on Oct 12, 2017

It's that time of year: time for the Virtual FantasyCon facebook event where authors come together for a week of contests, games, and giveaways! This online fantasy convention is a fun way to meet and learn about authors without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home. 

The event runs from October 15th through 21st. Links to all the participating authors event pages can be found in the pinned post on the Virtual FantasyCon - Readers Corner page. Be sure to join the authors event pages that you don't want to miss out on and feel free to invite anyone who loves fantasy and free stuff!

Author Melissa Sasina will also be giving away ebook copies of her books, 
so be sure to join her event page!

on Sep 13, 2017
It's finally here! The cover reveal for Lies of Light, the first book in my new series, the Darker Shade of Light! This beautiful cover was made by the wonderful Kristina Bilota (http://kristinatoxicpanda.com/)

Skin black as pitch, nails like talons...

A mysterious illness creeps through Acantha's people--one that even the most powerful healers' magic cannot touch. When the affliction proves to be something far more sinister, Noora Duskbourne finds herself trapped.

Blamed by the King for the incident, Noora's only ally in her escape from the King's fury is Vaeros, a man whose identity is shrouded in mystery. However, safety is not quite at hand as she is pursued by a Warder as skilled in the hunt as he is with the deadly arts of arcane combat.

A path wrought with danger awaits Noora and Vaeros as they discover that something harrowing lingers in the light--an ancient darkness that refuses to remain forgotten.


  
 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36230837-lies-of-light
on Mar 13, 2017
It's London 1888, and Jack the Ripper is terrorizing the people of the city. Evelyn, a young woman disfigured by her dangerous work in a matchstick factory, who has nowhere to go, does not know what to make of her new position as a maid to the Elephant Man in the London Hospital.
Evelyn wants to be locked away from the world, like he is, shut in from the filth and dangers of the streets. But in Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, she finds a gentle kindred who does not recoil from her and who understands her pain.

When the murders begin, however, Joseph and Evelyn are haunted nightly by the ghosts of the Ripper's dead, setting Evelyn on a path to facing her fears and uncovering humanity's worst nightmare.



Genre: Young Adult Historical Mystery


5 out of 5 Stars

Review:

I am so excited to share this phenomenal book with you all today! 

I first noticed this book on display at the library a few months back, at the time I was reading several other books and wasn't ready for a new one just yet, so I set the book back down and went on my way. Cut to about a week ago when I suddenly remembered this book and became anxious waiting for someone to return it to the library. I checked it out as soon as it returned and read it over the span of two days. Seriously...it's that flippin' good. 

A Taste for Monsters is an exciting and thoughtful read. I am actually sorry I didn't read it sooner, which I guess is silly since I've read it now, but hopefully my fellow bookworms will understand. ;)

This book came at a perfect time for me, as I recently started watching Ripper Street, an exciting detective show set in—you guessed it—the time of Jack the Ripper, so I was already a bit more familiar with the main topics of this book: Ripper, the Elephant Man and matchstick girls.

The characters are so vivid and engaging. I loved Evelyn right from the start, she's strong and determined. It may seem odd but I really liked having a girls perspective of this time period in London. Most books and T.V. shows are from a male perspective and while they hint on the danger and peril that girls faced at that time, it was much more meaningful to have a female MC experiencing it. Joseph is also interesting, I must admit to not knowing very much about the Elephant Man but I love what the author has done with him, his gentle manner, innocent mind and hopeful spirit make a spectacular character. Together these two are a force to be reckoned with and a delight to read. The ending had me crying but in the good way, when you love characters so much that you're sad to leave them.

I can't say enough good things about this book and I'm already looking forward to re-reading it! 
on Feb 11, 2017
All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They've enraptured her mind and spirit and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family's inn, Liesl can't help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds—and the mysterious ma who rules it—she soon faces an impossible decision. With time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.


Genre: Young Adult Fantasy


3 out of 5 Stars

Review:

Just in case I haven't yet mentioned it on this site, I am a huge fan of Labyrinth. David Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King is perfection! So as soon as I heard about this novel I knew I absolutely had to read it.

I can't stress enough how very different this book is from the Jim Henson movie. It takes the initial concept: a girl on the cusp of adulthood, whose sibling is stolen by a fascinating, enigmatic figure from the Underground. From there, however, we find ourselves in a much darker, more adult story.

