Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Hope and Red by Jon Skovron

Hope and Red by Jon Skovron
"Hope, the lone survivor when her village is massacred by the emperor's forces is secretly trained by a master Vinchen warrior as an instrument of vengeance.

Red, an orphan adopted by a notorious matriarch of the criminal underworld, learns to be an expert thief and con artist.

TOGETHER THEY WILL TAKE DOWN AN EMPIRE."- summary from Amazon

Holy crap, Skovron's adult fantasy debut is fantastic, compelling, and utterly fascinating. The book was a great read from the beginning but it just kept getting better and better the further I made it into the book, and I am dying to get the second book in my hands. Red and Hope are such wonderfully fully realized characters and I loved the dynamic between them once they meet and the characters and friends they meet along the way.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
"Kell is one of the last Travelers-magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes, connected by one magical city.

There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad king-George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered-and where Kell was raised alongside Rhys Maresh, the rougish heir to a flourishing empire. White London-a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive."- summary from Amazon

Schwab's second adult fantasy book (and start to a new series) is fantastic, engrossing, and introduces readers to several awesome characters and beautifully written world-building. I loved bouncing around from character to character, getting to know Kell, Rhys, and Delilah on their own as well as their interactions with each other as their stories intertwine. I had such trouble putting this book down whenever I was reading it and so I went through it way more quickly than I thought I would. Schwab is an extremely gifted writer and I am so happy to see her continue writing such fantastic novels, and I am so eager to spend two more books with these characters.

Overall, a fantastic follow-up to Vicious and I cannot wait to get started on the sequel, A Gathering of Shadows!

FTC: Bought book at author's book signing. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace
"When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight, and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous."- summary from Amazon

Slow start, but got very interesting and suspenseful in the second half.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Cat Who Came In Off the Roof by Annie M.G. Schmidt

The Cat Who Came In off the Roof by Annie M.G. Schmidt
"An act of kindness brings shy reporter Mr. Tibble into contact with the unusual Miss Minou. Tibble is close to losing his job because he only writes stories about cats. Fortunately, Minou provides him with real news. She gets the juicy inside information from her local feline friends, who are the eyes and ears of the neighborhood. Tibble is appreciative, but he wonders how she does it. He has noticed that Minou is terrified of dogs and can climb trees and rooftops with elegance and ease. . . . It’s almost as if she’s a cat herself. But how can that be?"- summary from Amazon

An interesting, fun quick middle-grade read. I finished this pretty much in just one day. It's got some great magical realism in it and a bit of a mystery at the center of it when Miss Minou comes across an evil bit of news regarding someone very prominent in the community.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Away We Go by Emil Ostrovski

Away We Go by Emil Ostrovski
"Westing is not your typical school. For starters, you have to have one very important quality in order to be admitted—you have to be dying. Every student at Westing has been diagnosed with PPV, or the Peter Pan Virus, and no one is expected to live to graduation. What do you do when you go to a high school where no one has a future or any clue how to find meaning in their remaining days?"- summary from Amazon

Really interesting, smart, emotional book. I also really liked the gay MC angle, which I didn't know about when I first started the book so it was a nice surprise.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.