A Love for the Ages

A Love for the Ages

passenger

Passenger

by Alexandra Bracken

passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever.

I don’t often read time-travel books but the cover and the synopsis were just too irresistible. Plus who doesn’t like adventure, romance, and cool ships?

Speaking of romance, this was much more of a love story than I’d anticipated. I mean it makes sense but the synopsis isn’t super mushy or anything, so I thought it be more of a time-travel adventure with a dash or devastating romance. Really it was more equal parts adventure and love, which was fine by me once I got into that mindset.

The characters and the storyline were fabulous. I loved them. The cast was wonderfully diverse. The supporting characters didn’t grab me as much as I’d hoped, but the main characters did not disappoint.

The plot was action packed and extremely engaging. It was well paced and I really had no complaints until I reached the end. Towards the end the plot lost a little bit of its energy and its grip on me. Despite having almost 500 pages to go through the beginning, climax, and reach the resolution, the ending gave hardly any solutions or answers and created a lot of questions. I wanted some loose ends to get me excited about the sequel and build some suspense, but unfortunately I felt like there was too much of that and not enough resolution so I was more disappointed than interested. What did I read all that for if I don’t even get to know how some of the main points worked out?

It was beautifully written though, the style was elegant and seemed to be made for telling fantastical tales. It built up an enchanting air of magic that resonated deeply with me. Without such amazing, dimensional writing, this story would not have been nearly as rich and riveting as it was. Alexandra Bracken sets a fantastic example for fantasy authors everywhere.

Add it on Goodreads.

Buy it from Liberty Bay Books.

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March Love Stacks Giveaway

March Love Stacks Giveaway

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The fantastic Love Stacks giveaway is back! Get excited and get entering!

Love Stacks giveaways are monthly giveaways hosted by me, using gently loved ARC copies provided by Liberty Bay Books. The giveaways are open to entries for the entire duration of the month, and it is possible for an individual to win multiple different months’ prizes. All winners are chosen randomly by Rafflecopter. Winners MUST BE U.S. RESIDENTS.

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Winnings Include:

-One ARC copy of Ash and Bramble by Sarah Prineas
-One ARC copy of Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan
-One ARC copy of Rebel of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Truly Epic Tale

A Truly Epic Tale

letterking

The Letter For The King

by Tonke Dragt

Sixteen-year-old Tiuri must spend hours locked in a chapel in silent contemplation if he is to be knighted the next day. But as he waits by the light of a flickering candle, he hears a knock at the door and a voice desperately asking for help.

A secret letter must be delivered to King Unauwen across the Great Mountains—a letter upon which the fate of the entire kingdom depends. Tiuri has a vital role to play, one that might cost him his knighthood.

Tiuri’s journey will take him through dark, menacing forests, across treacherous rivers, to sinister castles and strange cities. He will encounter evil enemies who would kill to get the letter, but also the best of friends in the most unexpected places.

He must trust no one.

He must keep his true identity secret.

Above all, he must never reveal what is in the letter…

This is a monster of a book. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started this. Dread set in when I saw it was an almost 530 page medieval knight’s story. That combination just screams, long, slow, and boring.  I read it anyways and was quite shocked at what I found.

Somehow, Dragt manages to make 530 pages of questing interesting and relatively fast paced. I had absolutely no idea it was possible to pack all kinds of action into that many pages of just travel, and I still don’t know how Dragt did it, but I was beyond impressed when I found that I was halfway through and still fascinated.

The plot while action filled, never seemed too dramatic or intense, and was surprisingly, rather simple. It worked really well for the story line and Dragt’s writing and style.

I don’t have much patience for most middle grade and younger seeming books, but I never once felt like I was reading a childish book when I read The Letter For The King. It was fantastically versatile and would be appealing to pretty much anyone with a love of adventure and the time to read all 530 pages.

The characters were endearing and possibly my favorite part of the story, although they seemed rather formal and reserved at times, but I believe most of that impression came from Dragt’s voice and style. All the relationships and people seemed almost sugary sweet with rather similar personalities, but that didn’t strike me until after reading it, and didn’t bother me at the time. The good and evil is very clear cut without a whole lot of gray area or guessing, but somehow that works with the style of the book too.

 Last Thoughts: The Letter For The King is a fantastic yet classic adventure story that jumps off the page. Full of classic heros and villans, danger, friendship, and mystery, it is a tale that speaks to the imagination and appeals to all ages. Four and a half out of five stars.

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Gif Consensus:

good

Add it on Goodreads

Buy it from Liberty Bay Books

 

All The Major Constellations

All The Major Constellations

allthemajorconstellationsreal

All The Major Constellations

by Pratima Cranse

***

Format: Paperback

Source: Liberty Bay Books

Expected Date of Publication: November 10th 2015

***

Laura Lettel is the most beautiful girl in the world. . . and Andrew’s not-so-secret infatuation.

Now he’s leaving high school behind and looking ahead to a fresh start at college and distance from his obsessive crush. But when a terrible accident leaves him without the companionship of his two best friends, Andrew is cast adrift and alone—until Laura unexpectedly offers him comfort, friendship, and the support of a youth group of true believers, fundamentalist Christians with problems and secrets of their own. Andrew is curiously drawn to their consuming beliefs, but why? Is it only to get closer to Laura? And is Laura genuinely interested in Andrew, or is she just trying to convert him?

