Jul 31, 2019

My Blog Name in Books Tag

So I saw this fun little tag over at Captivated Reader earlier this week. She in turn found it at The Butterfly Reader. I'm not sure where it originated to be honest, because that's as far as I went in terms of searching! It's a simple enough tag, hence its title.

Simply find books in your collection, your Goodreads lists, whichever--I chose books on my shelves--whose title starts with the letters in your blog name! 

My being "a GREAT read" presented somewhat of a challenge, for I ignored all titles with "the." I wouldn't use it for my T or use the word after it for any other letter, which wow...lots of titles with "the" in them! Lol. Should you want to go around the "the" or even use it, feel free. I just wanted to make it more challenging for myself! ;)

Here it is...

a--A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

G--Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls by Victoria Laurie

R--Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi

E--Every Breath You Take by Jennifer L. Armrentrout

A--Alice by Christina Henry

T--Talon by Julie Kagawa

R--Reawakened by Colleen Houck

E--End of Days by Susan Ee

A--A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

D--Destined for an Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost

If you feel up to the challenge, consider yourself tagged!

ARC Review--#murderfunding by Gretchen McNeil

WELCOME TO WHO WANTS TO BE A PANIAC?, the latest reality TV show on the hunt for the next big-hit serial killer. But don’t worry—no one is actually going to murder anyone, as real as the fake gore and pretend murder may appear . . . uh, right?

Seventeen-year-old Becca Martinello is about to find out. When her perfectly normal soccer mom dies in a car crash, a strange girl named Stef appears to let Becca know that her deceased mom was none other than one of Alcatraz 2.0’s most popular serial killers—Molly Mauler. Soon, Becca ends up on Who Wants to Be a Painiac? to learn the truth about her mom’s connection to Molly Mauler, but things turn sinister when people are murdered IRL. Will Becca uncover dark secrets and make it out of the deadly reality show alive? Or will she get cut?

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Gretchen McNeil returns to the world of reality TV shows and publicized serial killers with #murderfunding. This is the sequel to the thrilling #murdertrending, though instead of continuing Dee and her friends’ story, it highlights a new character, one who was the daughter of one of the serial killers on Alcatraz with Dee. The danger is far from over now that the Alcatraz 2.0 show is over, in fact, it’s only just beginning!

Becca’s mother recently died and Becca is feeling lost and confused. Things aren’t easy after her mom died, especially when Becca happens to see some strange, yet rather cute girl following her around. Stef is convinced that Becca’s mom was really Molly the Mauler from Alcatraz 2.0. Becca isn’t too sure about Stef’s theory, even with the bit of evidence presented to her.

It’s not long before Becca decides to join Stef on a trip to LA to where a new reality TV show is being produced called Who Wants to be a Painaic? A show that’s very much related to what was aired before. Becca is determined to prove that her mother wasn’t Molly the Mauler, when Stef’s goal is the exact opposite. But they both aren’t nearly prepared for what the show will really be about.

I was happy to find that this book just didn’t revolve around Becca, but also included the occasional chapter told from Dee’s point of view. It helps bridge these two books together, though this is still very much Becca’s story and Dee merely play a role in it. Dee, Nyles, and Greiselda have been doing the best they can to return to a normal life, but there’s really no normalcy for them after what they went through and the fact that there are still tons of Postmaniacs who want to kill them for ending their favorite show.

This mystery was definitely different than the first one. Before we had Dee who had gone through something traumatic as a kid and how it ended up playing a key role in her current situation. Becca is more or less trying to find the ties between Molly the Mauler and her family. But the show she just landed herself on is something far more dangerous than she anticipated. For naturally, this new show is almost like the old one. Too much like the old one, in that serial killers are trying to kill Becca and the other contestants…and as you might guess, not everyone can win this particular game!

