Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Review: Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Title: Tess of the Road
Author: Rachel Hartman
Series: Standalone
Genre: Fantasy/Dragons/YA
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 27th, 2018
Edition: Kindle Edition, 544 pages
Source: NetGalley
Purchase/Pre-Order: Amazon US | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | iBooks | BAM

     In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can't make a scene at your sister's wedding and break a relative's nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.
     Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it's a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl--a subspecies of dragon--who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she's tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.

So, I really wanted to love this book, but it was just alright. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I had read the Seraphina series that this is kind of a sequel/standalone spin-off of. But since I haven't read that duology, I just felt a little disconnected to the world, and this book seems to rely on the reader having already read the series. (Say that 10 times fast). Also, I'm not the biggest fan of "girl dresses like a boy" trope, but in this case, it worked and made sense.

That being said, I just didn't really feel like the MC was very likable anyway. She was dealt a shitty hand, that's for sure, but she didn't seem to try very hard to not make any more bad decisions. She didn't really try to use common sense. I guess it didn't help that her mother was very unforgiving and shamed Tess every chance she got for the mistake she made. 

The pacing of this book also didn't work for me. Things moved too slow, and by the time things started to pick up, I no longer cared about the journey ahead. I suppose it would help if I had any sympathy for Tess, but I didn't. She was just really unlikable and uninteresting as a character. I will commend the author for giving our MC the past she did, especially for YA, but Tess continues to make bad decisions. She lets her family make her feel shame when the blame for what happened doesn't fall solely on her. I also felt that Tess's twin, 

There are some little nuances and worldbuilding that I feel like I missed because I'm not familiar with the Seraphina books. And honestly, that is a kind of a massive flaw in this book in my opinion. This book should be able to stand on its own without readers needing to read a different book that has a completely different MC. 

I didn't much care for how the back and forth went with the storytelling, revealing what happened in her past and jumping forward. It was a little clunky at times and didn't really bring me to care anymore about the character. 

All in all, this book was just boring when it had potential to be better than it was. Maybe I did miss some worldbuilding in Seraphina that could have helped me get into this world more, but at this point, I am very uninterested in reading those books. 

Book Tour: Ice Kingdom by Tiana Warner Blitz

Ice Kingdom
Tiana Warner
(Mermaids of Eriana Kwai, #3)
Publication date: December 11th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
The final adventure in the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy …
Meela and Lysi have unleashed Sisiutl, legendary two-headed serpent of the Pacific Northwest. It was supposed to be an ally that would help them win the war. Instead, it has fallen under the control of King Adaro, ruler of the Pacific Ocean. If Meela and Lysi can’t stop him, Adaro will use the deadly serpent to rid the oceans of mankind.
With the American military using catastrophic weapons of their own to retaliate, Meela and Lysi must make peace between humans and merpeople before one race destroys the other. The journey will risk their lives and put their relationship to the test—but the vengeance that has been consuming Meela’s thoughts, day and night, might prove even more dangerous.
**Read the first book in the trilogy for FREE: download at InstaFreebie until Dec 25th!**
Somewhere on the Pacific Ocean
The young man aimed his crossbow at the water, ready to fire a bolt of solid iron at the first glimpse of flesh beneath the surface.
“Sir,” he said, “shouldn’t we have seen one by now?”
The captain turned his back to the salty wind, jaw tight. “They know we’re here.”
“So what are they doing?”
He followed the captain’s gaze. Blackness merged with the empty grey horizon in every direction. A long silence passed, filled only by gentle swells lapping against the ship.
The captain drew his own crossbow.
“Forming a plan.”
All twenty men aboard the ship readied their weapons, reacting in a chain until the last man at the stern took steady aim at the waves.
“Make ready your iron, men,” shouted the captain. “We have ripples approaching off the port side.”
A handful of places in the water puckered, as if something lingered just below the surface. The sea was too black to tell.
Then it happened. Fifty, maybe sixty sea demons burst from the water and slammed against the ship. The men wasted no time. They reacted with trained speed and agility as the demons thrust stones and jagged shells into the wood, both to break holes in the ship and to scale the sides. The men picked them off with bolts of iron and watched them fall one by one back into the sea.
But they were outnumbered. Soon the demons were upon the ship, pulling themselves across the deck with bony arms.
The young man had already shot a dozen and the water reddened with each passing second.
Slow scraping sounds threatened him from behind. He whirled around, crossbow ready. Burning eyes met his, and sharp teeth, bared to rip into his flesh. He gripped the trigger, felt the bow tighten—
And the demon was gone. The young man stared into the wide gaze of a girl his own age. With a startled cry, he jerked his aim so the bolt barely missed her.
She held a black shell in her hand, sharp at the edges and ready to use as a club. But she didn’t raise it. She just looked at him.
He lowered his crossbow.
Her blonde hair fell heavily over her shoulders, dripping beads of water down her naked chest and stomach, pooling where her torso joined her tail.
He blinked, but made no other motion—where her torso joined her tail. Scales faded into flesh like some sort of beautiful, green and tan sunset.
She pulled herself closer.
“Stay back,” said the young man, unsure what prompted him to hesitate.
He looked into her eyes—emeralds surrounded by pearl white—where moments ago they had burned red. Her sharp teeth had retracted behind rosy lips. The seaweed-coloured flesh of her upper body was now olive and raised with goose bumps from the icy wind.
“Hanu aii,” she whispered. Do not fear. She spoke his language.
He loosened his grip on the crossbow, studying her. She lifted a frail arm and pushed the hair from her eyes, then motioned him forwards.
His pulse quickened as he stared at the beautiful girl.
“Hanu aii,” she said again, her voice resonating sweetly, as if she sang without singing.
Suddenly, he was kneeling in front of her, level with her luminous eyes. The sounds around him faded but for the soft purr in the base of her throat.
She reached up and held an icy hand to his cheek, not for a moment breaking eye contact. The hand slid behind his head and pulled his face towards hers, slowly but firmly. He inhaled her sweet breath.
He flinched. He turned to see the captain racing towards them, aiming his crossbow at the maiden.
The young man grasped the scene around him. The ship was empty. A few stray weapons and barrels bobbed serenely in the water. Blood soaked the deck in places, and even the main mast had a splatter across the bottom.
The captain fired wide. Before he could reload and aim again, the sea demon put a hand on the young man’s chin and pulled his gaze back to hers.
Her eyes blazed red. Her skin rippled into the rotten colour of seaweed. Her ears grew pointed and long like sprouting coral. She opened her mouth to reveal a row of deadly teeth.
The young man screamed.
The demon pulled him against her with more strength than three men combined, and they dove headfirst off the side of the ship.
They disappeared into the blood-red water.

