Book Reviews

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

“It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.”

I can’t take it anymore! Things are getting way too intense. I know how it all ends, but still, it’s just so much. 

The golden trio is growing up. It amazes me that in every book, the growth is so evident. After finishing each one, I was struck by the way Harry, Ron, and Hermione had changed. In this one, they have to overcome yet another hurdle in their relationship. What I mean is that Ron and Hermione finally get more serious, but of course, it’s not as easy as all that. I don’t think it’s ever that simple with Ron and Hermione. They always seem to take the long bumpy road rather than the straight and easy one. Which was sometimes frustrating, but I think that’s the nature of their relationship. Then there was also Harry and Ginny. Sooo cute. I really love Ginny, I think she’s a great fit for Harry. 

“Dumbledore says people find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right.”

It was really great to learn about Voldemort’s origins. So far I’ve been thinking of him as a black picture – he’s just bad. But this added so much more depth to him and also showed the reasons for some of his actions, as horrible as they might be.

And Snape! I’m trying to figure him out, but I just can’t! He’s too good at what he does. 

“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”

One thing that annoyed me a bit was the way that Harry constantly questioned Dumbledore. I thought that Harry should trust Dumbledore a bit more considering that he is one of the greatest wizards. I constantly thought, ‘Alright, Harry, relax. Dumbledore knows what he’s doing.” Maybe, though, all these questions came out because Dumbledore was the only one who had answers. 

Well, on to the next one! Hold onto your hats, friends. This is going to be a wild ride. 

“Do you remember me telling you we are practicing non-verbal spells, Potter?”
“Yes,” said Harry stiffly.
“Yes, sir.”
“There’s no need to call me “sir” Professor.”
The words had escaped him before he knew what he was saying.”

Book Reviews

The Crown of Rosemund by Michele Ashman Bell

BLURD

Anduron, 1498

The king and queen are dead, murdered by one who will stop at nothing to rule. But the young princess—Rosemund—has survived, spirited deep into the forest by her parents’ most trusted advisor. There, she finds refuge in a small cottage and a new life, one in which she must play a role that will ensure her survival. Soldiers are combing the countryside searching for the lost princess, and they will not rest until she is found—and eliminated.

Rosemund’s strength grows as she trains for battle and endures the hardships and dangers of peasant life. When chance brings Maxwell, a young man from the nearby village, into her life, Rose finds in him an ally and a friend. As her sixteenth birthday approaches, the time has come for Rose to reclaim her birthright, and in a court controlled by a vengeful new ruler, she must play a deadly game of politics in order to seize the throne that is rightfully hers.

MY REVIEW

This was a fun adventure! The idea behind this story was compelling and exciting.
But I had a really hard time getting through this book…. Especially at the beginning, there was a lot of telling rather than showing. It slowed the plot down a bit. And there was so much dialogue! I know there are readers who love dialogue; it’s just not for me.
The relationship between Jacob and Rose was really sweet and his loyalty to her was to be admired!
This book wasn’t a personal favourite for me, but I know there are others who have loved it. So maybe you’ll enjoy it too.

Book Reviews

The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

In this sequel to the Orphan Queen, Wilhelmina and Tobiah must fight against all odds to stop the wraith from destroying both of their kingdoms. 

“No matter the masks we wear, we always end up together.”

The character development for Wilhelmina was fantastic. She had to learn what it meant to be queen not only in name but also in action. She was forced to make some decisions that were not at all easy and that her haunted afterward. Despite this, she persevered and always strove to do what was best for her people. Tobiah went through many of these struggles too, as well as grappling between duty and desire. Plus, he had some pretty big secrets he was hiding. The first time I read this a few years ago, I remember being quite shocked. Chrysalis was an interesting addition to this story, but I felt that he was terribly mistreated. Yes, he was made of wraith and he often acted without considering the consequences, but I thought that Wilhelmina could have been a little nicer to him. It felt like she either ignored him or yelled at him. 

“Sometimes we hate others for the things we hate in ourselves”

I loved that Meadows finally took us to Aecor. After all the hype around this country, it was great to be there; I just wish there was more time spent exploring it and getting to know the culture.  

