Thursday, June 14, 2018

Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop!!

Welcome to the Splash into Summer Giveaway hop hosted by Bookhounds!  For my stop, I will be giving away the winners choice of book (up to fifteen dollars) from the Book Depository.  International participants welcome! 

Some possible picks: 

Image result for caraval coverImage result for legendary by stephanie garberImage result for the orphan queenImage result for the orphan queen 2Image result for winter songImage result for winter songImage result for the hate you give bookImage result for all the bright placesImage result for everything everythingImage result for the sun is also a starImage result for marking timeImage result for cleopatras moon

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Monday, May 28, 2018

Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown

Image result for picture the dead by adele griffin illustrationsAge Range: Middle Grade/ Young Adult
Pages: 272
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication Date: 1 May 2010
Genre: Middle Grade/ YA/ Historical Mystery/ Supernatural

A ghost will find his way home.

Jennie Lovell's life is the very picture of love and loss. First she is orphaned and forced to live at the mercy of her stingy, indifferent relatives. Then her fiancé falls on the battlefield, leaving her heartbroken and alone. Jennie struggles to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, but is haunted by a mysterious figure that refuses to let her bury the past.

When Jennie forms an unlikely alliance with a spirit photographer, she begins to uncover secrets about the man she thought she loved. With her sanity on edge and her life in the balance, can Jennie expose the chilling truth before someone-or something-stops her?

Against the brutal, vivid backdrop of the American Civil War, Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown have created a spellbinding mystery where the living cannot always be trusted and death is not always the end.

My Thoughts:

Honestly, I did not expect to like Picture the Dead as much as I did. This, for me,  was one of those books that sits on your shelf for years and you just keep telling yourself that you will get to it someday. In my normal reading style, I probably would never have ended up reading it, but recently I have been in a major reading slump and have had to rethink the way I choose what to read.  To try and break myself out of said slump, I have been reading books with little commitment on my part.  Ie.  books that are standalone or duologies, books that are short, and books that seem like easier reads. Because if this I decided to give Picture the Dead a try, and I am very glad I did. 

One of the most unusual parts of the book were the illustrations that accompany the text.  They are presented in the format of the protagonist's scrapbook. I have seen mixed reviews of the illustration style (examples given below), but I personally enjoyed it; they were unique and quirky though I will admit they do not really fit the time frame the book was set in. For me, the illustrations not only helped to break up the book but added some suspense. I was often excited to see what the illustration for each chapter and how it would tie into the story.  The only real drawback I found to the illustrations was that some of the handwriting in the letters were hard to read, but that being said it is not completely necessary to read the letters to understand what is going on in the book they are more companion pieces. 

Related imageImage result for picture the dead by adele griffin illustrations

I will say that this book is perfect for a quick read.  I generally do not think of mysteries as light reads, but there is something about the flow and style of the writing that made to book feel intriguing and suspenseful while still feeling like a quick/easy read.  The plot was quick and engaging, and the pictures really help move the story along and add a lot of dimension to the story.  The plot itself is not completely revolutionary by any means. I was able to guess some of the plot twists, but for me, this did not take away from the story. 

The book itself is written in a style that both younger and older readers can enjoy.  Because of this, I think that this book would be a good introduction to reading for younger individuals.  I can see younger readers really enjoying this story not only for the plot but for the quirky illustrations that accompany the book.  In total, the presentation of this book was very unique and intriguing and could be suitable for a wide variety of individuals. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles #1) by Rick Riordan

Image result for the red pyramid bookAge Group: Middle Grade
Pages: 544
Publisher:  Disney Press
Publication Date: 16 August 2011
Genre: Middle Grade/Fantasy/Supernatural

Since their mother's death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. 

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives. 

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them —Set— has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe - a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs

My Thoughts: 

I went into this book already being a big Rick Riordan fan. I had previously read the Percy Jackson series, and I was very impressed with his the way he integrated mythology into the story. Because of this, and my love for Ancient Egyptian mythology, I had very high expectations for this book. I can definitely say that he met and even surpassed my expectations.

