Book Review: The Lantern’s Ember by Colleen Houck

Jack barely remembers his mortal life before the deal.  So he focuses on his job of guarding a gate to the Otherworld, a world crawling with every horror, haunt, and spook imaginable.  He has spent decades moving from town to town not allowing a soul, human or inhuman past him .  But that changes the day he meets Ember O’Dare.Image result for the lanterns ember

Ember O’Dare is a stubborn seventeen-year-old witch whose draw to the Otherworld is forceful.  Deciding to resist no longer she sets out to see this forbidden plane with the help of a mysterious vampire, setting a course that will change both worlds permanently.  Jack must do everything in his power to get Ember back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos.  I recieved this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  The book’s publishing date was September 11, 2018. 

The Lantern’s Ember was a phenomenal book that I knew I had to read since it is by a stunning author.  Not to mention the cover is breathtaking.   And I am so glad did.  The tale that unfolded in this book was gorgeously thrilling and I could not set the book down.  The book was filled with a wild array of characters and the world-building was unique to say the least.

The main character, Ember was courageous and ingenious and reading about her tale and world was a fun experience.  She drew me to her because of her kindness and my need to understand why her magic was different and stronger than other witches.  However, I was getting annoyed with how many times she passed out during the entirety of the book which was several times more than it should have been.  Besides this annoyance I adored Ember’s character who brought the book to life.

Besides Ember, the book was filled with an array of various characters.  And for a while there was three love interests: Ember’s best friend, Finney, the lantern, Jack who has been watching over her from childhood, and the charismatic vampire, Dev.  Besides that the book contained, witches, several kinds of vampires, werewolves, automatons, trolls, vampire bats, the boogeyman, wizards, pirates, and more magical creatures.  They all added to the stunning world-building and diversity of characters who traveled and adventured with Ember through the Otherworld.

The Otherworld was a magical world that lived alongside the normal world but its people were not human.  The world was filled with every kind of haunt and spook that one can think of but no humans were allowed to enter.  The world was far ahead of the normal world in technological advancements and it was exciting to read about some of the things we take for granted running off witchlight in a magical world.  In the end the world-building was truly a masterpiece.

I loved this book and would highly recommend it to all.  It brings to life the origin of Halloween in stunning fashion that was simply unputdownable. 

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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.

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: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

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Jane Mckeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefield Gettysburg ending the Civil War and changing the nation forever. The safety of America depends upon a few and with the laws such as the Negro and Native Reeducation Act children are sent to combat schools. There are few other options available to Jane who is determined to be an attendant to protect the well off. For a negro like her, it’s a chance at a better life.

But she doesn’t want that life. She wants to go home to Kentucky but as families begin to disappear around the country Jane becomes embroiled in a political scheme to put the world back into its natural order. Soon the dead are the least of Jane’s worries for the living can be just as dangerous.

This book was phenomenal and much better than I expected it to be. The characters were totally awesome and the reimagined history was unique.  I loved reading about a different America. The book also confronted major ideas about race and the nature of humans. Overall it was a stunning tale that I would definitely recommend to others.

One of the main reasons I adored Dread Nation was because of the characters especially the main character, Jane. Jane was brave with a bit of a temper and she was an excellent killer of the undead. Her backstory was intricate and we as the reader were lied to about her past several times until the very end of the book. However, I really wanted to know more about her and Jackson’s past relationship. She carried her secrets and I liked how the book slowly revealed them. Jane’s character growth was decent as she continued to learn about the times that she lived in.

The other characters were also excellently rendered. Their pasts which intertwined with Jane’s intrigued me but sadly little was revealed about them. They were, however, all awesome in different ways by using the skills they possessed to their advantage.

Image result for i loved it gifBesides the characters, I loved the alternate history that the book portrayed. It included the undead and a hint of magic during one of the most interesting times in American history. It was excellently rendered and I loved reimagining the Civil War and the times after it. The book also included the topic of slavery and race which furthered the historical accuracy of the book since it was a major issue of the times. Dread Nation’s retelling of history was unique and thrilling and for that I loved it.