Author Bio:
Tiana Warner is the best selling author of the Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy. Her books have been acclaimed by Writer’s Digest, Foreword Reviews, and the Dante Rossetti Awards. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of British Columbia. Tiana enjoys riding her horse, Bailey, and is an active supporter of animal welfare.


Monday, December 11, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
To take part, just pick your top ten, and add the link here.

I haven't read that many books this year, it's been mildly stressful. We moved early in the year, and there were a few things that caused a small amount of stress. But because I over think and analyze everything, it was more stressful than it needed to be. With the year not being over yet, there might be a couple of books I read between now and the end of the year that I like more than the ones I have already read. Well, these are my favorites this year as of now. 
The list is in the order that I read them, book cover link to Review.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday 50/50: Newest/Oldest Book You Own

50/50 Friday is a new weekly link-up hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reader and Laura @ Blue Eye Books.  Every week they have a new topic featuring two sides of the same coin - you share a book that suits each category and link up on the hosts' blogs.

No Friday 56 this week. I'm still reading the same books, and I want to wait to share the books I haven't started yet for when I actually start reading them.

I've had this book since I believe 8th grade.

I got these books all at the same time.
A post shared by Marie Dougan (@mariedougan) on

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Bookish Settings I'd Love to Visit

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
To take part, just pick your top ten, and add the link here.

The problem here is, most of my favorite bookish settings and the worlds they are set in, I would die almost instantly if I were to go there. The list is in no particular order.

Hobbiton, Middle Earth - I really want to live in Hobbiton. I'd settle for a vacation home there.

Hogsmeade Harry Potter books - This seems like a safe bet, it's the only all-wizard village mentioned in the series, I think. 

Oz,  L. Frank Baum World of Oz - Now I haven't read the book since probably 4th grade, and I don't remember if I ever finished it. BUT! I would still like to visit.

Fantasia, Neverending Story - As long as that terrifying wolf G'Mork is nowhere to be found, I want to visit Fantasia and hang out with Falcor. 

Earth Nation, Avatar Last Airbender comics -  Maybe this is cheating, but I don't care. Comics count as books, fight me. I want to see a Rabaroo up close.
Fairfold, Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black  - A small town that exists next to a forest of Fae. Although it could be dangerous because Fae like to mess with people.

Narnia - Because it's Narnia. And there are so many places the movies didn't get to explore that the books did. I want to see all of Narnia.

Eretz, Daughter of Smoke and Bone - I really need to re-read this series. But from what I remember the world there sounds amazing and I want to see it.

London Institue, Shadowhunter books - I don't recall if it was mentioned in any other series other than Infernal Devices, but I'd still like to go there. Just to see the Library at the very least.

Ravka, Grisha series - Another world that just sounds beautiful and amazing. Although this is one world that I have the highest chance of dying if I were to go there.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Music Monday: Postmodern Jukebox

Happy Monday everyone and welcome to Music Monday! This weekly meme was created by Lauren @Always Me. Let's share some songs we've been enjoying lately! If you would like to play and I really hope you do, please see the rules and link up