***

I have been dying to get this review out to you guys. I read All the Major Constellations all the way back in July and finally get to share my thoughts.

Andrew was a wonderfully lost and snarky soul. In some ways he, as well as some of the other characters, and some events of the book, gave off a little bit of a Perks of Being a Wallflower vibeHe, much like this book, is one of those that you either love or you hate, and I grew to love him. He was a wonderfully flawed character and an extremely interesting narrator because of his occasional tendency to drift towards becoming an unreliable narrator in a sense.

The plot had the perfect amount of complexity and wasn’t as predictable as I’d worried it may end up being. It was a wild ride that was as dramatic as it was entertaining. While it may have been more intense than everyday life is for most people, it didn’t bother me too much because I felt that it addressed some extremely important social and emotional issues.

The book was written with this sort of dry sense of humor woven in. It was very interesting to read and very well done. Some of the issues and the stances on them combined with the dry and sarcastic writing gave it the potential to offend people, if they don’t go into the book with a particular mindset. Personally, I loved that about it and wasn’t offended in the least. I thought it was fantastic how fearlessly and genuinely Cranse wrote and genuinely admire her as an author.

Last Thoughts: I would definitely recommend reading it and if you decide to, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. It is a very unique book and left an impression on me; isn’t a book I’ll be forgetting about anytime soon. Four out of five stars.

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Gif Consensus: 

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Add it on Goodreads

Buy it from Liberty Bay Books

Daughters Unto Devils

Daughters Unto Devils

daughtersuntodevils

Daughters Unto Devils

by Amy Lukavics

When sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner’s family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly Ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries.

When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn’t right on the prairie. She’s heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul.

While I love reading horror, it isn’t often that the written word gets under my skin enough to really freak me out. Daughters Unto Devils however managed to do just that. When I first finished reading it I bluffed until I had myself believing I wasn’t freaked out in the least but as soon as the lights went out I was cowering beneath the sheets.

The character development left a tiny bit to be desired but then again I am a picky little book monger, so I doubt it would be a problem for most. Amanda did grow some especially in her relationship with her sisters, I just expected there to be a bit more, or just for it to be more obvious, because of the dramatic circumstances around her.

I was most impressed with how masterfully Lukavics spun the plot. Just because it is a short book doesn’t mean it has to have a simple plot. Lukavics filled it with the perfect amount of twists and turns, but what impressed me the most was how perfectly she connected all the dots and tied up the loose ends. I’ll admit, there was a moment when I was worried that some parts of the plot were going to be forgotten, but by the final words my mind was completely blown by how it all came full circle. It made my bookworm heart infinitely happy.

Last Thoughts: Daughters Unto Devils is fantastic for a quick, yet horrifying read. Lukavics unflinchingly and expertly tackles profound and relevant social issues then flawlessly combines them with deliciously appaling lore. I would absolutely recommend it and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Don’t forget that you can enter to win this book and two others in the November Love Stacks giveaway!

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Gif Consensus: 

fear

Add it on Goodreads 

Buy it from Liberty Bay Books

Love Hurts, Accidents Happen, and Dolls are Creepy

Love Hurts, Accidents Happen, and Dolls are Creepy

 accident season cover The Accident Season

by Moira Fowley-Doyle

It’s the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?

I still can’t quite figure out how I feel about this book. It is unique for sure and sent shivers up my spine, but for some inexplicable reason, I didn’t quite connect with it as deeply as one would hope.

The storyline was truly one of a kind, I haven’t even heard of any other book like this. It is a wonderfully fantastical concept, and I’d love to know what inspired it. This book turned out to have so many more dimensions to it than I thought it would after reading the synopsis. It was so eerie. I had no idea it was going to go so far in that direction, but I was very happy it took that turn for the better.

The creep factor was very well done. The Accident Season was full of magic and mystery and intrigue, all of my favorite things. The entire book was spine tingling and filled with beautiful yet haunting scenes that had me checking over my shoulder everywhere I went.

The characters were kind of impossible not to love as a group. They were all really well written for each other and their closeness was really sweet and refreshing to read about. You have the sisters Cara and Alice and their “ex-step brother” Sam, and then their best friend Bea. I loved how this book and this set of characters really showed some amazing messages about family not always being by blood.

The romance was sweet, but not really a favorite of mine. It was done realistically and was well founded and such, but there were moments of it that kind of annoyed me for some reason. Maybe because of the predictability and all the moments where you figure something out before the characters do and are left sitting there rolling your eyes. There wasn’t enough of these incidents to ruin the book for me or anything, but the romance plot held quite a few of them, enough to get on my nerves and keep me from totally and completely loving it.

Unfortunately, the plot occasionally fell pray to the same predictability problems. Thankfully, it was never in too big of a way. It never ruined any big moments, so I guess I’ll have to forgive and forget.

