Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Review: The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso

Title: The Tethered Mage
Author: Melissa Caruso
Series: Swords and Fire #1
Genre: Fantasy/Magic
Publisher: Orbit Books
Publication Date: October 24th, 2017
Edition: Kindle Edition, 480 pages
Source: NetGalley
Purchase/Pre-Order: Amazon US | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | iBooks | BAM

     In the Raverran Empire, magic is scarce and those born with power are strictly controlled -- taken as children and conscripted into the Falcon Army. Zaira has lived her life on the streets to avoid this fate, hiding her mage-mark and thieving to survive. But hers is a rare and dangerous magic, one that threatens the entire empire.
Lady Amalia Cornaro was never meant to be a Falconer. Heiress and scholar, she was born into a treacherous world of political machinations. 
But fate has bound the heir and the mage. And as war looms on the horizon, a single spark could turn their city into a pyre.


This book is so good. I feel that I should mention that this book, while fast-paced it's not what most would call "action-packed". Most of the book is a lot of political intrigue, and less battle/fighting. I find political intrigue very interesting and exciting but I am aware that there are people who don't. Which is fine, but if you are one of those people then this book might not be for you, but I do hope you still give it a chance.

Now the characters. Amalia is a really interesting character. She's pretty different from other characters from books I've read who are in a similar position as she is. For one, her parent is 110% invested in her life, verging on controlling, but since she's the heir her mother stands back enough to make sure her daughter can lead but is still in her life enough to make her make tough decisions. She's not a fighter, she's not very good at the deceptiveness that comes with her position. She's a scholar, she likes reading and studying magic she can't wield.

Zaira is really sassy. and very blunt. She never hides her opinion on anything. But considering the how she's had to survive, it's understandable why she is the way she is. Though there is a lot about her that is kind of a mystery in a way. Since the book is told from Amalia's POV, we don't ever get to see what's going on inside Zaira's mind, or how her thought process works. She's not educated, but she's also not dumb. 

There is a slight romance in this book, but it doesn't really take up any page time. It's mostly vague flirtation and attraction. But not really much beyond that. It stays very much in the background of the book. 

I am very much looking forward to the sequel.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I'm Thankful For

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 wish I remembered more of the books I've read in my life, I know I read a bunch of books as a kid that shaped who I am in a way, but I don't remember them. 

Harry Potter Series by JK Rowlng - I was didn't start reading these books until after the movies were already coming out, even though I was around 12, 13 when they were published. But they got be back into reading for fun a little more. They were some of the books that made reading for fun again feel possible. 

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls - This is one of the first books I remember reading. I was in I think 3rd grade. Very sad book, but I remember loving it.

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien - This was really the book that got me back into reading for fun. After being forced to read so many books that just did not interest me all through middle school and the first year of high school, I was kind of burnt out on reading. Until I picked up this book. I fell in love with the world Tolkien created. Unfortunately, I find his other books to be a bit too... wordy. But that's what happens when a historian and a linguist writes a book.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - One of the few books I had to read for school that I loved. It really makes you think about censorship, and what banning books, or anything offensive really means. Probably my favorite classic novel.

A Story of Now by Emily O’Beirne - Probably my favorite coming of age LGBT story I have read. There aren't many that focus on women coming to terms with their sexuality, and I honestly don't understand why.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor - The writing in this book/series is just so beautiful. I need to re-read it so I can post my review, I hadn't started blogging yet when I read this book. 

The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black by E.B. Hudspeth - This book just fuels my nerdy obsession with mythology and mytholigical creatures. I wish more of the book was the diagrams, but I love it regardless.

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice - This remains my favorite Vampire book. I saw the movie first, when I was around 8 and I didn't read the book until middle school. But the character Claudia remains one of the most complex and interesting characters I have ever read.