By the end of the book, I firmly decided that I adored this tale and hope for a sequel. I would recommend this book to one and all especially lovers of history.

Book Review: The Forest Queen by Betsy Cornwell

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Desperate to escape the prison of her life and an arranged marriage, Silviana runs into the forest with two friends to find a different life.  Soon though she steals into a jail and leaves a message for the Sheriff stating that she will protect the innocent.  Soon people are flocking to her hideaway and before long a band of rebels is born.  As the past and that which she fears most approaches, Silviana must decide whether to flee or fight and if she does fight what she is willing to pay to save those she loves. 

The Forest Queen was an intriguing new twist on the old ballad of Robin Hood.  It was filled with dark twists and the process of overcoming pain and facing the fears of the past.  The characters were heartfelt and the world building was unique but could have been expanded upon.

The world building was different and the author created something entirely new for the basis of the tale.  We learned little of it and it was much the same as the original Robin Hood.  The kingdom is filled with oppression from the nobles through overtaxing and the harsh punishments enacted due to minor infractions.  Besides that, the book told little of the surrounding environment in which the characters interacted besides the existence of a forest, a shire, and a river.

Image result for fantastic! gifBesides the somewhat unsatisfactory world building, the characters were fantastic.  The main character, Silvie was haunted by nightmares due to her brother.  Her character growth was wonderful to read about for she grew from a girl unwilling to change and see life, as is really, is into a young woman who steals from her brother and the nobles giving the pilfered goods to the poor who are barely surviving so that the rich may live in resplendence.

Her love interest, Bird was mediocre.  He was strong and quiet always supporting Silvie but his character was not expanded on or really grown throughout the tale.  He was not my favorite and the attraction between Silvie and Bird was slow and almost nonexistent.  Besides Birdie, there was Little Jane who grew from a frightened girl turned out of her home to a happy and excited mother.  Her character growth was excellent since we saw her acceptance of a new life that afforded her options she had never thought of before.

Silvie’s brother, Sheriff John was extremely cruel and his intentions towards his sister were most certainly not pure.  He was just like any other cruel Sheriff who imprisoned and heavily taxed his constituents then tortured, killed, and jailed them for their inability to sustain the high taxes.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the book.  There were a few hiccups at the beginning when the author skipped a few scenes into the future which I personally found annoying but I liked the retelling of Robin Hood and would still recommend The Forest Queen.

 

Book Review: A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess

Book Review: A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess

Image result for a poison dark and drowningHenrietta is in a city full of lies and secrets. Her friend Rook is turning into a monster and as she desperately searches for a cure she must hide the truth of who she really is; a witch and definitely not the chosen one.

When she finds what could be the answer to defeating the Ancient Ones she sets out on a journey with Blackwood, and Magnus intent upon stopping the ancients once and for all.

This book was phenomenal. I was on the edge of a precipice which the book could simply push me into for I there were so many twists that I never saw coming. The main character was wonderful and it was easy to connect with her desire to heal Rook. Furthermore, the book was boring at the beginning but steadily grew more intriguing.

****Spoilers Ahead****

Close to the end, we found out that the evil Ancient was her father! I did not see that coming. And then there were two love interests and when she finally told Rook she loved him, I screamed. I screamed in horror for it is so cliche to fall in love with a best friend and Rook was never my favorite character. But I hated how Blackwood proposed. I mean honestly, we don’t even know if she truly loves him. Did she just agree to marry him because Rook was out of the picture and she’s unclean?

Book Review: The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

Book Review: The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

It’s London, 1812 and Lady Helen Wrexhall is living a life full of balls and trying to secure a marriage proposal.  Despite that she is soon drawn into regency London when a maid of her household mysteriously disappears.  There she meets Lord Carlston, a man intent on finding and destroying the demons that infiltrate society.  Helen shouldn’t be anywhere near the man who is surrounded by a taint of scandal but he offers a way to find out why her parents died.  Soon she is drawn into a conspiracy that could destroy the world as she knows it.  But can she trust a man whose life is built on lies and does she have the strength to face the dangers of an unknown world?

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