Review of Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan

Rating: 3/5

Recommend: Maybe

Review:

I think this might be the lowest rating I’ve ever given a Marie Brennan book. Which makes me kind of sad, although even with the lower rating I did highly enjoy this book! It started off a bit slow and I had a really hard time getting into the story, but the last half more than made up for it.

At first I didn’t particularly care for most of the characters. It was hard to connect with any of them. But as I got to know them all better, I saw all the complexities and development. Lune in particular grew on me so much. She was definitely one of my favorites by the end.

And again with the plot, I had a hard time at first. The beginning moved really slow for me and I couldn’t quite figure out what was happening. Maybe my brain just wasn’t in the mood for this type of book at first. Because it’s definitely well-written and the last half was so great. So my initial issues could have been partially my own fault too.

All that being said, I would still probably recommend this book to fantasy fans. I loved the mixture of real history and magic. It was so cool, and a little bit creepy at the same time. I’m interested to see what happens in the rest of the series!

Review of Light of Eternity by Megan Cutler

Rating: 3.5/5

Recommend: Yeah!

Review:

I already knew I was a fan of Megan Cutler’s work after devouring Island of the Lost Forevers a few months ago. And this book proved to be just as enjoyable. I mean, how can you go wrong with magic, mythology, and awesome characters?

As many of you know, I’m a huge mythology lover. If it involves ancient stories and deities, I’m normally totally on board. I was interested to see how Cutler incorporated that into her story, and it was so much fun to see it all play out. There were some plot points that confused me a bit, and I needed a couple more explanations, but overall, I really loved what she did.

And the characters. I adored these characters. They were all so strong and fascinating in their own ways and I highly enjoyed getting to know them. I especially loved Shima and Erika. Especially their interactions and growing relationship.

I mentioned earlier that there were a few plot points I felt needed more explanation. But, then again, this isn’t the end of the story. I didn’t realize at first, but Light of the Empire is actually just a chapter (actually two chapters, if you also count Crystal Shrouded Goddess). So, with that in mind, I’m much more excited about this story. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

Review of The List by Patricia Ford

Rating: 4/5

Recommend: Yes!!!!

Review:

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading The List. I’m a huge fan of dystopian books and the description sounded intriguing, but I was still not sure what to think. Well, I can now safely say that this book was so good! I might not have had many expectations going in, but even if I had, I’m guessing The List would have exceeded them.

Let’s talk about the plot first. I don’t want to go into too much detail and ruin anything for people, but this was such a unique story. As someone who’s read quite a few dystopian books, I honestly don’t think I’ve read anything quite like it. There were aspects of many different classic stories and the plot was a little predictable, but somehow it still felt like a new story. And as a lover of words, I found it to be especially powerful. This book may be short, but it certainly packs a punch.

And of course there’s the characters. I adored Letta. She has plenty of spirit, but she’s also struggling with her own beliefs and fears. I loved her development over the course of the story. It’s unfortunate that this was so short because I would have loved to see even more of her. I’m thinking there’s a sequel to this and I really hope that’s the case.

If you like dystopian books, I would highly recommend reading The List. I had a few difficulties getting into the story, mostly because of the dialogue in regards to some characters (if you read it, I think you’ll know exactly what I mean). But overall, I enjoyed this so much. It’s beautifully written and the story itself is a lot of fun. I don’t think you’ll regret checking this one out!

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for providing this book in exchange for an honest review!

Island of the Lost Forevers Blog Tour!

I’m so excited to be a part of the tour for Island of the Lost Forevers! This book was so fantastic and I can’t wait to get a physical copy. If you haven’t read this gem, you definitely should. But if my raving hasn’t convinced you, maybe this note from the authors will:

When I first came up with the idea for Island of Lost Forevers, it seemed only naturally to share it with James. At the time, we spoke and wrote together on a daily basis. We bounced a lot of ideas off each other and had already discussed the possibility of using our massive time overlap to write a novel. He loved the idea and I loved his additions, so we started making plans.

The way we wrote the first novel was a tad unconventional. The two of us did a lot of free form role playing at the time (for those that don’t know, it’s a lot like tabletop RPGs, except that you don’t roll dice to determine the outcome, which requires a lot of trust in your writing partner to balance the situation). Since it was an easy and simple writing method, we used it to create the first draft. Which worked well for us, especially since our writing styles were already similar.

But it inadvertently made a lot of work for us later on. Back and forth role playing is a great way to generate a lot of writing content fast, but the format doesn’t lend itself to easy editing. First and foremost because each writer writes the full perspective of their character. You might think this leaves you with a third person omniscient perspective, but it really doesn’t, especially if the narrative style of the writers deviates even slightly. Also, you end up with a lot of repetition, since actions tend to be written in large chunks and the details tend to be repeated by the answering party for the sake of clarity.

That may have been one of the reasons we ended up shelving the project for a good seven years or so before I pulled it back out and decided to whip it into shape. James and I no longer wrote together on a daily basis and both our writing styles had changed quite a lot. After some back and forth, we agreed that a re-write was in order, though we would keep the plot the same. We also agreed that I would do the heavy lifting of the re-write and he would make notes for changes during the editing cycle.

Working with James has always been a pleasure because we almost always agree on what we want the finished plot to include. He also put a lot more details into Damian and Sentomoru, characters that didn’t come as naturally to me, while I put most of my focus into Catilen and the development of the mysterious Island setting (which, in many ways, became a character in its own right).

