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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-04-14 22:46
Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder (2016 Review)
Storm Glass - Maria V. Snyder

Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Four years attending the Magician's Keep, and Opal believes she's nothing but a disaster and a disappointment. Instead of being able to learn and practice new powers like other students, her one and only ability is placing a thread of magic within the glass figures she creates, which can then be used as a means for cross-country communication. Definitely not combat related, thus she is shocked to learn the Master Magicians have an assignment for her.

(WARNING: This reviews contains MAJOR spoilers.)

I quickly fell in love with the world of the much conflicted Ixia and Sitia all the way back in Poison Study. Not only was the book a perfect reminder of why I love immersing myself in works of fiction, but it created pleasant excitement for the future instalments penned by Snyder. It was then unfortunate that the following segments of the series only declined, leaving me disappointed and pessimistic. What my gripe essentially stemmed from was the character development of Yelena, and how she evolved drastically into a famous, almighty Soulfinder than could accomplish everything and anything. But whilst Yelena's magic varied to the extreme, Opal's was very limited... At first. It offered zero offensive and defensive capabilities, but it was extremely useful and beneficial to the Sitian council and magicians as a whole. This, after the sheer extent of Yelena's power growth, was refreshing and I welcomed the unique simplicity. Imagine my irritation that as the book progressed, new magical discoveries were made, each more powerful than the last. It's an easy assumption to make that history will repeat itself.

Opal suffered through quite a lot in her ventures, and made more one than one mistake along the way. Her insecurities could've been endearing, but I felt they became a little too much when she continuously refused to accept praise or compliments of any kind. She also displayed a hunger for power, which in itself was slightly off-putting, though to be fair, if I were considered a "one-trick wonder", I'd probably feel sour about it as well. Despite these faults, which definitely threatened her likeability, I thought she was an average protagonist with the potential for improvement. Perhaps if she was given room to breathe and grow into her own person, and not overshadowed by Yelena, which of whom played a part in this book and was mentioned regularly.

Of course the love triangle ticked me off, as they usually do. I just don't understand how they can appeal to anyone. It seemed, at least to me, that Opal settled with Ulrick because Kade didn't reciprocate her interest - it's ALWAYS selfish, in one way or another. It doesn't matter which one I favoured (Kade though), it just becomes unbelievably tedious.

However in regards to the other characters, I believed there to be a satisfactory variety. I actually became a little fond of Leif, whereupon I initially hated his immaturity. Zitora I liked, Pazia was a tad annoying, as was Ulrick. Kade was a delight, and I immediately wished him the love interest. The plot itself was eventful, yet at times confusing as it veered off into different directions. I don't think it needed to be as complicated; sometimes a straightforward story does the job just as well. I very much liked the in-depth look at the Stormdancers in particular, and I would've loved if they were focused on a little longer. Hopefully they make appearances in the next two books of the Glass trilogy.

Speaking of glass, I enjoyed the detailed scenes of craftsmanship found throughout the pages. I never thought I'd find an interest in such a thing, but the writing was very well done and inspired me to perform some additional research. I do appreciate when an author can ignite enthusiasm on a certain subject otherwise ignored.

In conclusion: Looking forward to delving into more Chronicles of Ixia, but let's hope they rise to the standard of the very first. It just strikes me as the protagonists get overly powerful, which takes all the fun out of them struggling for their survival.

Notable Scene:

The roar of the wind and sea ceased the moment the monster wave engulfed me. For one heartbeat, my world filled with gurgling sounds and foamy green light. Then the force of the crashing water slammed me into an unyielding object. The sea grabbed my limp body and tossed it about. Confusion dulled the pain until my forehead smacked into a jagged rock.

© Red Lace 2016

Wordpress ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

Source: redlace.reviews/2018/04/14/storm-glass-by-maria-v-snyder-2016-review
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review 2018-04-14 15:01
Rough Riders Vol 2: Riders on the Storm Review
Rough Riders Vol 2: Riders on the Storm - Patrick Olliffe,Adam Glass

Source: Netgalley

 

Even though there had been several books between me experiencing Rough Riders Vol 1 and Vol 2, I found myself quickly remembering how much I liked some of the characters, and laughing at the dialogue. And, of course, anticipating a certain one's return - which I was given rather swiftly. However, unfortunately, I feel like this one had a serious case of try-too-hard-itis going on. While I loved a lot of the action and the witty repartee between Annie and the rest of the Rough Riders was awesome, the repeated twists and turns of the plot had me sighing.

My main problem with Rough Riders, Vol 2: Riders on the Storm were the parallels to America today. I read to escape, so finding myself plunging into a version of our current situation had me wrinkling my nose. And from a certain word to the characters that were obvious stand-ins for some of our politicians in office today, it was impossible to not see the similarities. However, the dialogue between the Rough Riders about democracy, anarchy, and frustration with the system was very plainly put and easy to relate to. And the end of this issue, well, let's just say it was believable as well. So while I didn't like that aspect of things, I still appreciated how the writer laid things out.  I do want to comment on a lot more than I currently am, simply because I lack the skill to get my point across.

