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review 2019-01-19 04:05
The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch #2) by Rin Chupeco - audiobook
The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch) - Rin Chupeco

I’m finding it really hard to write this review, because although I really enjoyed The Heart Forger, I can’t tell you specifically why.

 

I liked that there was heaps of action on the present tense this time around, as opposed to just dropping titbits about the past tense story to keep our interest.

 

I liked that the gang, expanding wonderfully to now include LGBTI rep and a former nemesis turned snarky ally, travelled to other kingdoms so we could see more of the world.

 

I really liked the romance. I thought it was a lovely slow burn and the tension was nicely written. I really liked how Tea had such an intense crush in the first book and ended up falling in love with someone else, because it’s such a representation of what naturally happens, not only when you are a teenager but all through life as well. None of this ‘the first person I am ever attracted to/have feelings for is my forever soulmate.’ I think it helped that we saw who her love interest was in the present, and so I was eagerly listening for any hint of their developing romance in the past. It was cute, but also meaningful, because Tea and her love interest have a whole lot of respect and admiration for each other.

 

As for the plot, I did enjoy it, but it wasn’t completely thrilling. I liked the antagonists and the twists, and the pacing was fine. I mean, if you asked me what it was about, I’d have to say something like, ‘the gang investigate why their friend has been attacked with a sleeping spell’ which doesn’t sound all that interesting, but for some reason I really did enjoy the book.

 

I know a large part of my enjoyment stems from the magnificent narration provided by Emily Woo Zeller. She’s just so immensely talented that I can’t even put into words how much I enjoy it. I could ask for – and probably receive – an ARC of the third book in this series, but honestly I just want her to read it to me. She gets at the heart of every emotion, and she has a different and distinct voice for every single character, including very impressive male voices. Her delivery gives you a sense of the characters even without the text necessarily providing that.

 

I’m pretty keen on Book 3 and I have been well and truly sucked into this world and Tea’s adventures.

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review 2019-01-08 12:21
The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden
The Winter of the Witch - Katherine Arden
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I absolutely loved this book! Ever since I finished The Girl in the Tower, I have been eager to read the next chapter in Vasya's story. I went into this book with incredibly high expectations and I have to say that this book was even better than I could have hoped for. There is just something magical about this trilogy. This was a book that I found almost impossible to set aside. I just had to know how things would work out for Vasya, her family, and all of Russia. I found that this story was really able to touch me emotionally and I had a fantastic time reading it.

The Winter of the Witch is the final book in the Winternight trilogy which really must be read in order. This book does pick up shortly after the events of the previous book by throwing the reader right back into the action. If I had to find one thing to criticize about this book, it would be that this book does not take the time to refresh the reader's memory of the events from the previous installments. Since it has been over a year since I read the previous book, it did take me a moment or two to really remember the details regarding what had been happening with Vasya. 

Vasya is a wonderful character and I have found it a joy to watch her develop and really find herself over the course of the trilogy. She seems to be ready to take on the world in this book. She is strong and has proven herself worthy of being a leader. She is also compassionate and mourns the ones she has lost and works to protect others often at her own risk. She does expect others with power to also do what needs to be done even if it comes with significant risk and does not hold back her opinion when she thinks that they are not doing enough. 

This book was exciting. I worried about the safety of Vasya and the other characters quite often since there are a lot of dangerous situations in the book. Vasya has really embraced her powers by the end of the book and I had a great time seeing everything she was capable of doing. I also loved all of the magical creatures that were a part of Vasya's world. The Winter King, the Bear, Midnight, and even a mushroom king all played important and sometimes surprising roles in this wonderful story. 

I thought that the writing was beautiful. I felt like I was carried away by the words as I read this book. There was a wonderful flow to the story and I think that the writing added to the overall beauty of the story. This story made me feel a lot of things. I was nervous and worried about the characters at times and smiled in joy when things worked out. I felt pain when things went horribly wrong and had tears of joy when things went oh so right. The story is dark and it is often violent but it was always beautiful.

I would highly recommend this trilogy to others. I was swept away by this dark fairytale of a story and loved every moment of it. I must say that this book brought everything to a fantastic conclusion and the ending was even better than I could have hoped. This is a trilogy that I plan to revisit many times in the future. I can't wait to see what Katherine Arden writes next!

I received a digital review copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine Del Ray via NetGalley.

Initial Thoughts
This was the kind of story that is easy to lose yourself in. It was a magical fairytale of a story but a rather dark fairytale. From the start, I was completely swept away by this story and the beautiful way that it was told. Vasya has grown into a powerful woman and does what is necessary to protect herself, those she loves, and Russia. The story was epic and the ending was beautiful. 

 

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review 2019-01-07 18:17
Review: Sea Witch
Sea Witch - Sarah Henning

This book was one of my most anticipated releases of last year. The Little Mermaid is one of my favourite fairy tales (and my favourite Disney movie). So a sea witch origin story? Hell yes! I pre ordered as well and was so excited when my review request was approved.