The writing was sweepingly beautiful, and did a great job of weaving together deep emotions and messages with fin, magic, and mystery. Like the book, the writing was both stunning and one of a kind. It was full of absolutely amazing imagery and passion that tugs at your heartstrings.

Last Words: This book is brimming with magic, mystery, and thrill. It is a truly fantastical tale written with deeply impassioned writing that will whisk you away into a unique and eldritch world, that unfortunately I still don’t completely understand. Maybe that is why I didn’t quite connect with it as solidly as I would have liked to, there were still a few holes for me and I prefer a complete pictured. Other than that and the predictability I found this book to be absolutely stunning and a veritable powerhouse. I’d definitely recommend it because it is so one of a kind and pretty much indescribable, it is definitely one have to read for yourself, and with an open mind. I gave it a solid four out of five stars.

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Goodreads and Liberty Bay Books.

Gif. Consensus:

 rathergood

Attack of The Surprise Genre

Attack of The Surprise Genre

scorpion

The Scorpion Rules

by Erin Bow

***

Format: Paperback ARC

Source: Liberty Bay Books

Expected Date of Publication: September 22, 2015

***

A world battered by climate shift and war turns to an ancient method of keeping peace: the exchange of hostages. The Children of Peace – sons and daughters of kings and presidents and generals – are raised together in small, isolated schools called Prefectures. There, they learn history and political theory, and are taught to gracefully accept what may well be their fate: to die if their countries declare war.

Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan-Polar Confederation, is the pride of the North American Prefecture. Learned and disciplined, Greta is proud of her role in keeping the global peace — even though, with her country controlling two-thirds of the world’s most war-worthy resource — water — she has little chance of reaching adulthood alive.

Enter Elián Palnik, the Prefecture’s newest hostage and biggest problem. Greta’s world begins to tilt the moment she sees Elián dragged into the school in chains. The Prefecture’s insidious surveillance, its small punishments and rewards, can make no dent in Elián, who is not interested in dignity and tradition, and doesn’t even accept the right of the UN to keep hostages.

What will happen to Elián and Greta as their two nations inch closer to war?

***

I read this one a while ago so this review is going to be a shorter, less detailed one compared to some of my others

I was no where near prepared for what this book had in store. The synopsis did not prepare me for the surprise genre. I won’t spoil it for you guys, all I will say is that I didn’t realize that was what genre the book was going to be, but in the end I found myself liking it.

There is a love triangle and I really hated it. That was because one of them began rather suddenly and although it was rooted in their pasts together, since we never got to read about any of that time, it felt very out-of-the-blue to the reader. However I grew to like that relationship almost more than the other. For the sake of making this easy without spoiling it all let’s call the relationship I just went into detail about Relationship A, and the other one, Relationship B. I was totally team B, just because I loved the love interest in B. However, Relationship B never really got developed. At all. There were maybe two short scenes that made their feelings clear, but you never got to see how Greta felt, if she reciprocated the feelings ect. Also nothing ever really happened, it never went anywhere. It kind of made me feel like “Why is this even a love interest/ relationship? Why is this something I need to read about? This isn’t even a real (love) relationship!” It was just unnecessary and poorly done in my opinion.

However, all the characters were exquisite. They had detailed personalities, depth, and were well developed, unlike their relationships.

The book was actually pretty diverse in many ways. I don’t want to give anything away so I’ll leave it at that. I thought it was really cool that it was such a diverse book without touting the fact. It felt natural and didn’t make a big deal out of the fact that there was diversity, it didn’t dwell on it or try to make any of it into a preach-y lesson. It was done very well.

The plot was pretty darn well done too, until we started to get towards the ending. Then it just all went downhill and straight into the land of overly predictable. That was when I started to get cranky, I tried to stay optimistic and tell myself that there could still be a big plot twist at the end that will turn this all around and stun me. Unfortunately it went exactly how I expected and exactly how it sounded like it was going to go.

The ending was as flat as flat can be and a major disappointment.

The whole concept of this book was absolutely amazing. It was incredibly unique and I haven’t read anything like it. It was a whole new approach to the art of war that made SO MUCH SENSE. Not that I condone taking hostages, but the whole premise of the book was so well rooted in history and logic that I could totally imagine it happening someday in real life or at least some parts.

The world building was fairly good. There weren’t long huge info dumps all in one dialog. The way the information was incorporated worked quite well. It did have a big section of setup/background history before the book started, but it was actually really engaging and not at all boring and hard to follow, so I didn’t mind.

The book was surprisingly humorous for being such a intense story with all the tension and talk of life or death and war or peace. It wasn’t like it was funny all the time, if it had been that would have been distasteful, rather there were just little comedic notes thrown in periodically to shake things up.

Last words: Despite me utter disappointment in the ending and the vexing love triangle, I found this book to be absolutely enthralling. Like no other and beautifully diverse, The Scorpion Rules takes on major life topics with an unheard of ease and poise. Intense yet tastefully humorous, this book is a thought provoking and beautifully diverse tale.

Unfortunately the two major problems I had were, well major, so much so that I was forced to lower my rating to 4 out of 5 stars.

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Goodreads and Liberty Bay Books.

Gif. Consensus: 

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