I also found that the first ½ of the book was rather slow. It felt like they spent a lot of time talking about the problems and not doing too much to fix them. Despite this, I did still enjoy the book overall and would love to read some more by Jodi Meadows.  

Lastly, this was a clean read. There was no profanity or sexual content. 

“Reasons we should get married:
Because I love you.
We both look good in black boots.
I spent some time without you, and I didn’t like it.
You make me happy.
I make you laugh.
I like the way you fight.
You see through my masks.
I really love you.
You love me, too. (Though you’ve mostly said this while yelling, so perhaps I should have double-checked.)
Army of tiny vigilantes. (I have name ideas.)
Various political reasons that make sense but don’t fit with the theme of this list.
I’m holding your handwriting hostage. You can have it back when you say yes.”

Until next time!

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Book Reviews

Belvedor and the Four Corners by Ashleigh Bello

Blurb

The Hunger Games meets Red Queen and Throne of Glass in this action-packed Epic Fantasy Adventure series.

On a quest for freedom from a tyrant king, follow Arianna Belvedor as she unearths the enchantment buried beneath her dark world and learns how to wield magic alongside her swords. She will either win or die; whichever her fate, freedom is certain.


Arianna Belvedor has only ever dreamed of winning her freedom from the Four Corners—a cold and cruel city where all the children of the world are kept, each with an opportunity to earn their citizenship upon their eighteenth year. Just months away from her ultimate battle, she is certain that her notable skills as a warrior-slave (having been trained by Master Solomon Bell, a formidable mentor in Warrior’s District) will give her an edge during the annual Free Falls Festivals: Free for the slaves who earn their citizenship. Falls for the ones who die.

Alas, Arianna’s talent with a sword cannot outmaneuver the burning curiosities of her heart, leading her to reveal a shocking yet spectacular secret about King Devlindor and his long-standing reign as High King of Olleb-Yelfra.

The world as she knows it is a lie, its true spellbinding history exploited and suppressed under centuries of deceitful acts.

Her world turned upside down with new, unfathomable knowledge, Arianna must make a choice that could change her life forever—ignore the truth and continue following the path laid out for her since birth or break free from her chains and carve her own… if she can survive.

Immerse yourself in this addictive fantasy world as Arianna is thrust on a thrilling journey to uncover magic and more than earn her rights to freedom.

Belvedor and the Four Corners is a recipient of the 2017 Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion Award.

Review

This book has a lot of potential! I found that the world was unique and interesting, it had some suspenseful action scenes, and the friendship between Arianna and Lessa was sweet. Unfortunately, though, this was not a book for me. Some points of the storyline were a little awkward like how four slaves from different districts just happened to meet as they escaped. There was also a lot of dialogue. I know that some people really enjoy this, but I prefer a balance between dialogue and colourful prose.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Book Reviews

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

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Sooo I’ve never read this series before…. I know, I know! Don’t shoot me. I was a little curious about what all the hype was about, but I never had the motivation to actually acquire copies of this series. Now that I’ve read the first book, I think I understand. J.K. Rowling creates a world that is colourful and absolutely bursting with creative attributes. There were so many times when I thought, “Wow! What a brilliant idea,” or was astounded by how unique and imaginative it all was. It makes me curious about Rowling’s thought process and also super impressed!

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

Harry was, of course, a sweet and brave boy with perhaps a streak of recklessness. Sneaking a dragon up to the astronomy tower at midnight…? Well, I suppose it was for the greater

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good. I loved Ron and Hermione, Harry’s best friends. They were adorable and their friendship was admirable; although, there were definitely a few bumps in the road. Then there was also Hagrid and Dumbledore and Neville and so many more characters. I enjoyed them all! Even Snape’s creepiness was great. The negative characters gave the cast such a full dynamic. Of course, he-who-must-not-be-named was a chilling villain and the fact that everyone (except Harry) was afraid to say his name made it even more so.

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The world-building was absolutely marvellous. Rowling makes everything so vibrant and colourful that you almost, for a little while, believe Hogwarts is real and that your letter will come by owl any day.

