Book Review: Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf

Image result for Bring Me Their HeartsZera is Heartless.  As an unaging and unable to die servant to a witch Zera doesn’t have a heart and yet that is all she craves.  Her witch, Nightsinger has complete control over Zera and Zera serves her unquestioningly until Nightsinger asks her to infiltrate the noble court.  Her task to take the Prince’s heart and in return she will gain her heart and freedom.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the court and the nobles.  With every girl jockeying for a position at his side he wants nothing to do with the spring brides.  Until Lady Zera is presented with her inelegance and smart-mouth shes’s out for his blood.

Soon a game of cat and mouse begins between a Heartless and a boy who has everything.  The winner gets the loser’s heart.  Literally.

Bring Me Their Hearts was an amazing tale of struggle, heartbreak, and the darkness offset by light that makes up humanity.  The characters were stunning and their struggles were utterly real and heartbreaking.  The world the author created was unique and I adored reading about the struggles of a girl who believes herself to be a monster.  I could not put Bring Me Their Hearts down and when I reached the devastating end I came away wanting more of Zera and Lucien’s story.  The end was a massive cliffhanger and I desperately want another book because this story was stunningly brought to life.  What really made the book, though, was the characters.

The main character Zera constantly struggled beneath the weight of being heartless.  It was devastating to read about the hunger that constantly clawed at her and how she fought it.  She covered the darkness within her with jokes which made for some entertaining back and forths with other characters.  However what made her real was her desperate need to be cared for and loved. She wanted that, to not feel like a monster.  Zera believed herself to be a monster and yet throughout the book we begin to see her emerge and attempt to be human again.  She learns to love and it was a beautiful thing to read as Zera changed and grew beyond her heartlessness.  The character growth was phenomenal and I completely adored Zera’s character.

Related imageThe other characters were just as finely wrought what with their pain and heartbreak.  The emotional depth the author instilled throughout the book was outstanding, especially in the Prince.

Lucien, the Prince, wants to care for his people and he wants to live up to his sister’s memory.  We watch throughout the tale as his internal walls slowly break down for Zera.  However, at the end of the book, it is heart-wrenching to read about how he finds out that Zera is heartless and to see her as a monster.  Throughout the book, we watch as he grows and finds the courage to try to change his nation once and for all.  His character was outstanding and I simply cherished him as the love interest.

The other side characters were just as sensational as the two main characters.  They each fought their own demons and the book in no way hides that.  Some overcome their demons while some continue to fight theirs but it made each character unique and real.  The world was stunning and the characters all the more so.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, yes, yes, a dozen times over.

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Book Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Image result for cruel beautyNyx has been raised to kill the tyrant, Ignifex, the demon king who has enacted his cruel bargains for hundred of years.  She is the one meant to kill him because of a reckless deal her father struck with him. Her mission is to kill him and reunite her kingdom which is sundered from the rest of the world.  However, Ignifex is not what she expects.  He quickly worms his way past her defenses and his castle of twisting mazes soon enthralls her.  But everything is not as it seems and as she uncovers more of Ignifex’s secrets Nyx begins to find herself unwillingly drawn to him.  But even if she can love her enemy how can she refuse her duty to kill him and save thousands of people?

Cruel Beauty was a wildly dark tale that completely entranced me through it’s vivid characters and sundered world.  I could not put the book down, desperately wanting to know what would happen.  The tale flew by in a whirlwind of opposites, betrayal, love, truth, and lies.  Endlessly the book kept distorting into new plot twists and vivacious creations.  The world and the heroes who were all guilty in their own ways worked together to form a tale from which I did not want to emerge.

The characters were charming, witty, and flawed.  Nyx, the main character is filled with hatred and pain for the family who never truly loved her and the fate that awaits her.  Throughout the book we see her grow to understand that the world is not completely black and white.  That the guilty can also be the innocent.  Her indomitable will and determination to fulfill her mission was admirable but what made her human was how she gave into feelings of malice, self hatred, regret, hope for forgiveness, and the knowledge that sometimes the world is a convoluted place.  Her character was offset by Ignifex and his shadow, Shade.  They were complete opposites of each other as two sides of a single person.  The witty banter between Ignifex and Nyx was wonderful and I quite enjoyed their game of trying to defeat the other.  The three characters were stunning and I savored reading their story.

