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Tag Archives: 4/5 stars

the reaverTitle: The Reaver
Author: Richard Lee Byers
Pages: 352 (Ebook)
Rating: 4/5

THE REAVER came out February 4th! I received an ebook copy from Netgalley for review.

In the 4th book of the multi-author Sundering series, Richard Lee Byers introduces Anton Marivaldi—a renowned reaver with an insatiable thirst for bounty and a moral compass that always leads him toward the evil he’s never tried.

Endless, pounding rain afflict the Sea of Fallen Stars and the coastal regions surrounding it. Harvests are failing, travel and trade are disrupted, and civilized forces are giving way to the deluges caused by the storms. In panic and despair, many have turned to the goddess Umberlee, Queen of the Deeps, offering her sacrifices with hope that they will be spared the inevitable reckoning of her perpetual tempest.

Evendur Highcastle, undead pirate captain, risen from the depths to assume the mantle of Umberlee’s Chosen, takes advantage of the people’s desperation to strike for both spiritual and temporal power in her name.

Vying with Highcastle for the hearts and minds of the people is Stedd Whitehorn, a little boy and the chosen of a god thought lost to time: Lathander, the Morninglord. In a time of such upheaval, Stedd’s message of renewal and hope runs in stark contrast to the savage ethos of Highcastle and his waveservants.

When Anton captures the boy in order to collect Highcastle’s considerable bounty, the reaver is quickly caught in the riptide caused by the sundering of worlds.

Start out with a fight scene. Check. Pirates and ships and magic and awesome powers. Check. Keep me interested. Yep, check. Wow, this book blew me away. I loved reading this! I had no trouble picking up where I left off whenever I had to put it down and I enjoyed Anton Marivaldi’s adventure with Stedd and Umara. I love reading from the bad guy’s perspective which made it even better when I got to read from Stedd’s point because it was so refreshingly different. Anton had me swaying between liking him and thinking some of his “kind” acts a bit out of character but I grew fond of him as the story progressed, especially as he teamed up with Umara.

One of my favorite parts were the lions and what happened after Stedd got to his destination. Won’t elaborate more than that. I loved the fight scenes too! Always a new factor to throw in and keep things interesting. Umara definitely brought things to a whole new level of interesting with her wizardry. The events of the Sundering are coming together spectacularly and I’m sure that any long time Forgotten Realms fan is going to enjoy this story as much as I did. Even new fans can pick these books up and dive in without a problem.

Byers brought an excellent tale to the table, one that made me forget about anything but the sea and the not so romantic antics of pirates and their battle for domain and power. There was almost nothing for me to pick at so I say, pick this up! The ending was perfect for Anton and Umara, two not so pure characters and I was really happy for Stedd. Not a heavy tale, it has my praise for being captivating and reaver worthy.

Happy Reading
~Tally


the godbornTitle: The Godborn
Author: Paul S. Kemp
Pages: 400 (Ebook)
Rating 4/5

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley.

In the 2nd book of the multi-author Sundering series launched by New York Times best-selling author R.A. Salvatore, the shadow legacy of Erevis Cale lives on even as his old foe Mephistopheles seeks to stamp it out at any cost. Cale’s son Vasen—unmoored in time by the god Mask—has thus far been shielded from the archdevil’s dark schemes, alone among the servants of the Lord of Light who have raised him since birth.

Living in a remote abbey nestled among the Thunder Peaks of Sembia, Vasen is haunted by dreams of his father, trapped in the frozen hell of Cania. He knows the day will come when he must assume his role in the divine drama unfolding across Faerûn. But Vasen knows not what that role should be . . . or whether he is ready to take it on. He only knows what his father tells him in dreams—that he must not fail.

Enter Drasek Riven, a former compatriot of Erevis Cale, now near divine and haunted by dreams of his own—he too knows the time to act is near. Shar, the great goddess of darkness, looks to cast her shadow on the world forever. Riven has glimpsed the cycle of night she hopes to complete, and he knows she must be stopped.

At the crossroads of divine intrigue and mortal destiny, unlikely heroes unite to thwart the powers of shadow and hell, and the sundering of worlds is set on its course.

 Kemp has found a new fan. One who was left speechless at his ruthlessness and leaving none untouched… Okay, a slight exaggeration but only slight. I’m still speechless at his storytelling power. I’ve spent the better part of a month sneaking in half-moments in which to read and each time I came back to the story it all came back with clarity whether it was just a day or a week since I’d last picked it up. Not all authors can do that. Ruthless, though, he was. From a to-be-mother, to a peddler, to a high priest, and a living dead man, none were spared. He made monsters of men and left me awed. Gore, death, and descriptions of monstrosities that’ll make you want to hide from the dark (aka not for the easily perturbed). Do the rest of the Forgotten Realms writers write like this? I think not, but I’m impatient for Book III of the Sundering series!

