazafareen didn't think daevas had. I don't really know how to describe daevas but they are relatives of the Druj that the Water Dogs hunt but they are essentially bred in the "way of the Fire" and taught to suppress their "demonic" nature.

There are so many characters that I don't know how to get to them all but I must mention Ilyas if for nothing than the fact that I am so torn between feeling so sorry for him and absolutely hating him. He's honestly a blind follower and I can't quite place what wrong with him but after some events, he becomes a shell of himself and just creates so much devastation. Then we have Tijah, a girl who escaped an arranged marriage to become a Water Dog. Her relationship with her daeva Myrri is the first example Nazafareen sees of a daeva being more than a demon. 

I don't know what else I can say without giving away the overall story and I definitely feel like this is one that you have to go into it not knowing too much because the discovery adds so much to the experience. Needless to say, I was very pleasantly surprised with this and I cannot wait for the release of the second book because I need to know what happens next!

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Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She lives in Westchester with her kid and a few sleepy cats. Kat is also the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day (Skyscape, 2014), about a world where the sea levels have risen sixty meters. She loves magic, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Preferably with mutants.
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4 out of 5 stars

Friday, May 20, 2016

TOUR: Moorigad Trilogy

ISBN: 1942191138
Pages: 492
Source: YA Bound Book Tours
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Initial Reaction:
When Kyra, the Moorigad dragon-shifter, unwittingly finds herself at Mystic’s Carnival, a supernatural world between realms, she believes her runaway days are finished. Amidst the carnies and never-ending magic, she finds a home of the heart – friends and belonging among a gathering of paranormal beings. However, living an uncomplicated life was never one of Kyra’s strengths. She’s falling for her all-too-secretive best friend, Sebastian. And as she delves deeper into his mysteries, her goodwill sabotages their future and her very existence.
Note: This is an omnibus edition of the entire trilogy - individual Goodreads links:
I mentioned that I was in the mood for a good dragon story and completely forgot that I had signed up for this blog tour. I didn't know what I was expecting when I picked up this trilogy but I got completely swept up in the world of the Mystic Carnival with its paranormal creatures and alluring story line. Kyra is Moorigad dragon, the daughter of a powerful Fire Dragon and Ice Dragon. She finds herself at the Mystic Carnival when she runs away from her parents and their demands for her to choose a side. While she's there, she unravels the mysteries surround the Carnival and those who call it home.

It's kind of hard trying to tell you my thoughts on this trilogy as a whole without spoiling specific parts to each individual story. I'm actually really glad I got to read the entire trilogy in one go as if it was one story because there were just some crazy cliffhangers that literally made me want to cry out in frustration before I realized if I just swiped to the next page I could keep on reading. The first story sets up the overall idea of the entire trilogy and honestly I got a bit confused at the end because so many things were happening and I couldn't set things straight. About a quarter through the second book, everything clicked and it was this huge "OMG" moment which, looking back on it, was kind of funny. 

Kyra literally went to hell and back over the course of the story and she had to fight to regain her identity. I honestly don't even know why I ever thought a love triangle was possible because you find out very clearly that one potential suitor is a complete nut job and needs to be isolated before he takes over the world. Sebastian and Marcus are the two guys in question and I don't really want to talk about my reactions to them because I don't want to give anything away but like I said, you learn pretty fast which guy is a psycho.

The story line was a bit difficult to follow at times, I'm just not cut out for dragon politics and all this fighting to become the ruling clan and whatnot just made my head spin. I did like the line that Kyra said at the end about the Age of Moorigad and that it was time for those uptight dragons to accept change and those who might be different or in her case, have two types of dragons. 

I wanted a dragon story and I definitely got one. This trilogy is action packed and fun which I definitely enjoyed. Other than my head spinning a couple of times, the plot was well developed and I promise you'll be intrigued from start to finish. 

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Live in reality. Play on the other side. 
Debra Kristi is a paranormal and fantasy writer. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children and and three schizophrenic cats. She’s a full-time kid chaser, video game maker's wife, and muse prompted writer. Unlike the characters she often writes, she is not immortal and her only super power is letting the dishes and laundry pile up. When not writing, Debra is hanging out creating priceless memories with her family, geeking out to science fiction and fantasy television, and tossing around movie quotes. 
“She writes because the dead girl told her to.” 

Author Links:
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3.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

9 Books I Picked Up on a Whim

Hello everyone! It's been a while since I've posted a Top Ten Tuesday so I decided to get back into it with this week's topic. I had to do some scrolling through Goodreads but I have a list!

Eleanor by Jason Gurley - Is anyone surprised that this is on my list? I took one look at the cover, read the synopsis and just decided to pick it up and read it without looking at any reviews and I'm so glad I did. (Review)
The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough - I heard some things about this book before picking it up but I didn't really pay much attention to what people were saying. My main motivation for picking this one up was the comparison to The Night Circus which I really enjoyed. (Review)
The Weight of Feathers by Anna Marie McLemore - This is another book that gave me some Night Circus vibes with a touch of Romeo and Juliet mixed in. Also, that cover is so gorgeous I needed to pick it up and the writing!! (Review)

Jane's Melody by Ryan Winfield - This is one of those novels that I didn't hear anything about but I saw it at my library and it looked so pretty so I picked it up. Looking at the synopsis, it's definitely not something I would read but it ended up being a really touching story. (Review)
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen - I read the synopsis of this book at the library and the words Robin Hood grabbed my attention so I decided to give it a shot. Three books later, this is definitely ranked high on my list of favorite trilogies. (Review)
Incarnation by Emma Cornwall - To be completely honest, I read one word in the summary and picked it up: Mordred. I can't remember when I read this book but I have a feeling it was post BBC Merlin finale. (Review)

City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster - I remember picking this book up from the library and reading the class systems on the first couple of pages and being super intrigued but it took me a while to actually pick it up to read. While reading, I wasn't super blown away but the minute I put the book down, I could not get it out of my mind. (Review)
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge - I read Cruel Beauty and while I enjoyed it, I was way to confused. Crimson Bound came out in 2015 and I just ignored all the talk surrounding the novel because I wasn't interested. For some strange reason, I decided to pick it up and holy smokes my mind was blown. (Review)
Born at Midnight by CC Hunter - I have no idea why I picked this book or this series up. I'm not a huge fan of paranormal and from what I remember, the library had all the books and I felt like marathoning something. This series was a complete pleasant surprise and I still have to read the spin-off series. (Review)

So that's my list! Let me know what books made it on your list and which ones I should check out!