The world building was definitely unique.  A small kingdom is cut off from the rest of the world and it all resides in a house which resides in that kingdom.  The unique castle and its many magical rooms was intriguing to read about.  The whole idea of a diminished world created a vivid setting for the tale.  Not to mention some of the story was built around Greek legends which added a wonderful mythological twist.  However, it was at times confusing as to what exactly the magic was and who the gods were and what they could do.  There were also a few plot holes that left me wondering.  It was slightly rambling almost like the castle within the book: constantly changing and at times completely absurd.  The author made up for these flaws through the amazing characters but the love triangle was still a little weird.

Despite this I loved Cruel Beauty and would recommend reading it.  It was darkly imaginative and is definitely worth the time it takes to read it.

Book Review: The Blood of Four Other Gods and Stories by Jamie Lackey

Image result for the blood of four gods and other storiesIn this collection of fourteen short stories inspired by African, Asian, and Native American myth and legend one will explore different realms of possibility.  From the cloud forest to crowded city streets these stories bring to life new fantasy.   New characters arise as brave as they are kind to counteract the forces of evil constantly threatening our world.  As these stories show the impossible it becomes the reality of possibility in the mind’s eye.  I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  This book was published September 1, 2018.

This short collection of stories was interesting in a weird and not completely amazing way.  I was first drawn to the book through its title and the promise of short stories filled with magic.  I looked forward to the book and was quite excited to read it.  However, the book did not fully live up to my expectations.

First of all there was absolutely no character growth in anyone. The characters were just there and some of the stories almost seemed to just end but had no real ending.  All of the characters were blah for I as a reader could not connect to them and their troubles.  Not to mention most of the endings were either depressing, too much happily ever after, or simply not there at all.

However, the main thing that drove me to distraction was how in almost every story there was an incomplete transition where we just jump from one moment to the next and it was slightly confusing.  Like suddenly the main characters are getting married then one of them is dead due to a snake bite. 

Related imageAnother thing I hated was how some endings were just so abrupt.  It was like the author didn’t want to continue it and this usually resulted in there being no climax or plot to the short story.  For example one story was about a priestess who sacrifices herself by jumping into a volcano.  She lands on solid ground and has to climb up a ledge which she can’t see. And the story just ends with her climbing.  It made me want to cry for I wanted to know what happened to her but we will never know because the story just ends.

I will say though that I liked the ideas behind the world building and some of the stories.  I just felt that the author could have explored the worlds and characters more in depth creating short stories that allow the reader to become attached to that tale.  However, since this did not occur it just created stories that were just there and that weren’t that great.

In the end I cannot recommend this book.  It wasn’t the worst thing I have read but it wasn’t phenomenal. 

Book Review: Siren’s Lure by Frost Kay

Book Review: Siren’s Lure by Frost Kay

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Hayjen never believed in legends, myths, or rumors.  That was until he was captured and enslaved by a race that was thought to be safely ensconced from the rest of the world.  As danger stalks ever closer, Hayjen is tossed into the watery depths of the sea where he begins to question everything he has ever believed.

Lilja is intent upon vengeance.   Scythia will fall and she will bring it about for what they took from her can never be replaced. But an accident occurs and despite the laws, she rescues a dying man at the cost of exposing a secret she has kept for years.  A secret that could destroy an entire race.  I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.  This book was published March 27th, 2018.

Siren’s Lure was an intriguing short novella that is part if The Aermian Feuds series.  I have not read any of the books that make up the series besides this prequel but I was immediately drawn into the tale from the first sentence.  The world was filled with siren-like creatures, pirates, slave traders, and kingdoms on the brink of war.  Add to that stunning characters with unique abilities and charming personalities hiding pain and secrets and I could not put the book down.

The characters were what first drew me into this tale.  Hayjen and Lilja are the two main characters.  The book’s chapters alternate between their two perspectives.  They were both unique and charismatic in their own ways.  Hayjen is a man captured and enslaved.  His goal is to protect all the women on the ship and when they are rescued by pirates he keeps a sharp lookout for deceit.  He is pained at having left his sister and all he wants to do is protect Mer and return to the sister he left to fend for herself.  His serious and protective ways endeared him to the reader.

The other contributor to this tale, Lilja is a hunted creature whose very kind is supposed to be extinct.  She was banished from her family and she now rescues those enslaved so that they do not face the same fate she did.  As a younger woman, she was enslaved and she suffered mightily at the hands of her captors.  But she looks beyond her past to the future and her optimistic ways and love of books endeared her to me.

Image result for i want more gifThe characters were not the only thing that enthralled me.  The world building was unique but since the tale was so short I only managed a glimpse into the complicated world built by the author.  There were so many unique aspects that made up the universe that the small look into it was not enough.  I am determined to read the rest of the series for this single short novella has captured my imagination and dug its claws in.