Drasek Riven. I read Godborn without ever having picked up any other of Kemp’s books so I didn’t know who Riven was but I was instantly attracted to this (literally) shadowy figure. Godling with some admirable fighting prowess? I’m hooked. Some of the best moments (some that had me teary-eyed) had him in it. (I may or may not have had a fangirl moment when older Cale named him an assassin in the later part of the book.) I need the other Cale books. Now.

The plot wasn’t anything special itself and the ending was predictable. But boy, even so, the ending was a full blown display of awesome. Well, for the most part. I did have a problem with Vasen’s “faith.” Perhaps it was merely that we get told that he chose Amaunator and we’re not shown it. Riven, once again stole the show though there were some moments with the not so good characters that broke me a little. One of my favorite endings in a long while, I look forward to reading more from Paul S. Kemp!

~Tally


The CompanionsTitle: The Companions
Author: R.A. Salvatore
Pages: 384 (Ebook)
Rating: 4.5/5

I recieved an ARC ebook copy from Netgalley, thank you!

The Companions is the first book, of a five-book series that unfolds the changes occurring across the Forgotten Realms and it revolves around the hero, dark elf Drizzt Do’Urden and his companions. It takes the reader back a few years from where The Last Threshold left off to recount the adventures of some long lost companions. All leading up to reuniting twenty-one years later if they can outlast their new enemies and trials to go to the aid of Drizzt. Old readers will be quick to guess who these companions are but new readers will be brought in with welcoming hands as new adventures unfold with promising new roads on every horizon.

This book tore me apart on so many levels. I was a sobbing mess at the beginning, a mess at the end, and just torn watching these characters. Its so hard to write a nonspoilerish review, especially about a series and characters that span over 25 years of works. If you’ve ever wanted to pick up R.A. Salvatore’s books, don’t do it with this one. Perhaps Salvatore means to bring in new fans but my advice, start at the beginning.

These characters, got a new chance to be reborn, to start a new life without forgetting their previous identities and for one dwarf in particular, it’s hard, too hard, to have to restart all the successes and be someone less than he was. The dwarf sums it up nicely, “beardless.” A certain halfling gets the chance to, this time around not just be a sidekick but make a difference. I absolutely loved him, though he reminded me very much of another of Salvatore’s character from another series. And then there’s her. Her. Come back as Ruqiah. If she was a bad-ass character before, then she’s just unbelievable now. I would like to see her back with her bow and arrows though^.^

The ending was perfect with a surprise thrown in for good measure and I get teary-eyed every time I reread it. My feelings are still conflicted over this book. I look back at the past books and the pain Drizzt went to and wonder if it was worth it. Granted he wouldn’t know the blessing that was being prepared for him but still. I have conflicts with reincarnation(the only reason why I don’t five star this book). It such a simple way to get characters back in the game but then again, I’m more than excited to see the Companions of the Hall gathered together. For one last major battle? What roads does Drizzt still have yet to walk?

Brilliant book, I rather felt like it was a bridge to greater things but I still had fun following the adventures and painful trials of these three companions of Drizzt Do’Urden. If you’re a high fantasy fan, you don’t want to miss this book. Or rather, I still suggest going back to the earlier books but that is of course, up to you.

Happy, Happy Reading!

~Tally


Abandon Elana Johnson Possession series third book Title: Abandon
Author: Elana Johnson
Pages: 446 (Hardcover)
Rating: 4/5 stars

The final installment in the Possession series, Abandon was a very emotionally taxing book. I was finishing the book in a semi-public place, and as surprise after surprise attacked my metaphorical heart I had only a few seconds to be embarrassed that I was crying and both of my arms had been thrown over my head. I’m not much of a book crier. I cried (okay had a mental breakdown) at John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. I cried at The Book Thief and Mockingjay when a certain sugar-cube wielding character from the 75th Hunger Games met his end. But it takes a lot to get me. I won’t be posting a spoiler review here, but I do have one, so look for that one way or another eventually (no promises).

I don’t want to do too much of a teaser/synopses/summary (whatever you call these things I put after the intro and before I squee) because I worry about ruining the ending for all my lovely readers, because I accidentally read the most offhand comment while looking at Abandon on Amazon and it screwed up the book for me a little. I will not tell you what that spoiler was, though, because then I would be doing the same thing to you and that would suck. Getting back to the point, here goes:

Vi, Jag, and Zenn have made it through some tough times. Some of those times have seen them more friendly with each other than others, though, and they have quite the history to deal with as they run the Revolution and also make out a lot. Who with, no one really knows. But everyone cares.

