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review 2017-10-17 22:35
Trial by Fire - Josephine Angelini

I first reviewed this book a year or so ago, and dismissed it as a badly-written load of shit with unlikeable characters and a generic plot. Now, here I am, re-reading it properly all the way to the end – and you know what? It’s not that bad. I might just be saying that because I just suffered through something much worse, but it was alright.

 

I’m a sucker for fantasy settings. I enjoyed the world-building in this book, the way magic worked, the conflict between magic and science, the concept of witches and crucibles, and I thought that the author did a good job of setting everything up.

 

 

Here, magic is used more for giving power to others, although it can also be used to control them. No one goes around throwing fireballs or anything. It’s very different from what I usually read in fantasy, and that was quite interesting to me.

 

Our main protagonist could be written a lot better, though.

 

Lily Proctor is a teenage girl with more allergies than hairs on her head. Everything sets her off, and I mean everything. Perfume, alcohol, cleaning fluid, the air, the temperature, the atmosphere…it’s ridiculous. Her doctors can’t do much for her and she spends a lot of time being very ill. I don’t know why she still goes to school. It seems like she’s either feverish, vomiting, going into a spasmodic fit, or just being dead on her feet.

 

I guess it makes you feel sorry for her, or at least it would if she didn’t spend the first few chapters being so unbelievably stupid so as to force herself to go to a highschool party, despite her many allergies to everything that moves, just because she thinks this boy is into her.

 

If you can get past that, then you’ll be rewarded by seeing that Lily is warped into another parallel world, where all of her allergies amazingly vanish!

 

 

Yes, that’s right. We switch from a modern day setting to some kind of magic-fantasy hybrid (yet they do still have electricity, somehow). In this new world, Lily’s alternate self, “Lillian”, is a powerful tyrannical witch who hangs people for practicing scientist and rules the land with an iron fist.

 

They both exist in the same world, by the way. Lily and Lillian. It gets a bit confusing, but apparently Lillian was the one who pulled Lily into her world, and tries to…uh…actually, I’m not quite sure.

 

You see, the next chain of events results in Lily joining all the rebels that are against Lillian (Outlanders, as they’re called) and gradually training her own powers…except that Lillian wants this to happen, and I’m still not exactly sure why because this is the first of the trilogy and I’m still a little confused myself.

 

Anyway. Ready for more confusion? Okay, apparently the people of this world all have a “willstone” with which they use magic. A witch can “claim” a person’s willstone, allowing herself to give power and energy to the person, but also having complete control over them should she wish to take over.

 

 

I know, it just gets really hard to understand here, because then you have people who serve as a witch’s mechanics and serve their every need…and somehow Lily ends up with three of them. Three guys. She ends up claiming them all.

 

Actually, she ends up claiming a lot of people by the end and giving all of them power, because there might be a great big fight or rebellion involved. Also, there’s a bunch of monsters called Woven that are the result of experimentation and try to kill people. I couldn’t begin to explain all this shit, or we’d be here all day.

 

Let’s look at the main characters.

 

 

Aside from Lily, you also have the three guys that end up being her mechanics: Tristan, Rowan and Caleb. Oh, sure, they’re all hot young men not much older than she is. I’m sure this won’t lead to anything.

 

Rowan is our main love interest. He used to be Lillian’s mechanic, and feels betrayed that she turned evil years ago. As a result, he distrusts Lily a lot at the beginning and is very mean to her. Lily (not Lillian) claims him, early on in the book, and they start drawing close and sharing memories and shit.

 

 

You know, I’m not feeling the romance here and I don’t really like him. Rowan’s a total control freak because he knows everything about Lillian’s body (being her mechanic), and also Lily. Even though she hasn’t met him before.

 

 

This guy’s a jerk and although he apologises to Lily for treating her badly, he’s still very controlling. He improves a little as time goes on, but he’s still a jerk. This is our main love interest, ladies and gentlemen, and he sucks.

 

Let’s move onto Tristan. Tristan is the alternate version of the Tristan from Lily’s old world – who, in her world, was a bit of a womanizer at their school and almost had a thing with her. But only in her world. I swear it’s not as confusing as it sounds.

 

 

She only shows a bit of attraction to him, however, so I guess that’s a failed love triangle right there because he only shows up sometimes. It’s a shame, because I kinda liked him. Even though he goes around sleeping with everyone and cheats on girls. I don’t know HOW, but he seems much more agreeable than Rowan. Fucking hell, man.

