Posted in Fantasy

The Library of the Unwritten

Goodreads Synopsis: Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing—a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.

But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil’s Bible. The text of the Devil’s Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell … and Earth.

HOLY MOLY folks. This book was incredible! I will not be giving away any spoilers as the book has not been released yet, and as always, a huge thanks to NetGalley for allowing me access to this amazing ARC!

Reasons why you should read it:

  1. Librarians rule Hell (a bit of an over exaggeration, but you’ll understand if you read it.)
  2. Demons aren’t necessarily evil; nor are angels pure.
  3. Books. Are. Alive.
  4. Valhalla.
  5. If you like Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, or Fablehaven, OR the Every Heart is a Doorway series, this book IS for YOU.
  6. LIBRARIANS RULE HELL. THAT SHOULD BE ENOUGH REASON.

Link to Raven clip art below:

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Posted in Fantasy

Sorcery of Thorns

Goodreads Synopsis:

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined

This is the perfect book for those looking for a followup to Harry Potter.

Elisabeth is an orphan raised in a library full of enchanted grimoires that each have their own needs and personalities. (Think Harry’s Monsters Book of Monsters).

Growing up around the grimoires has imbued her with magic and allow her to heal quickly and form bonds with the books as though they are people, but of course, this talent is also her downfall.

Elisabeth is the perfect example of headstrong female presence. She refuses to back down from a situation just because of lack of experience or fear.

I find myself personally connecting with her in 1 special way. We both HATE to brush our hair. The tangles are just too torturous.

Now to her love interest, Nathaniel Thorn. Hence the title, Sorcery of Thorns. the Thorn family is famous for necromancy, and Nathaniel is particularly famous in his own right for being the last of the Thorn family lineage. Each famous sorcerer family is tied to a powerful upper level demon, in Nathaniel’s case, this is Silas, a demon prince with alabaster skin that can take the form of a common house cat. But be careful with demons, they are always looking for methods in which to bargain more power from their masters.

I personally like Nathaniel even though his trope is a bit obvious. He meets wild girl, he falls in love despite his best efforts. He’s flawed and afraid to love her. But in the end, none of this matters and they fall in love and live almost happily ever after.

Though, if you want to discover what the “almost” is about, you’ll have to go read it;).

Posted in Fantasy

March TBR “Battle of the Books” results:

And the winner is…….CROWN OF FEATHERS by NICKI PAU PRETO

  • The List- Patricia Forde – Review already posted: 3.5 stars
  • My Favorite Thing is Monsters- Emil Ferris- DNF

While Emil Ferris creates a fantastical world in images, I found the story line to be too broken up by side stories. I couldn’t make myself take the time to finish it, and I doubt this is a graphic novel I will ever come back to.

  • A Wrinkle in Time- Madeleine L’Engle: 3.5 stars

A brief synopsis: Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin are on a quest across space to save Meg’s and Charles Wallace’s father from IT. With the help of Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which, they are able to free him from the confines of IT and bring him home safely.

Review: I read A Wrinkle in Time as a young child in elementary school. The only scene that stuck with me was the children on planet Camazotz bouncing balls and skipping ropes in synchronization. I had to dig deep in the recesses of my mind to figure out which book that scene was from. After finally discovering that it was indeed A Wrinkle in Time, I was able to thoroughly enjoy the re-read and the nostalgia that accompanied it.

  • Queen of Hearts- Colleen Oakes: 4.5 stars

Brief Synopsis: Dinah is the Princess of Wonderland. Her mother is dead. Her brother is mad. Her father is the King, and he is filled with hatred for her. One day, a bastard sister is introduced to the Wonderlanders, and is being groomed as the Duchess of Wonderland. Shortly after, a mysterious note is slipped to Dinah at a dinner. She needs to find Faina Baker in the black towers. But why?

Dinah sneaks into the towers as a prisoner, accompanied by her best friend, Wardley. They discover Faina is mad and that her warnings are all riddles. After this meeting, Faina is murdered on Execution day, Dinah is framed for their murder of her brother, and she escapes into the Twisted Woods where a completely different journey begins.

