Archives for October 2016

October 30, 2016

SST Blog Tour: Fear the Drowning Deep | ARC Review

fearthedrowningdeepFear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Published by Sky Pony Press on October 11th 2016
Pages: 304
Goodreads

Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.
Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.
Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.

                                                                    four-stars

I will be the first to admit that the thing that drew me to Fear the Drowning Deep was the cover. I read the synopsis but I still didn’t really know what I was getting into when I opened the book. Was it realistic? Was it realistic fiction? What was this beautiful book about?

What I Loved:

I absolutely love the Isle of Man, the setting of Fear of the Drowning Deep. From the very first sentence, I was hooked on this spooky sea town and the mystery that haunted the protagonist Bridey.

The characters have strong voices, believable in their troubles and triumphs, and undeniably realistic in ways that I haven’t read in a while. You can tell that Marsh did her homework because I could see each and every character as if they were from the Isle of the Man. Bridey is compassionate and feels the loss of her grandfather even to this day and the mystery that surrounds his death. It hasrealistically given her a case of PTSD in a time that sort of thing was not known nor talked about. I felt so strongly for her at time.

I will also point out, I did mention it earlier, but I want to specifically make a point to commend Marsh’s ability to put in detail that make me feel like I’m right along with her. This goes especially for the language used; Manx. I had never heard of this language and had to look it up right away. I love when books send me into research mode and I can learn something from it!

What I Didn’t Like:

I did not feel the love between Bridey and Lugh. I can understand the want to experience something but I feel that Bridey in her heart wanted to experience life and it seemed that Lugh did not understand that. It felt at times that he shrugged off her need to do her exploring (when she mentioned it) and if someone cannot love you for what you want, then come on. It was forced and I felt like she needed someone that understood that her staying on the island was her choice and loved her even if she stayed or didn’t.

 

Lastly, I would like to say that this wasn’t my normal read. I tend to stay away from realistic books and stay pretty in my element of fantasy. This book had just enough fantasy to pull me through. The mystery of the book started me reading, but Marsh’s writing and her beautiful prose.

October 30, 2016

SST Tour: Bound for Blood and Sand | ARC Review + Giveaway

SST Tour: Bound for Blood and Sand | ARC Review + Giveaway

boundBound by Blood and Sand by Becky Allen
Published by Delacorte Press on October 11th 2016
Pages: 304
Goodreads

Jae is a slave in a dying desert world.
Once verdant with water from a magical Well, the land is drying up, and no one remembers the magic needed to keep the water flowing. If a new source isn’t found soon, the people will perish. Jae doesn’t mind, in a way. By law, she is bound by a curse to obey every order given her, no matter how vile. At least in death, she’ll be free.
Lord Elan’s family rules the fading realm. He comes to the estate where Jae works, searching for the hidden magic needed to replenish the Well, but it’s Jae who finds it, and she who must wield it. Desperate to save his realm, Elan begs her to use it to locate the Well.
But why would a slave—abused, beaten, and treated as less than human—want to save the system that shackles her? Jae would rather see the world burn.
Though revenge clouds her vision, she agrees to help if the kingdom’s slaves are freed. Then Elan’s father arrives. The ruler’s cruelty knows no limits. He is determined that the class system will not change—and that Jae will remain a slave forever.

 

The first thing that drew me to Bound for Blood and Sand was that it was being marketed for anyone who liked Tamora Pierce. I couldn’t ignore this because Pierce happens to be one of my favorite author.  After seeing that, and reading the synopsis, I was hooked. I had to read it!

The main protagonist Jae and her twin brother Tal are “Closet” slaves at Aredann, an outlying estate whose reservoir is rapidly drying. Aredann is not the only reservoir that is drying up, the entire world is running out of water. Elan, the son of the Highest has come to Aredann to try and find the Well to save not only Aredann, but the entire world. The only problem is that his father has declared Aredann to be abandoned.

 

What I Liked:

On the same vain as Tamora Pierce’s Lion Quartet I was not expecting how heartbreaking this book was going to be. As I mentioned above, Jay and her people are Closest are Cursed because their ancestors betrayed the Highest many years ago. The curse? Think of Ella’s curse from Ella Enchanted but on steroids. Every questioned asked by an Avowed or Highest, any order given, must be followed, and the truth is ripped from their mouths.

With this kind of power over people, you’d be sure that there would be those who would take advantage of this. There are. One specific Avowed is the terror of Jae and for a long through the story we deal with her PTSD with the time that this certain Avowed that “touches” her. This is dealt with during a part of the story and is very very well done.

I loved Jae and how real she was. She was strong but it was realistic and I felt myself both cheering for her and crying for her. I haven’t felt that way in a long time about a character and it was refreshing!

What was okay:

I felt that for the most part the world was very small. We didn’t get to see much of the other areas of the world and only had them told to us by people. While it was okay, I felt like I was craving more. More of the world. More of the other people and estates.

