Time-travel books are by far my favorite type of book. Even more than fae books.
I freeze and gape in horror at what I just typed. “Le gasp! How dare I?”
Oh, I dare.
Before No Good Deed by Kara Connolly appeared on the “new books” shelf in the library, I’d exhausted the Young Adult department’s time-travel selection. Basically, I saw it, snatched it up, and almost forgot to check it out before I staggered out of the library, already nose-deep in it.
Ellie Hudson is on the road to a gold medal for the U. S. Olympic archery team, but, when she makes a wrong turn in the caverns under Nottingham Castle, she ends up in medieval England. Ellie doesn’t care how she got to the Middle Ages, she just wants to get home. But, as she spends time in the past, she sees that people are suffering and she has the skills to make it better.
Filled with humorous outlaws, dashing knights, and cunning royals, Kara Connolly delivers a fantastic romp. Well-paced and fairly historically accurate (for a time-travel and a spin on Robin Hood), I read it in one sitting. Heck, I cried when it ended.
No Good Deed hit the bull’s eye, so I award it five out of five gold stars.
Ever since I convinced my mom to read the River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren back in 2012 and we some of the other’s favorite books, we trust each other. When it comes to books, if my mom tells me to read a book or thinks that I’ll like it, I’ll give it a shot. So when she told me about a book about seemingly perfect families and zombies, I thought this would be a creepy fun read. Amy Lukavic’s The Ravenous was certainly creepy.
Form the outside, the Cane family looks like they’re the perfect military family. Behind closed doors their father is neglectful, their mother struggles with depression and addiction, and the sisters barely stand each other. When the youngest sister, Rose, dies in a tragic accident, the sisters are devastated, and when she’s brought back to life, they couldn’t be more relieved. But after their mother deserts them and they discover that Rose must eat human flesh to survive, the sisters find out how far they’ll go to keep their fractured family together.
It takes a lot for a book to truly frighten me, and this book did, pulling out my fear of cannibals out of the shadows. While the concept of the living dead surviving on human flesh is very “zombie,” the way Amy Lukavics delivers it is very “cannibal.” Suffice to say, I slept with a light on for the next several nights. (Thanks, Mom.)
With the fear of being devoured in my sleep keeping me on the edge of my seat (and bed and, well, everything), I bestow upon The Ravenous five out of five stars. I’m looking forward to reading The Women in the Walls and Daughters Unto Devils and getting thoroughly terrified.
The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken has one of those covers that makes me want to gobble it up. The dark grays and blues and that eerie candle in the background grabbed my attention. I felt like curling up on the floor next to my dog with a fuzzy blanket and a mug of tea and reading this. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, that’s exactly what I did early last December.
In a wealthy family with a rich history and exceptional people, Prosper Redding is comparatively unexceptional… until he discovers a demon his many-times-great grandfather summoned living inside him. The demon, Alastor, gave the Redding family fortune in exchange for eternal servitude. When the Reddings betrayed him, Alastor had one purpose: to destroy them. With the help of his uncle and cousin, Nell, Prosper can see a chance of him having an afterlife without eternal servitude. But there’s a lot going on that Alastor hasn’t told Prosper, and the fox-demon is growing stronger with each night.
With a strong message of keeping promises, this quirky tale of betrayal and family asks an important question. Can you ever right a wrong and truly escape your history? For Prosper’s sake, I certainly hope so, but only time (and the next book) will tell.
I rate this four out of five stars.
Facebook, as it would turn out, has other uses than obsessing over peoples’ timelines. The illustrator of Margaret Rogerson’s An Enchantment of Ravens, Charlie Bowater, creates fan art for the Throne of Glass series. I’ve seen dozens of her works and I get quite excited when I see a new project of hers. When I saw this book pop up in a Throne of Glass group, I figured that I just had to check it out. And check it out I did.
Artist Isobel creates breathtaking portraits for the fair folk. These immortals cannot do anything creative without crumbling to dust. So naturally, they crave human Craft terribly, and will trade enchantments for said Craft. Isobel is over the moon when the autumn prince, Rook, is her patron. But she paints mortal sorrow in his eyes, and this weakness could cost him his throne and both of their lives.