This is one of those books that started off good, I was quite liking it. However, it goes down hill fast and even though I appreciate what I think the author was trying to do, the final product left much to be desired. That being said, every reference to Labyrinth had me fangirling like mad.

Our main character Elisabeth is set up as a typical fairy tale heroine, the hard working, plain, dutiful sibling to a beaufitul sister and an accompolished brother.

I think this novel will resonant more with musicians, I don't play an inststrument, therefore the many (seemingly endless) scenes of Liesl playing her instrument, of her talking about music and thinking about music were... boring to me. I understand that part of her connection with the Goblin King is through music but personally I don't think it helped their lack of chemistry at all.

The love scenes (and I'll add here that I'm still unsure how I feel about love scenes in YA books) in this story are awkward and painfully cringe-worthy, think Bella and Edward. Personally I don't think Liesl and the Goblin King have any chemistry so the drawn out love scenes were uncomfortable and unnecessary. Also can we just stop with the teen books where the girl wakes up with bruises, can we stop, please?

There was a strange religious aspect to the novel, the author and MC seemed quite unconcerned and unimpressed with religion, yet a significant amount of the novel is spent engaging with the Goblin Kings as he goes through "rituals" typical of the Christian faith. So the king of the underground prays... I don't really know where to go with that. And neither does this book.
on Feb 4, 2017
Rune Germain, whose voice has been compared to that of an angel, has a mysterious affliction linked to her talent that leaves her sick and drained after each performance. Convinced that creative direction will cure her, Rune's mother ships her off to a French boarding school for the arts at a renovated opera house, rumored to have ties to the Phantom of the Opera

Shortly after arriving at the RoseBlood conservatory, Rune starts to believe something otherworldly is indeed afoot. The masked boy she's seen frequenting the graveyard beside the opera house doesn't have any classes at the school, and vanishes almost as quickly as he appears. When Rune begins to develop a secret friendship with the elusive Thorn, who dresses in clothing straight out of the nineteenth century, she realizes that with his musical guidance she feels cured. Thorn may be falling for Rune, but the Phantom haunting RoseBlood wants her for a very specific and dangerous purpose. 

As friendship deepens to romance, Thorn is faced with an impossible choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or save her and face the wrath of the Phantom, the only father he's ever known. 



Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance / Classic Re-tellings



3 out of 5 Stars


Review: I love the Phantom of the Opera so I was really excited when I heard about this book. I've been following the author since reading her Alice in Wonderland re-telling Spintered series. There has been quite the buzz made about this book, and much hype. 

This novel for me, did not live up to the hype at all. 

We start out with a stomach churning, information dump as our misunderstood lead, Rune, is sent away to boarding school in another country (are you choking on YA cliches, yet?) Rune's father is dead, she and her Mother have trouble communicating, yet they are magical best buddies when the plot demands it. Rune has the voice of an angel but when she sings opera she suffers. An interesting concept, a horrible execution of it. The story flips from Rune to Thorns perspective, Thorn is infinitely the more interesting of the two. The set up takes way too long and the reveal is ultimately lackluster. The story is really more of an imagined sequel, than a re-telling, something that I think should be made more obvious to the consumer. 

Rune is just so annoyingly predictable. She is for the most part every other YA heroine; smart, mature, a bit of loner, doesn't really fit in. Rune spends most of the novel having random epiphanies that don't really lead anywhere.  I really wanted to like her more, but I didn't. Also I didn't like how the first kids she meets magically become instant life-long friends who would risk their lives for her—only in a YA novel right? 

Thorn is fascinating right from the start. He has a tragic backstory that helps you to understand his complex relationship with Erik. But he also wears a mask when he doesn't have a deformity, which is just weird. 

Can I briefly mention how insane the "two halves of the same reincarnated soul thing" is? Because it's stupid, sooooooo stupid. 

The plan to lure Rune in is so far fetched, it's hard to imagine the Phantom coming up with such a faulty maneuver. It's actually sort of insulting to his character, I think. That is one of my biggest pet peeves of this book. That the seductive, powerful, magical figure of Leroux's novel (and several musical) is reduced to a haggard, boring old man clinging to the body of his dead love and prepared to blow up a school. I did not care for her version of Erik at all. 

The ending is abrupt and has little resolution, Howard just decides it's over, nearly everyone survives, and murderous Erik is sent away to live with others of his kind in Canada. Which I guess he's suddenly okay with??? 