“The truth.” Dumbledore sighed. “It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”

The pacing of the story had a nice rhythm to it. I think because there was so much to experience and discover, I was kept engaged. I’m curious to discover if this will be the same in the following books. Which leads nicely into my last statement. I will definitely be reading the next book! I actually have already started…. If you have not read this book (which I highly doubt), then you should. If not for the enchanting story, then at least for the experience. Harry Potter is a classic (and I can see why now), so you should add it to your list alongside books such as The Chronicles of Narnia.  

Bye for now!

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Book Reviews

The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1) by Jodi Meadows

This is my second time reading The Orphan Queen and even though I knew what was going to happen, I still found myself being swept away by the story. 

“I was there was the war began. And when it ended.”

The world that Meadows creates is unique and enchanting, yet dangerous and harsh. It was thrilling to join Will as she went undercover as a refugee noblewoman and navigated the court and the streets of the Indigo Kingdom. Will was brave and kind and independent, not only in taking care of herself but also in the decisions she made. She wasn’t afraid to go against what other people wanted her to do especially if she knew it to be wrong. And Tobiah? Who is the real Tobiah? It was almost hard to get to know Blackknife because Will and him did a lot of fighting and not so much talking. Then with the prince, I was never quite sure how he actually felt about something. One thing I’m a little confused about is whether or not Tobiah knew who she was the whole time. I think he did, but I’m not sure if that was super clear.  

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“Oh, nameless girl. When will you learn to trust me?”

As for the writing style, the main thing that I really loved about this book is how Meadows is able to just sit in a scene and completely fill it out. She doesn’t just drop us in a scene for a few pages, then move on to another, she actually lets us explore it and look around a little. I think this is definitely something I can apply to my own writing! 

“A queen who wouldn’t take risks for her people wasn’t worthy of being a queen at all.”

Before we go, I do want to briefly touch on the magic element in this book. It was interesting that it’s illegal and that throughout the story, Will’s relationship with it grows; and perhaps she becomes less afraid of it. But I’m a little confused about the wraith. What exactly is it? This might be explained more in the next book. I mean, why should the readers completely understand it when the characters don’t either.    

Lastly, this was a clean read. There was no profanity or sexual content, so I could fully enjoy this adventure. 

Ta ta for now!

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Book Reviews

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

This was a lovely and unique adventure! Harrow has a beautiful writing voice that is quite charming. I think it was my favourite part of the book. I found myself lost in a forest of colourful descriptions and creative similies. It was quite enjoyable to read! 

“I hope you will find the cracks in the world and wedge them wider, so the light of other suns shines through; I hope you will keep the world unruly, messy, full of strange magics; I hope you will run through every open Door and tell stories when you return.”

Another thing I loved about this book was all the pieces that came together to form the ending. At first, when January began reading her book, I wasn’t crazy about the change. But as things went along, I became invested in this second story and wanted to discover how it would play out and fit into January’s. 

For the characters… January began as a naive and slightly timid girl, but as the story went along, she became brave and more independent. She even left her companions and finished her quest on her own. I was actually surprised at this. I had not expected this boldness from her, but at the same time, it felt right that she did this. Samuel was a sweetheart! Although, I wish their relationship was developed a bit more. But at the same time, this wasn’t the focus of the story, so it’s not a huge deal. The villain, Mr. Locke, was, yes, intimidating. However, I had a hard time transitioning from cold, unsympathetic Mr. Locke to psycho-leader-of-an-evil-society Mr. Locke. 

In terms of the plot, I can’t say it worked well for me. While I enjoyed the twist of a book within a book, at times it slowed the pacing down quite a bit. Also, the climax of the story had a different flavour than your typical YA novel. At least that it how it felt to me. There was an element of romance, but the ultimatum was the reunion of the family. It is not often that this is so central in YA literature and I liked that it resided so prominently in this book. 

Lastly, this was mostly a clean read, but there was some mild language.    