   OK, I can only think of 8... but with the entirety of Harry Potter on this list, technically it's more than 10. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Music Monday: Demi Lovoto

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

I've been listening to her new album, and I am really enjoying it.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Review: Shattered Stars by Theresa Kay

Title: Shattered Stars
Author: Theresa Kay
Series: Broken Skies #3
Genre: Sci-fi/Romance/YA
Publication Date: October 24th, 2017
Edition: Kindle Edition, 365 pages
Source: Received for review
Purchase/Pre-Order: Amazon US | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | iBooks | BAM

Unexpected allies. Unexpected betrayals. Unexpected abilities.
     The last thing Jax Mitchell ever wanted was to be a weapon. Her abilities are unpredictable at best, but with her twin lost, there’s no one else with enough power to take on Jastren and his mental manipulations. She doesn’t have to do it alone, though. Not only can she rely on the unwavering support of Lir, Rym, and her human friends, she also ends up with help from a surprising source. 
     Meanwhile, her twin brother Jace—his body controlled by Jastren, and the shattered pieces of his mind locked inside—has become a monster. The struggle to hold on to what’s left of his humanity has left him weak and more confused than ever before. Every thought, every impulse, and every memory has the potential to destroy him—and everyone else around him. 
     The futures of both the humans and the E’rikon are on the line, but as ulterior motives and political machinations are revealed, it becomes clear that the betrayals aren’t restricted to only one species. Can Jax and Lir get everyone to work together in time to prevent the two species from destroying each other? Can Jace find some measure of redemption for all he has done? And will Jax be able to harness her powers… without losing herself?

This series, for me, has gotten slightly less interesting as each book goes on. I start to care a little less about the characters and what they are going through. Which is kind of the opposite reaction you want when reading a book. 

I don't really remember if I ever cared for Jax as a character, and I'm not sure I really cared about any of the other characters either. None of the characters in this book are particularly likable. And jumping between Jax and her twin brother Jace, just didn't do it for me. It has also been a couple of years since I read the last book, and I didn't retain any connection to the characters or the story that I might have had from when I read it.

Everybody in this book is pretty selfish in their own right. Yes, Jastren is a terrible person who has murdered innocent people, and brainwashed his grandson. But all the other collective groups are only looking after themselves. But since Jax and Lir are kind of ostracised from both the human and the E’rikon, they appear to be looking after the equal safety of each group. But I never really got the impression that either really cared about the other. There were attempts at humor through the book, but most just fell really flat for me.

I just felt a huge disconnection from the characters. I think if I had read these books one right after the other, no year/2-year gap, I would have kept the connection I had with the characters.  2 years is a long time to wait for a sequel.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Want My Child to Read

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.

Since I have a child, who loves being read to, this list might be pretty easy. Though I will never disparage any book he wants to read. Even if it's books I didn't enjoy. I also feel like there is more variety of kids books these days than there was for me growing up. But that might also have to do with going to a small school that didn't have that great of a collection. I also don't remember all the books I read as a kid, grade school was a long time ago. 

1. Harry Potter - This one is a given. He's not quite old enough for me to read it to him, as there aren't any pictures and it might not hold his attention. But I really want him to read the books. 

2. Percy Jackson -  Now, I personally didn't like these books. I also read them as a 26-year-old, I was obsessed with Greek mythology as a kid and books like this didn't exist so I read many of the actual myths instead. But, I think these are a good introduction to Greek mythology. As the actual myths are a little dark, and many are bizarre.

3. Animorphs - I read a few of these books as a kid. Not many and they were always checked out in my school's library. But the ones I did read, I really enjoyed.

4. R.L Stine -  Any of his books really. I mostly read the Feat Street series, because as a 9-10 year old I thought the Goosebumps books weren't scary enough. 

5. Shel Silverstein - He has some great children's poetry. And while I have lost my enjoyment of poetry, thankyou sophomore English class, I loved his poetry books as a child.

6. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory -  I remember reading this as a kid and liking it. My class also did a play of this, I was one of the Grandmothers.

7. The Chronicles of Narnia - These are classics, so it's a given that I would want him to read this series. 

8. Charlotte's Web -  Another classic that I think every kid should read. 

9. The Hobbit -  Maybe a little advanced for him to read as a kid, but when he's old enough, whatever age that may be, I would love him to read this book. This is the book that got me back into reading for fun. I kind of stopped reading for fun around middle school, and I read this book in high school and refound my love for reading.

10. Oz Series -  Most only know about The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but there is a whole series of books, 14 books. I don't expect him to read all of these books, but I would love for him to read some, at least the first book in the series.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Music Monday: Evanescence

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

They have been a favorite band of mine since the early 2000's with their first album. Amy Lee has a beautiful voice. Anyway, they have a new album that I have been listening to all weekend.