My advice: Skip this awful novel entirely. 
on Jan 27, 2017
The Brontes have always been close. After all, nothing can unite four siblings like life in an 
isolated parsonage on the moors. Their vivid imaginations lend them escape from their strict,
 spartan upbringing, actually transporting them into their created worlds: the glittering 
Verdopolis and the romantic and melancholy Gondal. But at what price? 
As Branwell begins to slip into madness and the sisters feel their real lives 
ebbing away, they must weigh the cost of their powerful imaginations, even as their 
characters—the brooding Rogue and dashing Duke of Zamorna—refuse to let them go.


Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction

5 out of 5 Stars

Review: 

Worlds of Ink and Shadow is a beautiful, intricate adventure! 

I was so very curious about this novel because the premise is just too cool. Four siblings traveling to the fictional worlds they create...yes!

Perhaps my favorite part of this novel was the connections it made to the published works of the Brontes. 

The Bronte siblings are bright and creative. Branwell is the only son, and bears the pressure that comes with that. He enjoys escaping to Verdopolis and playing renowned thief with his criminal companions. 

on Jan 21, 2017
Willow Lamott's best friend is a convicted killer, and no one in the small town of Gilt Hollow will let her forget it. Over four long years, she's tried to fade into the background—but none of that matters when Ashton Keller comes striding into school, fresh out of juvie and fueled by revenge. The monent their eyes meet, Willow no longer feels invisible. Drawn to the vulnerability behind Ashton's mask of rage, she sinks deeper into his sinister world and begins to question whether he's a villian, a savior, or both.

Ashton thought he wanted vengeance, until Willow Lamott stepped back into his life. Now he longs to clear his name and become the person she sees in him. But the closer they get to uncovering the truth, the darker the secrets become, and Ashton wonders if his return to Gilt Hollow will destroy everyone he loves.


Genre: Young Adult Mystery

5 out of 5 Stars

Review:

Gilt Hollow is a thrilling, suspenseful adventure! 

I was drawn to the intriguing premise of this novel, despite it not being my usual pick. The alternaing perspectives between Ashton and Willow keep the reader turning pages. 

Like all the characters of this story, Willow pops off the page. She stays by herself mostly with the exception of her best friend. The stress of her situation leads to panic attacks, that make her stand out even more. Because of standing up for Ashton's innocence, she has lost jobs and friends. Willow has a strong heart, and contiues to help Ashton even after she is threatened. I will say that Willows abrupt relationship with Brayden didn't really make sense and felt very random. 

Ashton is tormented by the betrayal of his friends, and the resulting abandonment by his parents. It;s sort of adorable when he gets jealous. He ultimately chooses protecting the people he loves instead of revenge. 

The town of Gilt Hollow is quirky, full of open-minded artistic sorts. I love how the author tied in elements of faith without this being a religious novel.

The mystery is so beautifully woven, like an intricate puzzle. You don't know who to trust. There are many layers that slowly reveal who the true murderer was. 
on Jan 9, 2017
After a near-death escape from the chilling heart of Markus King's Hawkspear society, becca Hatcher is finally safe at home in Toronto. But her battle isn't over, because Markus is till after the Bronze Codex—and he's not the only one. Unseen magical forces wage war in a faraway world called Mytica, and Becca may be the only one who can stop it.

Crys Hatcher is growing more protective of her little sister, even going so far as to keep a major, life-changing secrets from Becca that might put her in harm's way. But she has her work cut out for her: a chance encounter with Farrell Grayson puts Crys back in his sights—and and puts Farrell one step closer to cornering the Hatcher family and bringing them as prey to his master, Markus.

Little does anyone in Toronto know that behind the scenes in Mytica, Maddox's necromancy magic has begun to influence the magic in the codex—and the fate of everyone involved.




Genre: Young Adult Fantasy 

3 out of 5 Stars

Review:

I like this series, in fact unlike most reviewers I prefer this series to Falling Kingdoms. Which started out good but in my opinion has gone on far too long and needs to just end. Seriously. 

This book was alright, but it wasn't as good as the first, which I really loved. The author repeats plot lines over and over. And while book 1 had exciting mystery and secret elements. They weren't really any big reveals in this novel that the reader didn't already know. 

I enjoyed the unique cast of characters, even if some seemed really out of character. I'm enjoying Crystal much more than book #1. Her personality has really turned around, almost in an unbelievable way. Farrell is so desperate for affection, you feel so much sympathy for him despite his misdeeds. That being said he became very tedious in this book. He also went a little too evil for me personally. Also I found it weird that the author set up potential romance between Farrell and Crystal, and then took it nowhere in this book.  