In the end, I would definitely recommend this novella.  I believe it can be read separately from the rest of the series but I will find that out soon enough when I read the other books.  Read it for it is worth being in its thrall for a short hour.

Book Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Book Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

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Alosa is sent on a mission to retrieve the missing piece of a map that leads to an island full of treasure.  She orchestrates her capture by the enemy allowing for the perfect opportunity to search their ship.  More than a match for the fearsome pirate crew Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever first mate, Riden.  He may see through some of her schemes but Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve for nothing can deter the daughter of the Pirate King.

This book was amazing!  The characters were remarkable and the tale was distinctive.  The setting was also incredibly interesting for who does not want to read about pirates, sirens, and treasure?  I would definitely recommend this book which contains strong lead characters who do not back down from a fight.

Image result for pirate of the caribbean gifsThe main character, Alosa was simply kick butt and I loved how she could fight and escape quite handily.  Plus the fact she was part siren.  It added a unique quality to her character along with her other skills.  Her constant arguments and undeniable attraction to Riden was entertaining to read about.  Her character was witty, intelligent, strong, and she could move on with life even as people died.  I liked her style choices and it was hilarious to read about some of the scrapes she got into on board the Night farer.  However, her character bore past scars for her father basically tortured her for his own purposes.  He made her strong and able to endure extreme situations but he also molded her to be the pirate he wanted her to be.  Despite that Alosa’s character stood strong and true and I quite cherished her.

Riden was the perfect love interest for the tale.  We didn’t have a chance to really see him fight but we were led to believe that he was as amazing if not better than Alosa.  What really drew me as a reader to him was his ability to draw out and interact with Alosa.  He engaged in witty banter with her while easily reading her like no other had ever been able to do.  He could see the change in her when she eased into her siren side and he predicted her escapades.  He was loyal to his brother and yet he sometimes did not stand up to him.  Despite that, he covered for Alosa and it was simply intriguing to read about him falling for her.  He was the quintessential man for the daughter of the Pirate King.

Image result for pirate of the caribbean gifs you're despicableThe other pirates were deliciously without honor.  Some were superstitious, others cruel, and others were drunkards.  They each had their vices that are usually expected of pirates and I quite simply loved it. The other pirates contributed in their own ways to the tale making the book more intriguing and engaging

Beyond the characters, I quite liked the setting of the book.  The world is ruled by pirates along with dangerous sea creatures.  The whole reason for Alosa having to purposefully get captured was intriguing within itself and completely something a pirate would focus on for every pirate wants gold and treasure beyond imagining.  It was unique making an already wonderfully written tale all the more outstanding.

I would highly recommend this book and I simply cannot wait to get my hands on the second book to find out what happens to Alosa and her crew of thieving scoundrels.

Book Review: The Goodnight Kiss by Jennifer L. Hart

Book Review: The Goodnight Kiss by Jennifer L. Hart

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Nic has a full arsenal of weapons that she uses when bringing down her prey.  The deadliest of weapons lies in her kiss for a single lip to skin contact kills a human.  But her gift is also a curse that could harm those she loves.  As secrets rise to the surface and the past is discovered, Nic must turn to Aiden, a mysterious stranger who knows more about her than she herself knows.  He has information and with his help, she opens the door to a whole new world where magic is like breathing and the impossible becomes reality if one is willing to pay the ultimate price.  But once the door is open there is no going back.  Ever.  I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This book’s publishing date was May 1st.

The Goodnight Kiss was an outstanding tale filled with Norse legends, faeries, giants, a wolf, and a girl whose kiss has the power to kill.  From the very first line, the book held me in its thrall and I simply could not put it down.  The world building was stunning with its portrayal of the fae alongside Norse mythology.  The characters that inhabited the world were just as phenomenal and I found myself thirsting to know more about them.

The main character, Nic was awesome in her audacity and empathy.  From the beginning, I was intrigued by her need to kill the wicked and I only grew more invested in her character when I found out she was the Unseelie queen and that she had a history with Aiden, the mysterious boy who began tailing her and seemed to know more about her than she herself did.  Related imageTheir history was something of great interest to me and yet the book revealed little about their past lives.  What was revealed was gloomy and filled with deceit.  However, it was wonderful to compare the current Nic with who she had been when she was queen.  She changed and found empathy and love in her current life that she never managed to obtain in her past life.