After a lot of feedback from James, and our dedicated beta readers, I did a final, intensive manuscript polish and we agreed the time had come to release our creation into the wild.

Purchase from Amazon

Is the island paradise or does a nightmare lurk beneath the surface?

When a mysterious island appears off the coast of San Francisco, two intrepid academics risk everything to discover its secrets. Catilen Taylor has struggled all her life with the ability to sense others’ emotions. Damian Cooke studies an ancient art he calls ‘magic.’

The island boasts an idyllic retreat, ruled by the enigmatic Sentomoru, who invites them to share the wonders of his bathhouse. But as the travelers strive to unravel the island’s secrets, Catilen senses danger stalking their steps.

Neither Catilen nor Damian know how long the island will remain on Earth. If they can’t solve its riddles quickly, they may be trapped wherever it goes when it vanishes.

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Megan grew up in a small town in central Pennsylvania where books offered an easy escape from the mundane life of a rural highway town. In 2003 she married the love of her life and moved to Canada. Megan started writing full-time in 2011 and has since published four novels and several short stories, including the Mystical Island Trilogy. Her characters keep her up late and wake her up early, but she loves them anyway. Learn more at megancutler.net, or connect to Megan via Facebook and Twitter.

Review of Age of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Rating: 4.5/5

Recommend: YES!

Review:

Ugh, why do I have to wait another year for book three? It’s just not fair!!!! I need it NOWWW!!!! After reading the first book, Age of Myth, I knew this was going to be a series I’d become enthralled with. And this second book certainly doesn’t disappoint! I’m a huge emotional mess right now, and my poor heart might have just melted right out of my body. BUT IT WAS SO GOOD!!!

If you’ve read anything else by Sullivan, you know that his plots are hugely character-driven, which I am a big fan of. And this one is no different. Each character was so strong and powerful in their own way. I loved that we got a few different perspectives and so could really get to know so many fascinating characters. And Suri. Good lord, that girl. I adore her so much. Everyone needs a Suri in their life. And a Minna. Definitely a Minna.

The only reason I didn’t give this a full 5 stars is because I had a few little issues with the plot. And it took me a little bit longer to get into the book than I was expected. But the rest of it made up for any problems I had, so I still absolutely loved this book.

Needless to say, I’d 100% recommend this book. If you love fantasy, you would be doing yourself a huge favor by picking this series up. You’ll be missing out if you don’t!

A huge thank you to NetGalley and Del Rey for providing this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review of Ghost Line by Andrew Neil Gray and J.S. Herbison

Rating: 3.5/5

Recommend: Most likely

Review:

This was not at all what I expected. I picked The Ghost Line up because I was in the mood for a fun scifi read. And it was definitely fun to read. But it was also much stranger and more emotional than I expected. For such a short book, it packed quite the punch.

As I said, this was a short book (less than a hundred pages, I believe). So there wasn’t a whole lot of time for world building . But, that being said, I was really impressed with how much  building was done in such a short period of time. I felt like I had a surprisingly good grasp of this universe.

The same could be said for the characters. Even though we only got a short glimpse into their lives, I feel like I got to know them all really well. I would have loved even more character development and exploration, but of course in a shorter book like this that’s not really possible.

This book is short, but so interesting. I loved the interplay of the characters and it was so much fun to get to know this universe. I’d definitely check out more books by these authors. And to anyone who likes scifi, I’d recommend giving this a read!

Thank you to NetGalley and Tor.com for providing this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review of The Waking Land by Callie Bates

Rating: 3.5/5

Recommend: Probably

Review:

The Waking Land tells the story of Elanna, a young woman who is taken from her family at a young age and held hostage in an enemy country. There are so many great things about this book: an interesting magic, plenty of strong and developed characters, a rich history…the list goes on and on. And for the most part, I really enjoyed all of it. But there were a few parts that didn’t quite mesh with me, so I felt like I couldn’t give it a full 4 or 5 star rating. As much as I liked parts of it, I just didn’t love it.

That beginning was fantastic. Right from the prologue I was completely drawn in. I couldn’t wait to learn more. Then the story got going and I started to lose a bit of interest. Things just began to seem a little too cliché and stereotypical of young adult fantasy. I love many of the young adult tropes, but sometimes they just don’t work well. Towards the end I warmed back up though and began to really enjoy myself. In the end, even though I felt like the last few chapters were kind of rushed, I was left feeling pretty good about what I’d read. I definitely needed more closure and explanation at the end though.

As you all know, characters are the biggest thing for me. No matter how interesting a world is, if there aren’t equally interesting characters, it’s really hard to stay engaged. And I think that for the most part, the characters in this book were pretty solid. I would have liked a little more back story for a few of them, but overall I was satisfied. Elanna was especially good in my opinion. So despite some of my misgivings about the plot, I feel like the characters often saved the book for me.

So basically, this was a good book. Not great, but good. There were a fair amount of common tropes, which kind of worked, although sometimes got on my nerves. And sometimes I feel like the plot didn’t quite work. But, overall, I’m glad I read this book. There were some truly good parts that made me smile and tugged on my heartstrings. So would I recommend it? Probably, if you know you like young adult fantasy and are okay with a relatively stereotypical plot. It’s worth checking out for yourself.

Thank you to NetGalley and Del Rey for the chance to read this in exchange for an honest review!