 

Caleb is the other guy with them. He has a gay lover who is tragically killed during the book, and is so tormented about it that he asks Lily to claim him and fill the gap in his heart.

 

Seriously what the fuck.

 

This is the first of many flaws in this book. We barely get to know Caleb’s gay lover at all, and within a few pages they’re dead? I think his boyfriend gets a BIT of dialogue, and we know their name, but that’s about it…

 

Also, doesn’t this seem a bit weird? He loses his boyfriend and asks Lily to claim instead? Imagine if he was dating a girl instead, and she died, and he immediately goes to Lily. It sounds so superficial. If you don’t know how to handle gay characters, don’t put them in at all!

 

As for Lily, I didn’t even like her that much. Actually, she’s easily one of the worst characters. She has all these “NO NUKES” T-shirts, talks about how she is hardcore vegan, and has a “SAVE THE WALES” shirt. (No, not whales. Wales. I assume that’s a typo.) She just sounded like a bit of a loony to me, being judgemental and constantly lording it over everyone else. I’m just glad she didn’t go on about it for very long.

 

I sure hope she isn’t a self-insert author designed to shove her opinionated views down our throats. Writers, take note – NEVER do that with a main character. It will make your audience hate you. Lily is the only character who acts like this. I don’t know why we’re supposed to root for her.

 

The plot and action of the book, overall, isn’t bad. We’ve got some decent character development…but mainly just for Lily and Rowan. Or just Rowan. Nothing for Tristan, and forget about anything for Caleb. “My boyfriend died” is about as much development as he gets.

 

And then there’s a questionable scene where Lily does this really weird ritual with Rowan and Tristan. She takes off all her clothes, at their request – ALL of them – and they paint runes on her.

 

The fuck, man. I couldn’t believe I read that. She seems alright with it, too, and teases them later about how they’ve both seen her naked. In fact, she even kisses Rowan whilst he’s busy painting her boobs.

 

Shortly after this, they all go to this bar where loads of girls are fawning over Rowan and kissing him and feeling him up (possibly to extract energy from his body, but really it does NOT look like that) whilst Lily watches. Many of them are dressed in skimpy clothing.

 

Did the author forget that the protagonist is a 17-year old girl? Did she just get horny whilst writing this bit? The fuck? How on earth was this allowed into the damn book?

 

Thankfully, that part doesn’t go on too long and we soon return to the plot and our generic villains, and oh boy they are very generic. One of them tortures Lily in non-physical ways later on, and the other one does all these evil scheming…which goes nowhere. I was so disappointed in their lack of activity, really. But I guess Lillian is the real villain here.

 

So, yeah. I liked the book, but the nude stuff felt so out of place, especially in a YA book. The world-building was great. The writing was average at best, especially during the first few chapters where Lily forces herself to go to a highschool party despite her many, many allergies. She’s not the best protagonist ever and she’s mind-numbingly stupid at times, but I guess she’s got Special Chosen Heroine plastered all over her forehead.

 

This is a trilogy, by the way, and just as well because we end on a cliffhanger. Do I care what happens next? Uh, yeah, I guess. Am I going to read the next book? I guess I might as well, so maybe this book succeeded in some way.

 

 

A lot of it is mindless drivel with characters I don’t like, but some of it has some nicely-done scenes with nice action scenes, so it did keep me reading. However, there are just so many flaws and weird things going on that I can’t rate it very highly. Or recommend it, in fact.

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review 2017-10-13 13:00
Book Tour Review that I am Involved with. Really awesome!!!!!
A Memory of Fire (SoulNecklace Stories Book 3) - R.L. Stedman

A Memory of Fire
R.L. Stedman
(SoulNecklace Stories #3)
Publication date: October 1st 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

About my wrist is a tattoo of roses, strung like beads on a bracelet of thorns. I have a past, if only I could remember — but I cannot remember.

Held captive in a strange city, Dana dreams of fire and flight. There is something she must find, but she does not know what it is, or why it is important. If only her dreams would let her rest.

Half a world away, Will studies a new, exciting discipline. But while N’tombe the enchantress is impressed by his newfound skills, inside he feels only desperation. A terrible moment is approaching; soon, Dana must face her final ordeal. Is his new power enough to save her? And is he prepared for what might happen next?

In this thrilling conclusion to the award-winning SoulNecklace Stories, Will and Dana must make a heart-breaking choice. A choice that may change their world forever.

My Review

Just have to say one of my favorite book from the different book tours that I take part in.