Bursting with lyrical prose and journeying across lush faery settings, Isobel and Rook grow close, even while they’re attacked at all sides. Honestly, this wasn’t my favorite fae book but it certainly wasn’t the worst I’ve read. The romance was a bit too quick for my taste but that could be just me. I’m usually more of a fan of romantic relationships that form over the course of a series, not within the first one hundred or so pages.
Other than Rook and Isobel’s slightly forced connection, it was a wonderful light read. I rate it four out of five stars.
Midnight tales and dangerous magic.
The very minute I saw the cover and read the inside flap, I knew it was love. I’ve been wanting to read a Leigh Bardugo book. heck, I’ve owned Shadow and Bone for years but I have yet to break the binding. Figuring that this would be a good way to get a feel of Bardugo’s writing style, I dove straight in.
Drawing heavily form mythology and folklore and fairy tales, Bardugo’s seven short stories are nothing if not gripping. Whether the characters were tromping through thorny woods, dealing with witches, or singing deep under the sea, I felt as if I was right beside them. Each story had a lesson woven into the fiber of each paragraph and it wasn’t preachy. It was prickly and honest, and I hungered for more when each story drew to a close.
I was truly blown away. The Language of Thorns anthology deserves more than five measly stars, but that will have to suffice, because Goodreads doesn’t let me rate higher than that.
Following my discovery of Young Adult novels back in 2010, I spent the next couple of years reading and rereading Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series and whatever Holly Black and Rachel Caine book I could get my hands on. I recall having just finished a book about a fae disguised as a human when the spine of Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood whispered to me. Despite not being remotely about fae or vampires, I let the creepy and blood-dripping girl on the cover lure me in. A four year dalliance had begun!
After his father’s gruesome murder a decade earlier, Cas Lowood has taken up his father’s job: killing the dead. Armed with his father’s mysterious athame, Cas travels around the country with his kitchen’witch mother and spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore and destroy the murderous dead, all the while keeping pesky things like the future and friends at an arm’s length. Catching wind of a ghost, Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects to track it down, hunt, and kill it. So the usual. What he discovers, however, is a girl buried in curses and rage. She’s a ghost he’s never faced before.Wrapped in a blood-soaked dress that she wore on the day of her murder in 1958, Anna has killed everyone who has had the misfortune to step into her crumbling Victorian house.
Yet she spares Cas’s life.
Unfortunately, my sanity while waiting to read the second book wasn’t. Nevertheless, Anna Dressed in Blood and it’s sequel, Girl of Nightmares, was packed to the brim with sarcasm, wit, and epic ghost versus human battles. From the violent beginning to the heart-wrenching end my heart was in my throat. And the chills… I’m still looking over my shoulder whenever I feel something running down my spine.
I rate the Anna duology a four out of five stars.
After spending nearly two weeks
avoiding getting my heart burnt by yet another literary love dawdling, I got my act together and finished Kiersten White’s And I Darken. It wasn’t until I was four chapters into it’s sequel, Now I Rise, that I realized that it would be a good time to write a review. Because nothing says fun like gathering your thoughts and emotions in order to write a non-spoiler-y review of four hundred eighty-four pages that just about murdered you.
Abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada and her brother Radu are pawns in a vicious game of politics and life. Lada has always known that being ruthless is the key to survival while Radu longs for a place to feel safe. Fighting to stay alive, Lada bides her time, plotting vengeance for the day she will return to her homeland, Wallachia, and claim her birthright. Enter Mehmed: the defiant, lonely, and future sultan looking for a friend. As the three of them grow closer and the years tick by, a dangerous and toxic triangle forms between them, straining under the pressures of war, politics, and deceit.
From the nerve-wracking build up to the constant worry that one of them was going to die, And I Darken reminded me of Game of Thrones, only with teens. I cried and shrieked so many times watching the trio develop into the unique and driven bad asses they are, and I’m holding my breath with anticipation whilst devouring the sequel.
I’ve finished Now I Darken. Whoa. I’m still in shock.
I rate both books five out of five bleeding stars.