This book was intense! It’s about the same level of intensity as its predecessor, but slightly different. Everything was more mysterious like in the first one, now we know the mystery and we thought it was all over, but it clearly isn’t. This presents more questions and the like, as to who’s now running the show? The answers were surprising, but maybe not as shocking. I still feel like I have questions about everything and I am not entirely clear if this ends the story of Dee & Co. plus Becca & Co. or not. Puzzling indeed! I know Gretchen recently mentioned a companion book of sorts to this series, but it won’t really be tied to the story at large. So it’s a matter of “wait and see” to see if that will provide any answers or not. But I’m game no matter what!

As far as romance goes, there’s just the littlest of bits in it. Becca feels an immediate attraction to Stef despite not caring for her mission to prove Molly the Mauler was her mother, but it’s there all the same. Even as they grow closer things push the, back apart and it’s a back and forth kind of game until the very end. So take that as you will! It was hard to decide if I should root for them or not since their relationship was so hot and cold, but it was sweet all the same.

I think the most confusing thing about this book for me was the reveals at the end. When everything was tied together about the whodunit and whatnot. I guess I just can’t wrap my mind around the why, unless it was really as obvious as I think it was. And I’m still not clear on the cliffhanger ending we had in #murdertrending either. While it’s mentioned in here, I feel like we didn’t really get an answer. So that poses my question once more, is this the last book of the series or will there be another installment to possible shed some light on my ever confusing list of questions? Time will tell I suppose!

All in all, #murderfunding was a shocking an intense thriller that kept me on my toes while reading! I was guessing every possible angle and avenue as to all the BIG questions! It amazed me how obsessed people were with this show and it was hard at times figuring out what side they fell on with some of the things going on. This is definitely a read that will keep your head spinning, but in all the best possible ways of course!

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars

#murderfunding releases August 6, 2019


Waiting on Wednesday

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine

The witches, beasties, goblins, and Royals return in this spellbinding conclusion to New York Times best-selling author Megan Shepherd’s Grim Lovelies duology. 

Ever since she discovered her affinity for magic, seventeen-year-old Anouk has been desperate to become a witch. It’s the only way to save her friends who, like Anouk, are beasties: animals enchanted into humans. But unlike Anouk, the other beasties didn’t make it out of the battle at Montélimar in one piece.

With her friends now trapped in their animal forms, Anouk is forced into a sinister deal involving a political marriage with her sworn enemy, a wicked plot to overthrow London’s fiercest coven of witches, and a deadly trial of fire to become a witch. The price for power has always been steep in the world of the Haute. Now, it will cost Anouk everything.

Wicked and delightful, this spellbinding sequel and conclusion to Grim Lovelies is perfect for fans of The Cruel Prince and The Hazelwood Wood.

Pretty excited for this one! I liked the first book, so here's hoping the sequel is even better! And how gorgeous is this cover?! I'm in love with the colors and the little owl!

PUBLISHER: HMH Books for Young Readers
GENRE: YA Fantasy
RELEASE DATE: August 13, 2019

Jul 30, 2019

DNF Review--These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

Adeluna is a soldier. Five years ago, she helped the magic-rich island of Grace Loray overthrow its oppressor, Argrid, a country ruled by religion. But adjusting to postwar life has not been easy. When an Argridian delegate vanishes during peace talks with Grace Loray’s new Council, Argrid demands brutal justice—but Lu suspects something more dangerous is at work.

Devereux is a pirate. As one of the outlaws called stream raiders who run rampant on Grace Loray, he pirates the island’s magic plants and sells them on the black market. But after Argrid accuses raiders of the diplomat’s abduction, Vex becomes a target. An expert navigator, he agrees to help Lu find the Argridian—but the truth they uncover could be deadlier than any war.

Benat is a heretic. The crown prince of Argrid, he harbors a secret obsession with Grace Loray’s forbidden magic. When Ben’s father, the king, gives him the shocking task of reversing Argrid’s fear of magic, Ben has to decide if one prince can change a devout country—or if he’s building his own pyre.

As conspiracies arise, Lu, Vex, and Ben will have to decide who they really are . . . and what they are willing to become for peace.