Maddox is my favorite character. He is so earnest, and brave, fighting to control his power. He wants so much to be useful and protect the people he cares about. Becca is really sweet, sassy, and curious. In this second installment she is becoming more confident and taking control of situations.

The first half of the book is quite full of arguing and back and forth. Most of the main characters were  keeping secrets from Becca. Which was a waste of time because the reader as well as most of the characters already knew who Becca's parents really were. The last few chapters picked up a bit in pace, if only the whole novel could have been like that. 

Ultimately I'm glad to hear that this series will only be a trilogy. I'm looking forward to the end.




~Important Links~
Read my review of book #1


Thanks for reading! Check back next week for a review of a book I LOVED! :)
on Jan 2, 2017
In a land where those with magic are esteemed and revered, Janir guards a secret that would
send her to a headman's block at a word. As one of the reviled Argetallams, she
has the power to destroy enchantments and steal others' magic—an ability
that has caused bloodshed for generations. 

Raised as the illegitimate daughter of an influential lord, she was determined to turn her back
on her heritage, but when her power manifests, leaving a nobleman dead, she has no choice
but to flee her adoptive home. In exile with the help of a fearless young enchanter
and an elf sworn to protect her, she finds herself entangled in a quest to
hide an ancient artifact from the kingdom's enemies.

But they are not the only ones after the relic and soon their paths cross with a rival from Janir's distant childhood. With no hope of help or rescue, the fate of nations will depend on
a fifteen year old girl and her mastery of powers she doesn't understand.



Young Adult Fantasy

5 out of 5 Stars

Review: The Key of Amatahns by Elizabeth Wheatley is a spellbinding fantasy adventure! 

The story starts off with a prologue, a very good one. I know prologues aren't to everyones taste, but when it comes to fantasy I think they add so much to a story. I feel like they're necessary in a way.  Wheatley's prologue is executed to near perfection, at establishing the story and introducing her world before the main action begins. 

There is something very special about this story. For starters it is very well-written, especially considering how young the author was (only 15 when the first edition was published, I believe.). It reminds me of older fantasy stories, such as the Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. It has the same sort of quirky, realistic, indirect path of the quest. It doesn't just jump from confrontation to confrontation, there's some stopping, some snacking, and some treasured restful moments. An occasional interruption to the quest. There's a realness to that, that makes the quest more believable and gives the characters more depth. 

Janir was a captivating main character, very contemplative and thoughtful. She has very strong heart, despite all the trials of her life so far. Like most teenagers she is trying to figure out who she is, although in her case this is made more difficult by her circumstances. However, my favorite trait that she possessed is mercy. Janir has the opportunity to abandon someone who has hurt her numerous times, but she makes sure he makes it out of danger and speaks up against killing him.

Janir's friends and allies are no less engaging. Her best friend, an elf called Saoven, is cool just for the simple fact of being an elf (elves are automatically awesome). But he is a good friend, especially considering the negative view that most of his people have of Argetallam. Janir's most unlikely ally is Karile, who is...unique. Okay, so he can be really annoying, but after while he grows on you. And he is a loyal friend, even if he doesn't seem like it at first. Armandius, Janir's adopted father is everything a dad should be, kind, and compassionate, and supportive. I love how he treats Janir with as much consideration as he would his own daughter. 

Now onto the villains of our story. Janir's brother, Lucan is a jerk. A big jerk. And yet despite the awful things he does, the reader (and Janir) still feel sympathy for him. After all, having the Lord Argetallam as your role model is bound to screw anyone up. Speaking of the Lord Argetallam, grrr...I really, reaallly don't like him. Dude is straight up evil. 

Wheatley's world is so enthralling, I love all the details and the intricate history of the different lands and peoples. Also the creatures, like the Mazag, who are scary. Nothing worse than a creature that wants to have a conversation before it kills you. That being said they are very interesting and I hope to see more of them as the series continues. A favorite scene of mine was the market, reminiscent of Hellboy, with all sorts of various creatures and wares, I loved it! 

This story has plenty of magic, loyal friends, and exciting quests to captivate fantasy fans! (Especially if you like Eragon or Merlin!) 


~ Important Links ~
Read my review of book #2 (coming soon!) 


Happy New Year, runaway readers!
Make sure to check back here next Monday for a new book review! ^_^