Another thing that I felt sort of iffy about was Elan. Now, I completely understand that because of the way that he was raised he had a bit of naivety and entitlement. But it was frustrating to see some of interactions with Jae. Again, completely realistic but in certain parts I had flashbacks to a certain prince from a certain Tamora Pierce book (I know I know). I don’t want to spoil that book for those who haven’t read Tamora’s work but yeah. I felt the frustration then and I felt it with Elan.

What I didn’t Like

I can’t find something that I really didn’t like to include in this part!

Would I recommend:

Yes, I would recommend for those who do love Tamora Pierces books it does definitely follow the same vein. Although, there are elements that are not portrayed in these books like slavery and rape. So, with that being said I would definitely recommend giving it a try!

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October 28, 2016

#CritYourFaves | Creative Inspiration in Books

 

in-which

This month I, along with many others in the blogging community, are participating in #CritYourFaves. This lovely idea was created and hosted by Aentee over at Read at Midnight. The idea behind this festival is to take a critical look at the things, specifically books this time that we love but might not be perfect. No book is perfect. But it is important that along with the love we also admit and talk about the problematic parts. Not talking about these problems will not make them go away. In many ways the most important thing that we can do as readers is to hold books to a certain standard. Without those standards, we would be allowing these problems to continue and just like in real life keeping silent is not an option.

When it came to picking a topic I was floored with all the options that began filling my head. Now, I did sign up to speak about two characters that I think are pretty problematic in Harry Potter (and is what it says officially on the Master List) but I recently came across another topic that out shined that specific topic and possibly will resonate with a lot more people and includes the entire first book. What is that topic?

The line between creative liberties and that of plagiarism and how sometimes those blur. Now you might be wondering, how this has anything to do with Harry Potter. Well, it has to do with a little book called Wizard’s Hall by Jane Yolen. Have you heard of it? I hadn’t until I recently saw it on a Booktube channel and looked it up. I’m going to do something fun. I’m going to give the synopsis of the books and tell you why these books are so similar. With all of this information, I want you to guess which one came first.

Disclaimer: Now by no means am I saying that this book is exactly like Harry Potter. It can’t be. While Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone/Philosophers Stone is about 320 pages (from what I remember the smallest of the series) Wizard’s Hall is only 144 pages long.

 

wizhPoor Henry. It’s not enough that his mother has sent him away from home to learn magic. It’s not enough that everyone at his new school calls him Thornmallow because he’s “prickly on the outside, squishy within.” It’s not enough that the only talent he shows at Wizard’s Hall is an ability to make messes of even the simplest spells. Now, when Wizard’s Hall is threatened by a cruel sorcerer’s fearsome beast, it is up to Henry–er, Thornmallow–to figure out how to save not only his new friends but also the entire school for wizards.

 

 

 

 

 

harry_potter_and_the_sorcerers_stoneHarry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

 

Even with the synopsis, Harry Potter still seems to have more information and that is expected with 200 or so more pages. But there are also some very interesting similarities between the two that you’ll only figure out if you read Wizard’s Hall. Instead of going into so much detail that I bore myself I’m going to put into a list.

 

  • Harry vs. Henry: I’m going to start with the most obvious and well I’m not going to stick my nose up a book that has two similar sounding names. But it did make me raise my eyebrow.

 

  • The Plot: This is where my eyebrows went from more than raising an eyebrow. The plot of both speaks of 11 year old boys who journey to a magical school for witches and wizards. This magic school is filled with moving portraits, curses, and students in black robes. There is even an old wise man! Then both have to defend their classmates and potentially the entire world against a big dark evil wizard who has such terrible powers that ONLY they are able to fight.

 

  • Power of friends: While Harry had Hermione and Ron, Henry had Willoweed and Tansy. While Ron was a freckled redhead and was one of many in the Weasley family. Willoweed was a readhead and freckled….and had a lot of sisters. Hermoine was frizzy haired and a know it all. Tansy…..well she was frizzy haired and a know-it-all.

 

  • Date of Publishing: Here we go guys! With these similarities which do you think came first? Harry Potter or Wizard’s Hall? If you guessed Harry Potter that would be incorrect, Harry Potter came out in 1997 while Wizard’s Hall came out in 1991.

 

By bringing this up, by no means am I saying that J.K Rowling stole the idea for her entire series from Yolen. It isn’t conceivable to consider such a thing because of the scope of Yolen’s book is very small and the Harry Potter series is very large.

But this series of posts all month have been about critiquing your favorites and to me there does seem like a bit of similarities that can’t be ignored. Even if Rowling did not get her inspiration for Harry from Yolen and Wizard’s Hall, these two books bring up an excellent example of creative inspiration and when does it stop being creative inspiration and turn into plagiarism? Be it reviews, pieces of story, or any other creative outlet what is the difference? Does the person who uses another person’s words have a right to do so without giving the original person credit and to not acknowledge the inspiration? I’ve grown up being told that when you use inspiration for your papers or anything you have to give credit by citing the source of your inspiration.