I was amazed at how accurately and effortlessly he was able to integrate the Egyptian mythology into the story.  It never felt forced nor did he make up any false mythology to create this story.  Instead, he used different pieces of existing Egyptian mythology to create his story.  He even found a way to work around some of the more inappropriate and weird parts of Egyptian mythology.  For example, he explains away the incestuous nature of the gods by stating that the gods refer to each other by their relationships whatever bodies they inhabit, Ie. if the bodies they inhabit are siblings they will refer to each other as such.

One of the things that I was not expecting was for the book tackle the injustices that are faced by people of color.  The book states that the two main characters, the Kane siblings, are biracial with Carter being much darker than his sister who could pass for white.  Throughout the book, Carter talks about him having to deal with peoples negative perceptions, having to look and act a certain way, and being mistreated due to his skin color. The book also touches on some of the issues Sadie faces being a biracial individual who passes for white, this includes often being seen as different and separate from her family. While I was definitely surprised that this was included in a Middle-Grade novel, I was definitely pleased to see a book not only showcasing these tough subjects but doing so in a way that younger readers can understand and possibly learn from.

While I loved almost everything about the story, I was not the biggest fan of narration style of the book. Riordan has it written as if the reader is listening to a recording of the two main characters.  I don't think I would have minded this style if it had been consistent but the tape portions seemed to pop up sporadically and during other parts, it seemed like normal narration, because of this the book sometimes felt a little choppy.  However, the other aspects of the book were so interesting I was able to overlook the narration.

This book is a very funny and easy read despite being over 500 pages.  The characters are funny and interesting, the plot is well paced and overall enjoyable. I am very interested in seeing what happens next for the Kane siblings.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May I Suggest Giveawayhop

Welcome to the MAy I Suggest Giveaway Hop!
Hosted by Stuck In Books!

After much consideration, I will be giving away the winners choice of one book below, however, if not of this strike your fancy, you may also pick your own book.  

Image result for nevernightImage result for children of blood and boneImage result for circe bookImage result for caravalImage result for the book of ivyImage result for forbidden bookImage result for bellesImage result for the hazel woods

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Today Megan Crewe and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover and an exclusive content for RUTHLESS MAGIC, her new YA Fantasy which releases May 30, 2018! Check out the awesome cover and enter the giveaway!

On to the reveal! 

Author: Megan Crewe
Pub. Date: May 30, 2018
Publisher: Megan Crewe
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: ?
Find it: Goodreads, Pre-Order  

In the contest to keep their magic, the only options may be die... or kill.

Each year, the North American Confederation of Mages assesses every sixteen-year-old novice. Some will be chosen. The rest must undergo a procedure to destroy their magical ability unless they prove themselves in the mysterious and brutal Mages' Exam.

Disadvantaged by her parents' low standing, Rocío Lopez has dedicated herself to expanding her considerable talent to earn a place in the Confederation. Their rejection leaves her reeling—and determined to fight to keep her magic.

Long ashamed of his mediocre abilities, Finn Lockwood knows the Confederation accepted him only because of his prominent family. Declaring for the Exam instead means a chance to confirm his true worth.

Thrown into the testing with little preparation, Rocío and Finn find themselves becoming unlikely allies—and possibly more. But the Exam holds secrets more horrifying than either could have imagined. What are the examiners really testing them for? And as the trials become increasingly vicious, how much are they willing to sacrifice to win?

The start of a new series by USA Today bestselling author Megan Crewe, Ruthless Magic combines the magic of Harry Potter with the ferocity of The Hunger Games alongside a poignant romance. Fans of Cassandra Clare and Holly Black, look no further for your next urban fantasy fix!

 Grab the prequel MAGIC UNMASKED for FREE!

Exclusive Excerpt!

Hail pelted us, and the wind lashed at us from all sides. I could hardly breathe. The only solid thing was Finn. I curled my fingers into the damp fabric of his shirt and sang into the stiller space between us. “Como veían que resistía.”

Magic hummed from the vicious air into me. An image swam up of the grate I’d come across in the courtyard, between the buildings. A grate that led to something below.

I knelt down, pulling Finn with me, and pressed my free hand to the spongy ground. The wind tried to steal my next lyrics from my lips, but the magic raced through me all the same—through me and down, down, into an open space I sensed below us like a gasp of fresh air.

I did gasp then, and forced out a verse. I’d never magically transported another person with me before, but I had to. I had to.