 

Only…I can’t say I was overtly impressed. It was almost 70% of the book before anything resembling The Little Mermaid cropped up into the story and the first half was slow and kind of boring.  The setting was beautiful – inspired by the original tale not the Disneyfied version, the Danish kingdom by the sea sounds absolutely beautiful.

 

The heroine, Evie, is interesting as she is not the most likeable of characters. She’s kind of blunt at times, an outcast. Her mother is out of the picture (can’t remember why) and her father is away a lot working on the fishing boats. Evie lives with the local witch, and is learning her magic. And sneaking glances at magic she’s not supposed to know.

 

Already looked down upon because of where she stays, she also feels the stigma of the death of her childhood best friend Anna. They were both playing in the sea, something happened, Evie survived, Anna did not.  Evie also has developed a close friendship with the Crown Prince and his handsome cousin, all are about the same age. Many of the nobles don’t like this, another reason Evie is frowned up on.

 

Yet despite this she keeps a strong outlook and doesn’t let people’s disdain of her stop her from being friends with the Prince and hanging out with him and his cousin whenever she can. She’s also not opposed to using magic she’s not supposed to.

 

The first half of the book focuses on how Evie deals with day to day life, her friendship with the two princes, the upcoming festival. The hints of her darker nature just showing through. It is beautifully written, but it is very very slow. And despite showing hints of a strong character, Evie spends a fair bit of time mooning over the Prince’s cousin who she may or may not have feelings for. The dude is a known player yet seems to give her special treatment more than any other girls he’s supposedly courted.

 

When a strange new girl arrives in town looking almost identical to Anna, Evie’s world is thrown. She’s convinced the girl IS Anna, but the girl is firm she is not. She and the girl develop a close friendship and Evie learns the girl’s secret – she is in fact, a mermaid and needs to find her true love in order to stay on land and keep her legs. This new girl also develops a close friendship with Evie’s prince and his cousin. The cousin is convinced there’s something not right about this girl.

 

The girl has some unusual magic of her own, Evie is determined to help the girl, she failed one friend she won’t fail another. But things start unravelling as the girl’s history and secrets are slowly revealed and truths are learned. Things take a drastic turn and change for Evie in ways she never imagined.

 

The latter half of the book was much more fast paced, but as I said earlier it’s almost 70% before the pace finally picks up and things start happening – fast. It almost seems rushed. The characters of Evie and the mysterious new girl were quite well fleshed out, but the two princes just felt like generic YA love interest characters. One nice and friendly with good honourable intentions, the other a charmer with a not so good reputation. It’s been done a hundred times.

 

There was enough of an interesting narrative to want to know what was going on – but it was still a little bit disappointing.

 

It appears there is a sequel, I can’t honestly say I am that interested in continuing this story, though I would definitely read something else written by this author.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK Children’s books for approving my request to view the title.

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text 2019-01-02 01:14
My January TBR (New Releases)
Flights of Fancy - Jen Turano
The Paragon Hotel - Lyndsay Faye
An Orchestra of Minorities - Chigozie John Obioma
The Only Woman in the Room - Marie Benedict
The Winter of the Witch - Katherine Arden
Queen Victoria: Daughter, Wife, Mother and Widow - Lucy Worsley
The last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who fled Mao's Revolution - Helen Zia
The Wartime Sisters - Lynda Cohen Loigman
We Cast a Shadow - Carlos Ruffin
House of Stone - Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

For the last year I've become very picky about what I choose to read. I believe I'm very sure about my likes and dislikes at this point. I'm a Literary Fiction and Historical Gal. I really want to read my own books, but have bitten off more than I can chew, in past years, in requests. 

 

Going forward, perusing book websites to acquire more books will be in my past. I want to concentrate on reading what I've already obtained. My concentration will be put on the social media sites that are more of my lane and those are Goodreads and Booklikes. I'm a recovering Instagram scroller and Youtube time waster. This year I will have more focus and drive for what inspires me and allows me to thrive.

 

 

January 1

 

Flights of Fancy by Jen Turano

 

January 8

 

The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye

 

An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozi Obioma

 

The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benendict

 

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

 

Queen Victoria: Daughter, Wife, Mother and Widow by Lucy Worsley

 

January 22

 

Last Boat Out of Shanghai by Helen Zia

 

The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman

 

The Orphan Sisters by Shirley Dickson

 

January 29

 

We Cast A Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin

 

House of Stone by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

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text 2018-12-25 22:33
24 Festive Tasks - Hogfather Book
The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner: Deluxe Hardback Collector's Edition - Terry Pratchett

Book:  Anything by Terry Pratchett.

 

 

I'd never actually read a book by Terry Pratchett, so I decided to finally change this. I started small by picking a collection of his short stories which were quite funny. I enjoyed  them. Eventually I'll know I need to get on his Discworld series. But for now, I've got this square down.

 

 

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