I was a fan of Sara Raasch’s Snow Like Ashes trilogy that when I heard she was to have a new series that had more of a pirate theme going on, I was excited! Sadly, These Rebel Waves just didn’t live up to my expectations.

Firstly, the opening was just not enough to hook me. I felt like there was a lot of history lessons going on and I wasn’t able to grasp what was important. We did get to see some of the characters in the prologue at a young age doing something or other and what will likely put them on their path a few years down the road. I sadly couldn’t follow it. I’m not sure what happened, as I did enjoy Sara’s style in her previous books.

Perhaps the problem lied more with the story itself. I wasn’t really sure what this story was about at first other than pirates and Sara Raasch. That was enough for me to buy a copy. But once I got to reading it, I felt myself at a lull. It was just too slow of a start. I made it about 40 pages in, a little sooner than my usual 50 page mark before I threw in the towel. No sense in forcing myself to read something I am already not enjoying. I can only hope my next read will prove to be more entertaining…which since I had planned to read this series this week, I’ve no clue what I will pick up next.


ARC Review--Vow of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

Kazi and Jase have survived, stronger and more in love than ever. Their new life now lies before them―the Ballengers will be outlaws no longer, Tor's Watch will be a kingdom, and the two of them will meet all challenges side by side, together at last.

But an ominous warning mars their journey back, and in their rush to return to Tor's Watch, just outside the fortress walls, they are violently attacked and torn apart―and each is thrust into their own new hell.

Unsure whether the other is alive or dead, Kazi and Jase must keep their wits among their greatest enemies and unlikeliest allies. And all the while, Death watches and waits.

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

I was happy to return to Mary E. Pearson’s Remnant Chronicles world with Vow of Thieves. I was most excited to see how Kazi and Jase’s story would end and whoa. I could not have imagined a better story than what was written! It was truly remarkable and spellbinding. I can only hope that Mary will write another story in this realm for I truly never want to leave it!

Kazi and Jase are making progress in getting Tor’s Watch to be recognized as a kingdom, negotiations are going well with our favorite queen. In the meantime, Kazi and Jase are returning home to his kingdom, but instead of a happy reunion with his family, they are met with attackers. Something terrible has happened to Jase’s home and invaders have taken over. We’re met with a battle to end all battles, Jase is shot multiple times with arrows and Kazi is fighting to help him but is soon overtaken by the enemy.

It’s not long before Kazi is told that Jase is dead, she sees the proof with her own eyes, yet refuses to believe it. King Montegue seems to have made himself at home in Jase’s kingdom. I struggled with trying to remember how things are geographically laid out, who rules which territory/kingdom/country. I couldn’t understand why it was somehow legally okay that Montegue just took Jase’s kingdom as his own, but that’s beside the point.

Kazi, ever watchful and waiting, knows how to play this game. Let the enemy think you’re on his side before turning the tables against him. She stays his “guest” in the castle mostly to watch out for Jase’s younger siblings who the king seems to be using as his personal shield in case there were any enemies amongst the crows. The Ballengers have gone into hiding when the takeover started happening, hence the reason behind their absence. But she will not let Jase’s kingdom remain in enemy hands for long.

This book was truly exciting and breathtaking! I don’t think my heart started beating normally again until about ¾ into the book because omg!! Kazi and Jase were separated pretty much at the beginning of the novel and we’re left wondering of Jase’s fate for a good time. I mean, in a sense, you know what it will be, at least in the beginning. But man…Kazi is totally badass! Oh my god, I love this girl! She would so have to be on my team for any sort of heist because she has got serious skills! She’s got a strong sense of honor too and her loyalty knows no bounds. This girl has got game!

While there were a few faces I couldn’t quite remember in this one, I was happy to see plenty of familiar ones! The characters in this series were all amazing! They all have their own personality and no two are alike, from Kazi’s best friends, down to every sibling Jase has. The villains were villainous and you just wanted to see them burn alive! Lol. I get very passionate about characters when they are written so well! I was also elated to see some of our favorite characters from The Remnant Chronicles make an appearance as well! I was in tears at this reunion of sorts and seeing them all in their happy ending roles! Eep!!