The magic rushed up around us with the thrust of my words. I clung to Finn, singing the energy around him as tightly as I could. Then I propelled us downward with a lurch.

We surged through rough blackness that rasped over my skin and landed with a feet-jarring thump. I exhaled in a rush, dizzy in the sudden quiet. My eardrums ached from the pounding of the storm we’d escaped and the effort of the conjuring.

We crouched in total darkness. The surface beneath me felt like concrete. Cold dank air hovered around us with a faintly salty flavor that reminded me of the ocean.

My fingers were tangled in Finn’s shirt. His arm was still around me. In the dark, I was abruptly aware of the rise and fall of his rasping breath, the warmth of his chest, and the answering warmth it sent through me.

He was alive—we were alive—and in that moment, it felt like a miracle.

About Megan: 
Photo credit: Chris Blanchenot
Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and son (and does on occasion say “eh”), she’s always planning some new trip around the world, and she’s spent the last six years studying kung fu, so you should probably be nice to her. She has been making up stories about magic and spirits and other what ifs since before she knew how to write words on paper. These days the stories are just a lot longer.

Megan’s first novel, Give Up the Ghost, was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. The Way We Fall was nominated for the White Pine Award and made the International Literacy Association Young Adults’ Choices List, and Earth & Sky was an OLA Best Bet for 2015. She is also the author of the rest of the Fallen World series (The Lives We Lost, The Worlds We Make, and Those Who Lived), the rest of the Earth & Sky trilogy (The Clouded Sky and A Sky Unbroken), and the standalone contemporary fantasy A Mortal Song.
Giveaway Details:
One lucky winner will receive a $10 Amazon gift card and a pack of Ruthless Magic swag featuring the cover and character art.

Ruthless Magic cover reveal giveaway

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Caraval (Caraval #1) l by Stephanie Garber

Image result for caravalAge: YA
Pages: 416
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: 31 January 2017
Genre: YA/ Fantasy

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

My Thoughts: 

I LOVE LOVE LOVED this book.   It was such a beautifully crafted tale filled with magic, intrigue, romance, and suspense. It really had it all.  I enjoyed this book so much, in fact, that I neglected all of my school work and other responsibilities to binge read it in one day.  Not a smart move I know, but I couldn't help myself.  The author had me from the very first chapter, which is not a common occurrence for myself particularly with fantasy novels.  Somehow the author managed to make a just over four hundred page book feel short, and not in a bad way.  The book was just so well paced that it never felt boring or lagging. I honestly can't think of one complaint when it comes to this book. 

Stephanie Garber's world building was honestly amazing in this book.  The book is so descriptive that it is easy for the reader to get sucked in and really envision everything that happens in the novel.  The world of Caraval has this sinister and magical feel that really sucked me in; I truly haven't read anything like it before. The only thing I could say is that I would have liked a little more explanation of the Isles and the world outside of Caraval.  Even something as small as a map would have been helpful. That being said, I can understand why the author didn't add this as the book is already four hundred pages adding more of the Isles may get to be too much. 

The world is nothing without the characters, and Garber honestly creates some of the best I have read in quite a while.  I really enjoyed the main character, Scarlett. She was a sensible character who tries to think rationally and make the best decision she can, but sometimes her heart gets in the way. I think it is her rationality and her devotion to her sister that really drew me to her as a character, her sister, on the other hand, I couldn't stand for most of the book.  She was too reckless and too much of a menace for my taste. However, she does have some redeeming qualities to her.  I think the most interesting part of these characters is the dichotomy between the two sisters.  They were about as different as two characters can get, and yet they both had a deep level of loyalty and devotion to one another that I really enjoyed. 

This story, while it had great characters, was definitely a plot-driven story, and boy was the plot amazing. This book is the definition of a page-turner.  Every time you think something is going to happen the story takes one-eighty and goes in a completely opposite direction. I am usually pretty good at guessing the plot of a book, so I love it when a book can trick me and leave me stumped.  This book did just that.and had a killer cliff-hanger to boot. 

This book left me desperate for more, I absolutely cannot wait until the sequel, Legendary, comes out. I will be impatiently waiting for the publication of the next book.  I simply cannot wait to continue reading about the magnificent world that Garber has created.