Review: Oakes is fantastic. She puts a dark twist on Wonderland that has just enough detail from Alice for it to easily be recognized as Wonderland, but this is not your average, happy fairy-tale. There’s murder, torture, suggested sexual violence (not enough for kids to not be able to read this, but enough that you understand what’s going on between guards and female prisoners), dungeons, and much scheming on the part of Cheshire, the kings most trusted adviser. If you’re looking for a dark, but familiar tale. This is the book for you.

“I will not be afraid of this wood because my fight to live does not begin now. I have been fighting all my life, I just didn’t know it…I did not die today, so I will not fear death tomorrow.”

Dinah

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass- Lewis Carroll: 4.9 stars

Review: Carroll has created a masterpiece. I can officially say that I now have a favorite classic tale. I’ve never been a super fan of Alice in Wonderland. It was never my favorite Disney movie, but after reading the book, my opinions have changed. I had a difficult time getting through the first few chapters as the writing is much like Tolkien’s (not leaving much to the imagination). I swapped to an illustrated edition and then the story flew by and I found myself pacing to drag it out longer.

I love the whimsical elements, the nonsense, the plays on words. Simply amazing.

  • Crown of Feathers- Nicki Pao Preto: 5 Stars—WINNER WINNER PHEONIX DINNER?

Brief Synopsis: Nicki Pau Preto is a genius. Val and Veronyka are animages on the run from the empire. They are hunted for their abilities to communicate with animals, namely the potential to bond with pheonixes, and are 2 of the remaining supporters of the Pheonix Riders. Val is in charge. She is cruel, distant, domineering, while Veronyka is light hearted, hopeful, seeking companionship. They find 2 pheonix eggs, but only one hatches, and it chooses Veronyka as her bondmate. Eventually Val’s need to control Nyka and her bondmate led her to murder the hatchling pheonix. Nyka leaves in search of the hidden Pheonix Riders and to put Val out of her life. Nyka find out that the Riders only accept male apprentices, so like Mulan, she poses as a male, Nyk, and enters the Rider camp and befriends the commanders son, Tristan. It isn’t long before Val finds her…but to unravel the rest of the storym you’re just going to have to read it;).

Review: I haven’t been this stressed out, on the edge of my seat, wanting to scream at the characters, over a book in a long time. Pau Preto has written a phenomenal story. In my personal opinion, if you read this book, do yourself a favor and don’t read the epilogue unless you want to be internally writhing wanting to know what will happen in the next book. Other books in this TBR list were amazing in their own way, but this book tops them all. I had to go back and adjust my rating. I am a fantasy lover for life, it has always been my prefered genre, and sadly the others just didn’t stand a chance in comparison. Congratulation Crown of Feathers, you have won.

“She knew my darkness better than anyone, and always, she had forgiven me. Always, she had seen the good in me. Until the day she didn’t.”

-Avalkyra Ashfire

  • Five Feet Apart- Rachael Lippincott: 4.8 stars

Brief Synopsis: Stella and Will both have Cystic Fibrosis. Will also has B. Cepacia. A bacterial infection that no longer allows him the opportunity for a lung transplant to prolong his life. People with cystic fibrosis can not be closer than 6 feet from each other due to risk of cross contamination from different strains of the condition. Yet Stella and Will fall in love anyways.

Stella is a know it all, goody two shoes who created an app to help with remembering her treatment schedules, and Will is the mischievous rebel, always stressing out the nurses, that doesn’t want to take his meds.

Review: Lippincott creates an amazing, heart-wrenching scenario surrounding this Romeo and Juliet romance. Stella and Will risk it all to try to be together and not cross-contaminate. I haven’t cried this hard over a book in a long time, but I was absolutely sobbing. The story is beautifully told and I will definitely be recommending it to everyone.

Side Note: Can we PLEASE appreciate how beautiful this cover art is?! I mean, geez, 5 stars in my book! *buh dum tss*

“There’s one theory I like that says in order to understand death, we have to look at birth. So, while we’re in the womb, we’re living that existence right? We have no idea that our next existence is just an inch away. Maybe death is the same. Maybe is just the next life. An inch away.”