I still see plenty of possibilities with this series! I feel like if Mary wanted to, she could easily pick up another character and spin us a new story or two or three! This world is vast and amazing, whether the characters be new ones or ones that were overlooked beforehand, I would easily pick up another book set in this world! Mary is an incredible storyteller and if you haven’t picked up one of her books yet, I would highly recommend doing so! As a side note, you can pick up this duology without having read the previous trilogy, while they are in the same world, the first set of characters only play minor roles in this duology so you wouldn’t be missing key details. But I would highly recommend reading that one anyway because it was freaking amazing too!

Vow of Thieves was a page-turning book that I never wanted to end, but like all good novels, end it must. This was a story filled with action, adventure, romance, a cast of characters you will love and hate with a burning passion. It’s a story you can easily wile away the hours with and leave reality behind. This is not a story to be overlooked or missed!

Overall Rating 5/5 stars

Vow of Thieves releases August 6, 2019


Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Purple Princess of The Purple Booker.

Here are the rules:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a page

3. Pick out 2 lines that are SPOILER FREE
4. Name the title, author, etc.

"The eye patch dropped onto the stones at his feet. Vex snatched it up and yanked it on, and the world settled enough that he heard the soldier's order.

'Put him in solitary till we can figure this out. Don't need no more fights.'

Vex kept his hand over the patch as if he could weld it to his skin.

This was not an ideal situation." p 31

TITLE: These Rebel Waves
AUTHOR: Sara Raasch
PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray
GENRE: YA Fantasy

RELEASE DATE: August 7, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week's topic is: FREEBIE: Top Ten Books I'd Want Fan Art From

*in no particular order
**also, if there happens to be fan art for any of these books, let me know in the comments! I'm just mentioning these because I haven't seen any art from my following trends!

 10. POISON STUDY by Maria V. Snyder--or any of the Study books really! It's such a lush and colorful fantasy. I'd love to see artwork of it!
9. THE EVIL QUEEN by Gena Showalter--I'd think it'd be fun to see all the classic fairy tale characters in their "new" looks found in this twisted retelling!
8. THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS by Leigh Bardugo--other than the actual art within the book, I'd love to see other renditions of the fairy tales from this one! It was such a wonderful read filled with wonderful tales!

 7. OLD MAGIC by Marianne Curley--kicking it wayyyy old school with this one, but I thought why not?! I looooved this book! More fantasy, time traveling, and magic!
6. DOON by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon--apparently most of my picks are fantasy ones! Lol.
5. REIGN OF SHADOWS by Sophie Jordan--I quite liked this Rapunzel retelling! I think there's some great art potential in this one! Both beautiful and of the terrifying monsters!

4. THE IRON KING by Julie Kagawa--more fae, more fantasy!
3. 13 TO LIFE by Shannon Delany--bring on the werewolf art!
2. THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski--especially art like the gorgeous original cover! 

1. INTERTWINED by Gena Showalter--because I can't NOT mention it!

Jul 29, 2019

ARC Review--House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn't sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh's involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it's a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Erin A. Craig’s debut House of Salt and Sorrows is a fairy tale worth waiting for! It’s a retelling of one of my most favorite fairy tales, The Twelve Dancing Princesses. It’s not as common as our other princess tales, but I read a kid version of it once and loved it! Erin’s story is quite different from the original tale, though its concepts are similar. I found I was quite enamored with this story and never wanted it to end!

Annaleigh and her sisters believe they are under a curse, they were once twelve and in the beginning of the story we learn that they are eight. Tragedy has befallen this family time after time. Their mother died many years ago and their father remarried and then sister after sister has died in some tragically devastating way. The most recent sister died by falling off a cliff, but Annaleigh thinks there is something more to the story than just a simple accident and she decides to investigate.