Nic’s remarkable character was offset by Aiden who was her consort in her past life.  He had a frightful childhood when he was forced to kill his brother and then was physically abused for some indeterminate time by a human.  He fell for Nic immediately but she betrayed his trust when she forced his hand in an important matter.  She then died and he resurrected her into her present life where she was raised by the fates.  His character learned how to love again and accept the fact that he was Loki’s son.  His hurt and loyal character offset Nic perfectly and their adventures together were incredibly fun to read about.

Image result for perfect gifBesides the characters who were each prodigiously unique the creative world building was compelling.  The faeries with their Unseelie and Seelie courts are always interesting to read about and I loved the author’s interpretation of the courts and the fae within them.  Combine that with Norse mythology and you have an explosively enthralling world.  I loved it for I could read about Loki’s children along with the volatile and dark world of the fae.  The combination enhanced one another and made for an idiosyncratic world.

All in all, I completely adored The Goodnight Kiss and cannot wait for the second book.  I would highly recommend this story as a must read for all book lovers into mythology, the fae, and a girl whose kiss is as deadly as the past.

Book Review: Rust and Stardust by T. Greenwood

Book Review: Rust and Stardust by T. Greenwood

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Sally Horner steals a fifty cent notebook in the hopes of fitting in of being accepted.  What she doesn’t realize is that she is being watched by 52-year-old Frank LaSalle who only recently left prison.  When he accosts her outside the store he tells her that he is an FBI agent and that she is in serious trouble for stealing.  He convinces her that the only way out of trouble is for her to do everything that he says.

Throughout the next chapters, the book traces the harrowing two years that Sally Horner spends as a captive to Frank LaSalle, forever altering not only her life, but the lives of her family, friends, and those she meets along the way.  I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  The book’s publishing date is August 7th.

Rust and Stardust is one of the most heart-rending books I have ever read.  The tale was tragically thought inducing and the book brought to life the very real horrors that the world contains.  It conveyed a swirling mix of emotions that left the reader disconsolate yet sadly hopeful.  From the first lines, I was thrown into the tale of a girl who was kidnapped and the repercussions it had on her and her family.

The main characters were the bearers of the tale and the emotions and experiences they went through were poignantly expressed throughout the book.  The reader saw glimpses into Sally Horner’s mind along with her mothers, sisters, her brother in law, and the other characters who interacted with Sally.  We saw their pain, desperation, and hope.

Sally was but a girl who unwittingly believed the lies of an evil man.  Through fear and lies, he managed to hold her captive and abuse her physically and mentally.  It was tragic to see the world through her eyes. Image result for it's so sad yet so hopeful gif To see her fear and also her hope along with small stolen moments of freedom and joy.  After her kidnapping, she manages to move on and it was a wonderful thing to read about Sally’s quiet strength throughout the book.  By the end, I was in tears but I was also lifted by the end of the book which showed that there is always hope in the bleakest of moments.

Along with Sally, we managed to glimpse into her family’s life and how they each coped with her kidnapping and death a couple of years later.  Her mother was a woman whose body had turned against her.  She bore the weight of losing a husband to suicide along with the guilt of practically handing her daughter over to her kidnapper.  Her despair of ever seeing her daughter again was woeful to read about and my heart ached for her.  Sally’s sister and brother in law were intriguing to read about.  Image result for hope gifWe saw her brother in laws determination to find her and help his wife forgive her mother.  And we saw Sally’s sister bear the pain determinedly never giving up hope on her sister.  Her family’s pain was plaintive yet by the end they had accepted and hoped in the luminous gaze of the stars.

The characters and their lives drew me in and I became completely intrigued by the real-life story that the book is based on.  I have always been interested to learn about crimes committed throughout the labyrinthine maze of history and this story was no different.  I have done some research into Sally Horner’s story to further figure how much of Rust and Stardust was fiction and I found that the book followed Sally Horner’s story accurately with some side characters fictionally based.  Furthermore a lot of Sally’s interactions with her kidnapper, Frank La Salle were fictitious but most of the basic concepts of his lies and where they went were truthful.  At the end of the book, Sally dies two years after her ordeal in a car accident.  I was dispirited to read this and yet the true sadness lies in the fact that it is true.  Sally Horner died at the age of fifteen on August 18, 1952.  Below is a picture of Sally during her kidnapping alongside an image of Frank LaSalle.

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Overall I loved the book even if the cover was deceiving in the fact that I wasn’t expecting the book to be as dark, heart-wrenching, and completely true as it turned out to be. Despite that, I would highly recommend this book.  It is a must read and I totally give the tale five stars.