-Stella

  • The Graveyard Apartment- Mariko Koike: 2 stars

A brief synopsis: A family from Tokyo buys a nice apartment conveniently located close to schools and work, but is also adjacent to a Buddhist temple, crematorium, and a graveyard. Shortly after moving in they begin to experience strange paranormal phenomena.

Review: This book upset me for a number of reasons and I am hesitant to give it the full 2 stars. There is not a lot of character development, nor do the characters use much common sense. While this may be part of the supposed charm of the book, I found it infuriating and could not wait to finish the book simply so I could stop looking at it.

Posted in sci-fi

L’Engle Flamingle Part 1 : A Wind in the Door

I was quite fond of L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time as a child, though as an adult, I couldn’t remember which book it was that I read that had those elements in the story that I loved. I remembered scenes and images I’d created in my mind, but couldn’t remember what book it came from.

While working on a “New Realms” display, I was recommended by my boss to include A Wrinkle in Time. That sparked a memory and a nagging feeling that this was the book that contained the vague elements I remembered.

I then decided to reread it, and discovered that the book was the book that I had been searching for and that is part of a quintet series! Imagine my excitement! Thus my L’Engle Flamingle officially began.

My brief review of A Wrinkle in Time can be found under my ‘Battle of the Books Results’ post (yet to be posted).

So here I’ll start with A Wind in the Door: 3.5 stars.

Meg and Calvin meet a cherubim, Proginoskes, and go on another epic journey, but this time to save Charles Wallace from being Xed (extinguished, or killed) by the Echthros (Monsters of Nothingness). Accompanied by Mr. Jenkins, the unlikely quartet finds themselves inside one of Charles Wallaces mitochondrion where they try to convince Sporos, a farandolae (a being that lives in mitochondria) to mature and help the mitochondria to survive. In the end, Progo sacrifices himself to save everyone else and Charles Wallace lives.

“The Echthroi are those who hate, those who would keep you from being Named, who would un-Name you. It is the nature of love to create. It is the nature of hate to destroy.”

-Meg

After starting A Wind in the Door, several of questions came to mind that I believe were left unanswered from A Wrinkle in time. Such as “What the hell exactly happened? Did IT get vanquished? Does the darkness still cover Earth? Did I overlook an entire explanation? Also, what the heck happened to the Echthroi?”

I am still confused about these questions, though I do believe Earth is still covered in darkness due to the presence of the Echthros, but if anybody can provide me with some clarity, PLEASE comment and give my confused brain some resolution.

Throughout this section of the Murray’s life, I honed in on the fact that Meg is incapable of making decisions and handling situations on her own unless it is literally life or death. I am annoyed. In A Wrinkle in Time she expected her Father to fix all the problems, and in the mean time, Calvin.  Now, in A Wind in the Door, she still depends on Calvin, is upset that her father can’t handle it for her since he’s on a business trip, tries to depend on Teacher to do everything, then clings to Progo. Talk about falling into the weak female stereotype. I understand she’s a terrified child, but nonetheless, I am annoyed by her character.

On a more positive side note, I love the Osmosis Jones vibes that L’Engle creates while Progo, Meg, Calvin, and Mr. Jenkins are inside of Charles Wallace’s cells trying to save his life.

I also love the mention of Calvin’s science experiment involving plants and love. The concept it simple, 3 plants, 1 placed in a horrible negative environment, it inevitably dies. The next placed in a neutral environment and given the basic necessities to live, it lives, but doesn’t thrive. The third is placed in a  neutral environment, given the necessities, but is also spoken too, encouraged, and this plant thrives and grows above and beyond. This gives way to the belief that love and encouragement are the root of all.

Lastly, I found L’Engle’s ending quite appropriate. In wondering where Progo has gone after sacrificing himself to save Meg, Calvin, Charles Wallace, and Mr. Jenkins, a huge gust of wind comes through the door, blowing it open. I guess guardian angels really do exist, huh?