It’s important to know in this world, people believe in a set of entities, I’m not sure if they are considered gods and goddesses, it’s possible, but I was never really clear on that impression. They do pay homage and honor these entities, so I guess that’s considered godlike. Anyway, it’s because of their beliefs that the sisters stumbled upon a doorway for one of them. One that takes them to a magical place where there’s dancing and parties all night long. They continue to visit this magical place night after night, wearing through their shoes in one night’s time, completely baffling their father.

Then Annaleigh meets Cassius, a newcomer in town, one is her age and just the overall man of mystery persona. Annaleigh begins to lose sight of her sister’s death as she and her sisters continue their nights of dancing, but she soon finds herself focusing on the mystery once more.

This book has left me speechless! I don’t know if there’s ever been a fairy tale retelling that has taken the original fairy tale and turned the story on its head so much as this one! And I mean this in the best possible way! We have the general theme of the story remaining true, but the reasons and the mysteries behind it are so vast compared to what the original story had! Here there is magic, curses, gods, tricksters, and most of all, murder!! This book seriously had it all, all while remaining true to its fairy tale nature!

Fairy tales are where I found my love for reading! I always loved reading the magical tales that were so different from the Disney movies (lol)! This one had me feeling every fairy tale vibe that I get when reading the original ones and when an author can do that to you, you know they have real magical talent! This story enchanted me from start to finish and I am only sad that it’s over.

This story isn’t without its romance either! Cassius, our man of mystery, is the love interest for Annaleigh and let’s just say there were a few romantic interludes between these two!

Erin does a magnificent job of keeping the reader on their toes! I mentioned there’s a great deal of mystery in this one and there were so many instances I found myself falling down rabbit holes thinking one thing, only to have something occur later that shattered my theories. I loved that this one kept me guessing at every turn! It was mind-boggling and yet, I loved that about this story! I loved that I never knew what to believe! I really should remember my rules for fairy tales and never trust anything! The added fallback of knowing the fairy tale tropes helps too. Had I remembered these things, I wouldn’t have been caught off guard! Lol.

House of Salt and Sorrows was without a doubt the most magical and magnificent read I’ve read this year! It’s the kind of read fairy tale fans live for and not one of them should pass up on this read! It’s spellbinding and lyrical style will have you mesmerized from the beginning and you will not want to let go! If there’s one fairy tale book you read this year, make it this one!

Overall Rating 5/5 stars

House of Salt and Sorrows releases August 6, 2019 

Mini-ish ARC Review--The King by Jennifer L. Armentrout

From #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout comes the next installment in her Wicked series.

As Caden and Brighton's attraction grows despite the odds stacked against a happily ever after, they must work together to stop an Ancient fae from releasing the Queen, who wants nothing more than to see Caden become the evil Prince once feared by fae and mortals alike.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you'll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

I received this ARC from Inkslinger PR in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

I was elated to know that Jennifer L. Armentrout returns yet again to the world of Wicked with The King and writes yet another novella that stars Caden and Brighton! Their story was far from finished in the first novella and the story only gets even more exciting from here! And I'm pretty sure there's another novella next year, because OH MY GOD!!! 

When we last left Bri and Caden things were complicated, Caden had given her the coldest of shoulders after ascending to his Kingly status. Bri had given her heart to him and he basically crushed it in front of her. Nevertheless, she moves on and continues her hunt for Aric, the remaining fae she has yet to kill for the death of her mother. But her attempts get waylaid when Caden decides to make things complicated for her. It seems despite brushing her off, he can't seem to leave her alone.

Caden wants Bri to give up her hunt for Aric, promising that he will exact vengeance for her when he kills Aric. But it's just not enough for Bri and basically, this causes yet another rift between them, as if the first rift wasn't big enough. Despite their arguing, they continue to grow closer to one another and Caden seems to be content to stay in Bri's life...even if he decides to make things more difficult for her.

Wow. Just wow. Jennifer has always written amazing novels and this holds true for her writing novellas as well! I'm pretty sure her grocery list would be a five star read as well! Lol. Soooo much happened in this little story that it held me completely riveted! After a certain event takes place, I was starting to wonder if Jennifer would wrap things up in this novella or not and well...let's just say there HAS to be a third novella in the works because OH MY GOD!!!