A specific example comes to mind.  When the play Hamilton was made the writers of the play could have just made the play and ignored all the other various biographies that have been made about Hamilton (and because he was a piece of history it would have been really easy) but they did not. It was widely acknowledged by them that their inspiration for the play came from the biography of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.

So I want to know what you think. What makes the difference between creative inspiration and plagiarism? Do you know any other books that have some striking similarities that make you raise an eyebrow?

October 12, 2016

OMG! Now I Rise by Kiersten White | Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on W

I am back again to express my excitement and joy for yet ANOTHER book that has recently got it’s brand spanking new cover. This one – guys – I am completely head over heals in love with.  I was already eagerly anticipating this book because I loved the first in the series And I Darken (you can read my raving review here) but….but….look at this cover!!

now-i-riseLook it up on Goodreads
Preorder it on Amazon

I’m not going to give the synopsis about what this book is about because I think that if you’re stumbling upon this post for the first time an haven’t heard about the series that would be pretty poopy to be spoiled right off the bat because according to the Goodreads page this is the second, and last, in a duology. Suffice to say, I’m giving you both the Goodreads and Amazon links and if you like the look of this book you can explore on your own. If you are new to the Conquerors series and haven’t read the first book And I Darken here is that link to its Goodreads page. Explore away!

October 11, 2016

Magic, Mayhem, and Con Artists Oh My! | FFBC Blog Tour |Iron Cast ARC Review

Magic, Mayhem, and Con Artists Oh My! | FFBC Blog Tour |Iron Cast ARC Review

 

 

Magic, Mayhem, and Con Artists Oh My! | FFBC Blog Tour |Iron Cast ARC ReviewIron Cast by Destiny Soria
Published by Amulet Books on October 11th 2016
Pages: 384
Goodreads

It’s Boston, 1919, and the Cast Iron club is packed. On stage, hemopaths—whose "afflicted" blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art—captivate their audience. Corinne and Ada have been best friends ever since infamous gangster Johnny Dervish recruited them into his circle. By night they perform for Johnny’s crowds, and by day they con Boston’s elite. When a job goes wrong and Ada is imprisoned, they realize how precarious their position is. After she escapes, two of the Cast Iron’s hires are shot, and Johnny disappears. With the law closing in, Corinne and Ada are forced to hunt for answers, even as betrayal faces them at every turn.

 

**I received this book at BEA for an honest review. My opinions are my own **


How do I begin to express my feelings about Iron Cast? Hm. Well, maybe I should start from the beginning. This year I attended BEA for the very first time. While there I noticed Iron Cast on the shelves. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any other copies and that was the only one there. I’m not proud to admit it, but I stalked that ABRAM’s booth until the last day and I pounced and I was able to get the one copy! I just couldn’t get over the cover for one, but after reading the synopsis, I was completely hooked. Sorry ABRAM’s publishers at BEA 2016, I couldn’t help myself.

 

But what did I think of the book? Did it meet my expectations?

 

YES. YES! A million times yes!

 

Iron Cast flawlessly blends historical fiction and fantasy and creates a beautiful story of friendship and finding yourself. I know, I know this sounds like a lot of stories out there but I’m telling you that as someone that has read a lot of historical fiction and fantasy novels, this one is truly unique.

The first thing is the unique abilities that the two main characters – Ada and Corinne. Their friendship is honestly one of the most refreshing things to read in fiction. They didn’t secretly hate each other. They didn’t end up hating each other. They grew and lived together and honestly having no “friend hate” that some books, especially when it comes to female friendships, made me want to want to spread my arms in the air and twirl around in happiness.

The second thing that I absolutely loved was the magic system, how the two girl’s powers worked, and truly unique it was. I am honestly a magic system groupie. Give me a unique magic system and I am down with it. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be unique but maybe a fresh spin on an old idea! Soria does such an awesome job at the unique part. The magic system in this book is called “hemopathy” is considered an infection of the blood and is hunted. Each person, Ada and Corinne included, use the power differently. Corinne uses poetry and song to convey illusions and get people to see what she wants them. Ada uses her violin to make people feel those illusions. It is in this that the two girls found that together they could create some of the strongest illusions. With the threat of being locked up in Haversham Asylum to be “rehabilitated” you need to be as strong as possible.

Ada and Corinne’s adventures are nothing but spectacular. From their beginning were the two worked for the high-level mobster named Johnny Dervish to a job going back Iron Cast will grab you and not let you go until the very last sentence. Unfortunately for me, it didn’t let me go even after the book finished. My only complaint is that as far as I know this is a stand-alone book. I love this world and magic system that I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that there will be no more stories from it.  I will just have to except this and patiently wait for another of Soria’s books, no matter what, because even if they won’t include the same world as Iron Cast I fell in love with the writing and I will be up for more!

five-stars


destinyABOUT THE AUTHOR: Destiny Soria writes Young Adult fiction. Her debut novel, IRON CAST, will be published by Abrams/Amulet in Fall 2016.

Destiny lives in Birmingham, AL, where she spends her time trying to come up with bios that make her sound kind of cool. She has yet to succeed.

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