I hope you all have a fabulous day,

Emma

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Book Reviews

The Sanctuary by Sidney Nesti

One is the world of imperfection and sorrow

Two are the beloved friends, forever divided 

Three are the kindred of the gods

Four are the Guardians 

Five are the kindred of humanity 

Six are the senses that lead to immortality 

Seven are the seals

Eight are the infinite infinities. 

This was an intense and adventurous read! I was worried that I would be a little lost since this is the second book of a series and I have not read the first. However, Nesti had the foresight to write a little summary of the previous adventures in the form of a letter from the protagonist to her father. While this was a lot of information to soak in right at the get-go, it was super helpful in grasping the context.

The main character, Jude, was determined and brave. She didn’t let her position as the Scion of Fire go to her head; rather, she was focused on finding the child, Ursil. He needed her help and it was her mission to help him. Sylvia on the other hand was pretty self-centred, but somehow, I still enjoyed the dynamic between the two sisters. I think perhaps it was their dependence on each other despite their differences and their growth throughout the story.

The plot moves at a comfortable pace and slowed only in a few places. As for the writing… The explanations were clear and I loved the balance between showing and telling. The style was simple, but I suppose that is a matter of opinion.
Lastly, this was mostly a clean read; although, there was a bit of language.

Overall, I enjoyed this story and I absolutely encourage you to read it and support this new author!

Bye for now!

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my writing

Beautiful Beast is Now Live

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Hi friends! I know you’re probably getting sick of me posting about my book, but this one is important because… BEAUTIFUL BEAST is now live on Amazon! I am so excited about this! I can’t believe that after everything it’s actually up there for the world to read.

If you haven’t read the blurb yet, here it is.

My name is Kalista. They call me the beast.

Kalista has been cursed by a powerful sorceress and is now a prisoner in her own palace. As petals fall from an enchanted rose, her fate and the sorceress’s victory draw nearer. But Kalista refuses to be defeated so easily and uses her own magic to push against the bindings. Yet what if it is not enough and the only way the curse might be shattered is through the help of another?

When Arawn crosses into the beast’s domain, he has one motive: revenge for his brother’s death. But as he draws nearer to the beast and is surrounded by invisible servants, magical banquets, and an enchanted forest, he realizes that this beast is much more complex and much more human than he first thought.

As their paths intertwine, Kalista must risk opening her heart to another, while Arawn must learn to see past his hate and prejudice. Together, they struggle against spells, wolves, and time itself to break the curse. If they fail, Kalista will fall asleep and will never again wake.

********

Also, here are the Amazon and Goodreads links. If you would like to read some reviews, then visit Goodreads. 🙂

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Book Reviews

Terraformer by Colleen Houck

Tiger's Curse series – Book SnacksI’ve read the Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck and I did enjoy them. The first book was a little difficult to read, but things improved as the series went on. When I saw Terraformer on NetGalley, I thought why not give it a try? (Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.) 

This one was also rather difficult to start. The first two chapters were about Astra waking up on the ship and then just hanging around waiting for someone else to wake up. I think all of that could have been condensed to just a few paragraphs, but once the others woke up, things started moving. 

I was quite intrigued by the world that Houck built for this book. It shows an earth that has been so devastated by pollution that people can only live in specially controlled environments. The new planet, Gaia, is completely different, though. It is full of foliage and living things. I especially thought it was interesting that Uncle Harm asked the plants’ permission if he could use them for food. I’m not sure that we need to go that far here on earth, but perhaps if we were not so quick to take what we wanted all the time…would it help? 

Anyway, Astra was an interesting character; she was quite intelligent. However, I cannot say that I agreed with her choices in men. Honestly, I didn’t really like either of them. Jax seemed unhealthily infatuated with her and Thane could only think of what was best for the colony. Also, I wish that Astra’s relationship with the trees could have been more fully developed. She went from knowing little, to being super connected to them. There was not a long in between section that helped transition and develop their relationship.  

So I don’t know about this one. I enjoyed the setting and some of the ideas behind this story, but I found that it could have been coloured and shaped differently.    

Have you read any of Houck’s books? What did you think?

Anyway, by for now! Talk to you all soon.

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