Favorite part of the book of course if you read my other two reviews from this series, you would already know, is the character of Will. In this book, which I am sad is the last one, Will really grew a lot from a young man in the first book were he lost so much, to becoming the man that he was meant to be. 

Dana grows a lot as well in this final book in this fantastic series. She had to get herself out of a lot of serious problems on her own.

I really loved the book but there were things that really confused me but I can't really say what because then it would become spoil city. I will say it was at the end of the book.

Something that might turn some people off and  this will be a little bit  of a spoiler is that Will and Dana, in each book are separated for parts of the book. This didn't bother me because this needed to happen for each of these two characters can grow, and do what needed to be done to win against their enemies. 

I am so super happy that I was chosen to be involved with this  book tour, I really loved this series, and I will definitely have to visit this story another time, so I can visit with Will once again. 

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks

 

Author Bio:

Award-winning author Rachel Stedman lives in Dunedin, New Zealand with her husband and two children. Her first novel, A Necklace of Souls, won Best First Novel at the New Zealand Post Book Awards 2014. In 2012 Rachel was the winner of the Tessa Duder Award and was shortlisted for the Tom Fitzgibbon Award. If she’s not got her nose in a book, she’s on instagram or twitter (@rlstedman) or at her local library. Her website is www.RLStedman.com.

Want a FREE collection of fairytales? Then copy and paste this link into your browser: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/k9dl7iv39v

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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review 2017-10-05 02:56
The Fire By Night
The Fire by Night - Teresa Messineo

Jo McMahon and Kay Elliott are friends and nurses in New York City.  When the call goes out for nurses to serve in the war, Jo and Kay enthusiastically sign up. Jo and Kay are sent to opposite fronts.  Kay begins her service basking on the beaches of Hawaii only to have the reality of war come crashing down on her quickly. Captured by the Japanese and transferred to an internment camp in Malinta, Kit has only begun to scratch the surface of the horrors of War.  Jo eventually ends up in France, her field hospital is set up to transfer, but the Doctor keeps her back with six patients who don't fit on the transport van. However, the transport van never comes back for them.  Eventually running out of supplies and hope, Jo does her best to keep her soldiers alive until help arrives.  Both women try to think of happier times in their friendship to keep themselves going. 


Powerful, captivating, raw and real, I could not tear my eyes away from Jo and Kit's stories.  I of course knew that women did much more in the War than they were ever given credit for, but Jo and Kit's stories are just two small examples of how much the heroic nurses accomplished.  I was astounded by Jo's courage, strength and skill in keeping her six soldiers alive while danger loomed constantly around her as well as Kit's will to survive the dark, festering internment camp where people were constantly dying of starvation.  The alternating story lines between Jo and Kit kept me rapidly turning pages to see where their stories would lead.  I enjoyed that Kit and Jo were very much their own person and chose different paths.  Their experiences also showed the real effects of war.  I was constantly amazed by how much I didn't know about women's roles during World War II, especially the nurses who were captured in the Japanese internment camp and how they were forbidden to talk about their experience.  Deemed the 'Angels of Bataan' these are the women who should be our heroes.  As Kit says "if the world of men ever tears itself apart again, it will take an army of nurses to put it back together."  Written with passion and rich historical detail, this is a story I will never forget. 

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

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review 2017-10-05 00:41
Working Fire: A Novel - Emily Bleeker

Wow did this book have a jaw dropping ending! It came out of nowhere! I had my doubts but they were nothing like what really happened in this book.

I'm not going to be able to tell you a lot of specifics without including a spoiler. So I am just going to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ellie and Amelia are two very likable characters and are sisters. Ellie has been away at college but comes back home to their small town when her father has a stroke. Now Ellie, having given up med school, is a paramedic. She couldn't pass the strenuous tests to be a fireman which include carrying a body, but she would have made a good one. Besides that, she helps take care of her father along with her sister, Amelia.

Amelia is married with two children to an ex-firefighter that now owns his own roofing company. The company is ran out of their house. Amelia is also a concert cellist, doing the odd wedding here and there. There's not a real symphony in their small town, so she takes smaller gigs when she can get them. She also helps out with her husband's company and, of course, runs the household.

The author did a great job with the characters and with the introduction of them and their lives. However, when the plot twists to that final turn, it was a crazy, out of left field turn. Jaw dropping.

A great read that I thoroughly enjoyed!

Thanks to Lake Union Publishing and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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