As the brotherly jealousy and romantic malice unfold, the Resistance is growing. But the Association is growing something else, and it began with a little someone named Cash in the Evolutionary Rise, if you know what I mean. Both of these things will be cause for much frustration and anguish to the twisted love triangle (or perhaps square ? . . . oh my). Which one will end it all? No one knows. No one wants to find out, either. Someone’s been leaking secrets. Everyone’s afraid of who it is. Could it be Vi, brainwashed and broken, heart torn in two? Or Zenn, tired of playing both sides but unsure which one he’s actually working for? Or Jagg, exhausted, broken, and choked with not only his love for Vi, but his rage at her love for another? Gunn doesn’t know. Thane doesn’t know. It’s a game of Clue that will decide which side wins, and which side dies.

I loved Possession. I loved Surrender. I loved Abandoned. As I professed, these books got better as they went along. This book was not haunted with the += situation, nor the yeahs. Some becauses sneaked their way in there, but they were not so noticeable as to ruin even 1% of the rest of the plot. And did I mention the plot? It was fantastic. I sat their huddled in a corner of my dark room (dark because I hadn’t been able to get up to turn on the lights since before they were necessary) and tore through the gripping tales that were so linked and interconnected I could never really figure out what was going on. But I liked it.

Remember the last review? Friday . . . Surrender . . . Me listing my hopes and dreams for the next book? It definitely was more than I’d hoped. Let’s review them now, and then I’ll add some extra points I didn’t anticipate.
It is narrated by at least one of the points in the love triangle from Possession (most hopefully Jag, but Vi was great in the first book and I wouldn’t mind reading from Zenn’s point of view).
Indeed, it was. Jag and Zenn grace the pages of the lustrous purple brick, trading off narrations like Gunn and Raine did in Abandon. Don’t be discouraged, my lovely love-triangle-side-pickers. It’s worth having to suffer through your not OTP’s events to get to the beauty that is the end of this book.
It is at least 600 pages long.
Alas, it is not. It’s also not 464 pages long like I’d earlier said, at least not in hardcover. It’s only 446 (actually maybe I’m just losing my mind. Probably the real reason). The 600 page goal was only wishful thinking, and I knew that from the moment I wrote it. I still wish it was 600 pages, but I feel fulfilled after reading the ones the lovely Elana Johnson instilled with her gorgeous and masterful prose.
There is no resurfacing of the yeah and because, even if Vi is narrating.
4/5 here. Hardly any yeahs, and only a few becauses that were very suitable to the plot and I wouldn’t have noticed had I not alerted my senses. And, since I know you’re still hoping, Vi’s narration graces exactly zero pages of Abandon. I know, so sad, but it’s alright.
There is ZERO ‘it was all a dream/all government orchestrated’ plot work.
HURRAH! Followthrough! And zero bad plot devices here. Thank you, esteemed Mrs. Johnson.
The ending is closed. No room for interpretation or continuation, everything’s been worked out.
Not spoilin’ here. I was okay with the ending, though I have to admit the pages were pretty blurry while I read the last chapters, so maybe I didn’t see everything correctly. I will edit if I have second thoughts, promise.

A few additions I feel the need to make now I’ve been shown the Elana Johnson light:
– Skillful dealing with the love triangle aspect of the plot.
– Not making the reader (me) long for the other three narrators.
– Not getting thrown at anything in my house or the surrounding areas. (Check. Also didn’t get punched (happened with the last two HP books when people died). I was too spellbound to move, let alone close the book for long enough to injure the beautiful purple cover (or, more likely, my hand on the sharp hardcover binding)).

I don’t know what I can say to convince you if you haven’t already picked up Possession, but really, do yourself a favor and at least give it a chance. The sample pages on Amazon will probably be enough to convince you of what I’ve failed to convey.

Also, did I mention there are two more tie-ins? One is available on Goodreads, the other one it might take me a few weeks to track down, so wait patiently for more Possession series enthusiasm hitting Bookmarks soon. I will post about something else between this and the other pieces to the lovely Possession series set, but probably not very many times.

Being in love with a series feels great,
Rosey


stormdancer Title: Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1)
Author: Jay Kristoff
Pages: 313 (Hardback)
Rating 4/5

When you sit down to read this book, I sincerely hope you have more time than me to just sit and read. For however long it takes you to get to the last page. I read this in large chunks, impatient to see how it would end. A beautiful read in many senses.

A DYING LAND
The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.

AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST
The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

A HIDDEN GIFT
Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

A thunder tiger sounds pretty awesome yes? Buruu fits awesome like a glove (granted it’d have to be a pretty big glove for him to fit in it…) I loved the interactions between him and Yukiko and their growing relationship throughout the whole story. They balanced each other out and more than once I found myself laughing at the pair. There are tender moments and moments that leave you wondering what righteousness and justice really are.