Needless to say that The King was yet another completely breathtaking read! Such a short story combined with action, suspense, intrigue, and a legit spine-tingling romance that leaves you absolutely desperate for more! The story really packs an emotional punch on a few levels here. It gets a little dark and intense in some areas, so be advised about that. I can't say more for spoiler reasons, but did want to advise readers because I know some may not care for that type of darkness. Despite some dark areas, I felt like this was an incredibly amazing story! There was quite a deal of character growth too in this one that will lead to quite the storytelling in the next installment, as I refuse to believe there won't be another.

If you've read The Prince, you already know you will need to read this one! It was absolutely amazing! I really liked how Jennifer took this character from the Wicked trilogy and made him a character you could root for! This story had everything in it that a reader could hope for, now to wait ever so (not) patiently for the next installment!

Overall Rating 5/5 stars

About the Author:

# 1 New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a fun meme where we gather to share what we've read last week and our reading plans for this week.

Last Week I Read:

The Eyes of Tamburah by Maria V. Snyder (5 stars)

About to FINALLY Start Reading:

These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

What I Plan to Read Next:

These Divided Shores by Sara Raasch

Other Posts of Interest:

Jul 28, 2019

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! The meme is now hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality.

I've survived yet another week of misery. I so so so SOOOOO hate the interviewing process of life. They are slow to come and then there's never any call backs or notice about what's going on. I try not to be that pesky person who calls too much. I've had to deal with a few of those myself and always told them that we would call when we were ready to move forward. It's just so very, very hard. I'm hoping the right job will come my way sooner rather than later. Fingers crossed!

The week wasn't too bad for books though...check it out!

Fated for Felony by Victoria Laurie--I am still a few books behind but apparently Victoria's publisher didn't buy more books because she self-published this one. But it looks like she still had the same cover artist contribute art! I can't wait to get caught up with this series!
The King by Jennifer L. Armentrout--keeper copy

And of course the creme de la creme were these beauties:

Bulgarian editions of Caraval and Legendary by Stephanie Garber! Was SUPER PSYCHED that I was able to successfully order these babies!
For review from the author I received:
Zero Repeat Forever by G.S. Prendergast--SIGNED!
THANK YOU Gabrielle!
And then my latest impulse purchase was this:
 This super cool tye-dyed spirit jersey from, you guessed it, The Disney Store! It's a Hocous Pocus one with the famous words of Sarah Sanderson bedazzled in gold script on the back!
And that was my week! What did you all get?

Jul 26, 2019

Review--The Eyes of Tamburah by Maria V. Snyder

Treasure hunting has never been more dangerous... Tomb Raider meets Poison Study!

New York Times bestselling author Maria Snyder begins an action-packed new fantasy series.

'He thinks you are the thief...'

Shyla is a researcher who resides in the underground desert city of Zirdai, which is ruled by the wealthy Water Prince and brutal Heliacal Priestess. Even though Shyla is sun-kissed - an outcast, considered cursed by the Sun Goddess - she is still renowned for uncovering innumerable archaic facts, lost artefacts, ancient maps, and obscure historical documents. Her quiet life is about to change when Banqui, an archaeologist, enlists her services to find The Eyes of Tamburah: legendary gemstones that bestows great magic to its wielder. These ancient objects can tip the balance of power and give whoever possesses them complete control of the city.

But chaos erupts when The Eyes are stolen soon after they're found - and Shyla is blamed for the theft. Forced to flee, with the Prince's soldiers and the Priestess' deacons on her trail, Shyla must recover the jewels and clear her name. A quest that will unearth secrets even more valuable than The Eyes of Tamburah themselves...

Maria V. Snyder returns to the world of fantasy with shiny new series, entitled The Archives of the Invisible Sword! The Eyes of Tamburah starts off with a roaring bang and it’s not going to let up anytime soon, if I know Maria, and I do! This new fantasy world is not like one she’s written before and I have to say I like the new atmosphere, even if I would never want to visit myself, because heat! Lol.