The other thing is that while I can suspend quite a lot of belief in logic and abilities in search of a good story, Rough Riders Vol 2: Riders on the Storm, just had a few too many cases where I felt like it was pushing the envelope of realism a bit too far. There was a scene in particular involving one of the characters and four horses that had me rolling my eyes.

My favorite line comes from Roosevelt in the first issue (#8) of Riders on the Storm. It's just an awesome insult.

"For a civil war veteran, I found age and fear had given him the spine of a chocolate eclair."


As for the individual issues themselves, while I liked the The Big Burn (#8), Maiden of the Mist (#12) was the stand-out winner for me. Mostly because I love Annie, in case I haven't mentioned that three times already. Strange Days (#13) was my least favorite of the bunch. Given the way Strange Days ended things, I can't say that I would be interested in picking up any more volumes from the Rough Riders' series. 

Overall, just can't recommend this volume, sorry. It had it's high points, but not enough to make it worth spending money on.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher for review consideration
 

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text 2018-04-03 21:27
Interview with Benita J. Prins!
Sea of Crystal, Sea of Glass - Benita J. Prins

 

I am happy to post this interview with author Benita J. Prins, fellow lover of all things Tolkien and a great writer in her own right too! I read her fantasy, Sea of Crystal, Sea of Glass recently and recommend it to all. Read my review here. I look forward to reading her other, Starscape, and also any other books she will write!

 

Describe your guiding values in four words.

Faith, truth, goodness, and beauty.

 

What are your main themes or concerns?

One of the most prominent themes that I try to portray in my writing is sacrifice – sacrifice for the greater good of mankind. The characters in my books always have to make the choice to give up something dear to them. Another aspect that always makes it in is the presence of a higher power. Although each of my fantasy worlds has a different way of functioning, God is always there controlling it all.

 

Where do you get your ideas?

I get ideas from other stories, my own fractious imagination, and day-to-day incidents (real life is so extremely interesting). Often I’ll be reading a book or watching a movie, especially fantasy, and some aspect of the story will take root in my mind. I’ll start wondering about various other ways the author could’ve developed it rather than the one he chose, and eventually I end up with a completely new idea. Sometimes entire books spring from that process.

 

Who or what are your biggest inspirations in writing?

My greatest inspiration is the Catholic Faith. That sounds trite, but the Faith is so deep that you can dig forever and never find the bottom. Just reading the Catechism brings up so many questions that I can explore beneath the surface of a story! In the end, each of my stories finds its root in the story of salvation. I think it was C.S. Lewis or someone similar who said that, ultimately, that story is the only story that really exists. Every other story is merely an extension of it.

 

What are you reading now?

Mainly required reading – college is insane. When I can find spare time, I’ve been picking my way through some P.G. Wodehouse novels that I finally was able to get my hands on. (Project Gutenberg is a blessing.) Wodehouse was a twentieth-century English humour novelist; his books are hilarious, largely because of his mastery of the English language. If you’ve never heard of him, you may be familiar with the Jeeves and Wooster TV show from the 1990’s, with Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. If you’ve never even heard of that, I would likely to heartily recommend you search out some books by Wodehouse. The Jeeves stories are arguably his best.

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text 2018-04-03 17:15
BLOG TOUR, EXCERPT & #GIVEAWAY - Entombed in Glass (Unfortunate Soul Chronicles #2) by Stacey Rourke
Entombed in Glass (Unfortunate Soul Chronicles, #2) - Stacey Rourke

Mirror, mirror on the wall.
What’s behind that fated call?
He’s the seer of present, future, and past,
Yet remains a nameless face entombed in glass.


Raised as a servant in the underwater kingdom of Atlantica, Alastor worked his way up to a regal member of the Royal Guard. Only as a decorated soldier did he stand a chance of winning the hand of the woman he’s loved since childhood … Poseidon’s only daughter, Princess Vanessa. But, when the war against humans rages, dark magics are evoked to give the mermen a fighting chance. Temporarily granted legs, they charge from the sea into a doomed battle.

Doing the bidding of his masters as a trusted pawn,
The claims of his loyalty couldn’t be more wrong.


Waking on land, with bodies all around, Alastor’s lone goal becomes returning to the ocean and the only life he’s ever known. A plan that is quickly diverted when Hades, Lord of the Underworld, appears with a twisted agenda all his own. Cast to a land far from the lapping comforts of home, Alastor’s sole companion is a troubled misfit named Sterling that soon comes to depend on him. Trained to be a hero, how far is Alastor willing to go to return to the woman he loves? And can he live with the sacrifices he’s forced to make?

Each day he schemes to break free from their thrall,
and honor a self-made vow … to kill them all.

 

@rourkewrites, @Mommy_Amers, @XpressoTours, #Fantasy, #Young_Adult, 4 out of 5 (very good)

Source: archaeolibrarianologist.blogspot.de/2018/04/blog-tour-excerpt-giveaway-entombed-in.html
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