The beginning had me off balance for a chapter or so until my mind took grasp of all the names and meanings of Yukiko’s world. I also really didn’t come to care for any of the other characters except for Yukiko’s father Masuru and Akihito, her uncle. I’ll leave their fates up to you to discover but I will warn you that no one is too important to die. In fact, a whole bunch of characters die, some better than others. (and poor Buruu! but that’s a spoiler so you’ll have to read for yourself to learn more)

Kristoff created a world that was a delight to explore and I’m excited to see what Yukiko and Buruu will do next. There’s a lot of action(my favorite being the fight with the oni warlord) and hinting at danger from all directions to come in the next book. I feel like Stormdancer is just a warmup for the ride that the second book Kinslayer will be. Looking forward to it in September!

~Tally


the savage fortressTitle: The Savage Fortress
Author: Sarwat Chadda
Pages: 292
Rating: 4/5

I’ve decided to spend my summer reading as many middle grade books as I can, and boy, so far, I’m excited with all the talent and stories!

Varanasi: holy city of the Ganges.

In this land of ancient temples, incense and snake charmers…

Where the monsters and heroes of the past come to life…

One slightly geeky boy from our time…

IS GOING TO KICK SOME DEMON ASS.

Ash Mistry hates India. Which is a problem since his uncle has brought him and his annoying younger sister Lucky there to take up a dream job with the mysterious Lord Savage. But Ash immediately suspects something is very wrong with the eccentric millionaire. Soon, Ash finds himself in a desperate battle to stop Savage’s masterplan – the opening of the Iron Gates that have kept Ravana, the demon king, at bay for four millennia…

 I love going to other places in the world, especially when the author can make you almost taste the culture. I’ve always liked reading mythology and this book is full of good Hindu. I liked Ash and his sister Lucky right from the start. The book was packed with gut-wrenching moments and the best part, the villains were evil. You can totally fear and hate these guys without hesitation.

My favorite scene was at the beginning, when Ash first meets Parvati and Rishi without knowing how important they’re going to be. Not a spoiler I promise. Parvati is just epically cool, a bit distant but it’s part of her character and Chadda did a great job of showing her off in her best (or worst?). Lucky is a cute kid, the little sister, brave but still young. She has her moments that tear at you, and not in a an awww, cute kind of way. Ash, though he’s set up to look like he’s not much, grows in power (does he ever!) but I wasn’t sure he matured enough for my liking. There’s some moments when I wanted to yell at him for his immaturity at critical moments. Comic relief take a bit too far, perhaps.

The ending though! I loved it in all its scary implications! Next book please! You like superheroes with epic superpowers with all the responsibility and scary *spoiler* looking after you? This is your book. For the moment Ash and Lucky leave India but I’m sure problems are going to follow them, especially considering what Ash has become. *zips rambling mouth* Read this book. I really enjoyed it and I hope you will to!

~Tally


EnchantedTitle: Enchanted
Author: Alethea Kontis
R
ating: 4/5
Pages: 305 (Hardback)

This was definitely my favorite of the fairy tale retellings. The Frog Prince was there but other fairy tales’ elements crept in making it a fantastic read.

It isn’t easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past – and hers?

The beginning started off pretty light with me having no clue how it would play out. Alethea Kontis gave us the background to our heroine Sunday and her large family. Mini stories within the greater story that had me reading still. We meet the frog right off. I was a bit nervous because it was interesting. Not great yet. And then it turned dark. I’m not sure how Ms. Kontis pulled it off but I was finally, fully hooked.

Sunday didn’t put me completely under her charm but she was sweet and smart with quite some power under her belt. I really wish there would have been a bigger role for magic but as it was, it was perfect for the story. It’s fun to see how she learns (at first unwillingly) to control her new powers and the tales she weaves while doing so. The writing style was fluid and provided vivid imagery. Would you love to attend a ball full of elegance and pomp? This is your book.

As for our frog, no excuse me, our prince, Rumbold…  I found nothing to fault him with. Strong but not without weaknesses he provided a deeper depth to the book and was cloaked by the darkness that suddenly flooded the book. But the one who stole the show was the fae cousin. I am attracted  like a moth to the interesting ones, what can I say? (Interesting as in secretive and swoon-worthy… there, I said it.)

I loved this book so much. Dancing around Sunday and then to one of the sisters, the plot kept me guessing. Some might find the plot a bit loose and introduced late (is that possible?) but I didn’t mind. The ending wasn’t what I expected and felt a bit rushed but I still want to read the next book.

I would venture to say that all the Frog Prince elements were there, from the golden ball (in another form) to the modernly added kiss. Fae godmothers, immortal kings, and blessings or curses I can’t wait for Hero the next book in the Woodcutter Sisters series!

Thanks for joining me with Project: Fairy Tale!
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