Shyla is what you would call an artifact finder. She’s got an eye for detail and can help people find whatever treasure they are looking for, for a price. When her only friend, Banqui, comes to her needing help finding the mythical Eyes of Tamburah, she is quick to help. Banqui is terrified that the Water Prince will have him imprisoned, or worse, if he doesn’t find the Eyes soon and give them over to him. Shyla is on the job whether she wants to or not when Banqui is imprisoned.

The story soon takes us on quiet the search for these magical Eyes. Shyla isn’t too sure she believes in magic, but she’ll do whatever it takes to help her friend. She’s got a lot going against her, firstly is that she’s a “Sun-Kissed” meaning her hair is yellow like the sun when everyone else in the realm of Zirdai has dark colored hair. Shyla should’ve been sacrificed to the Sun Goddess as a baby, but was rescued by monks who raised her until she was old enough to set off on her own when she refused to take on the life of a monk herself. She’s seen as an outsider among her own people because of this and is looked down upon more often than not.

Then there’s the Heliacal Priestess to deal with as well, who also wants Shyla to find the Eyes but give them to her instead of the Water Prince and she’d agree to release Banqui from his prison. Not sure who she should trust in this dangerous situation, Shyla knows she’ll have to keep her guard up at all times.

The Water Prince sends his head guard, Rendor with Shyla on her quest and naturally, Shyla is hesitant with him as well. The Eyes that she is looking for are very powerful indeed and people are willing to kill to get them. So even if she does find them, she will have to safeguard them if she ever hopes to rescue her friend.

During her search, she catches wind of a mythical group called the Invisible Sword who was rumored to have the Eyes a long time ago. She figures if she can learn about who this group used to be and where they might have gathered, she might find more clues as to where the Eyes could be. Though it would appear the secret group wasn’t quite dead like everyone had thought…

*cue dramatic music*

Needless to say that this book really keeps a reader on their toes! You never really knew who you could trust in this story! Since Shyla was our main character, we were always aware that she was among the trustworthy, but everyone else was fair game! I have reader whiplash from all the back and forth I had going with these characters! But I honestly wouldn’t have had it any other way!

This book was a different kind of fantasy than Maria’s previous Study books—which you all know how much I adored those—but it was just as magical and enchanting as they were. It will be interesting to see what will happen in the next book as there were a LOT of developments in this one! Ones I can’t divulge in for spoiler reasons, obviously, but will happy to bring up again come next year! Lol.

I’m happy to say that Maria’s new cast of characters here have traits of her previous characters that I loved before! Such as Shyla being a bit of a smart-mouth and one not to back down from a challenge. A mysterious and swoonworthy hero known as Rendor who continued to confound me as much as he did Shyla. And a few other characters who had me grinning at little antics and such. Maria has always known how to write loveable characters, this is proven again and again with every new book she writes! So it’s pretty much a fact of life now, in case you were new to her books!

Though being categorized as a YA book, this one kind of falls under both YA and adult, much like Maria’s Study series did. In the US that series was shelved in adult, while I believe the UK shelved it as YA. It’s definitely a mature YA to say the least. While there is nothing graphic or sexual in nature happening, besides some steamy tension filled moments here and there, there is quite a bit of violence. So if that’s something you’re wary of in reading, be aware that is happens in here. Not so much as abuse, but actual “I’ll kill you” type violence! There might have been one or two close calls of a deeper kind of abuse, but it was more a possibility of it happening then it every actually happening. Just wanted readers to be aware of that before reading. The violence is what you would expect of a fantasy read, let’s just say that!

The Eyes of Tamburah is a fast favorite for me! Pretty much everything Maria writes is a favorite and her newest story proved no different! It’s an exciting story set in a new kind of fantasy land that is sure to have you craving blue skies and green grass! But it’s fun taking a walk on the wild side every now and then…even if it is several feet below ground! If you’re looking for an exciting new fantasy to read that will have you entertained from the getgo and breathless for more by the end, look no further than The Eyes of Tamburah!

Overall Rating 5/5 stars