Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich

Before the birth of time, a monk uncovers the Devil’s Tongue and dares to speak it. The repercussions will be felt for generations…

Sixteen-year-old photography enthusiast Zoey has been fascinated by the haunted, burnt-out ruins of Medwyn Mill House for as long as she can remember–so she and her best friend, Poulton, run away from home to explore them. But are they really alone in the house? And who will know if something goes wrong?

In 1851, seventeen-year-old Roan arrives at the Mill House as a ward–one of three, all with something to hide from their new guardian. When Roan learns that she is connected to an ancient secret, she must escape the house before she is trapped forever.

1583. Hermione, a new young bride, accompanies her husband to the wilds of North Wales where he plans to build the largest water mill and mansion in the area. But rumors of unholy rituals lead to a tragic occurrence and she will need all her strength to defeat it.

Three women, centuries apart, drawn together by one Unholy Pact. A pact made by a man who, more than a thousand years later, may still be watching…(taken from Amazon)

In the interest of full disclosure, I will say: I did not finish this book. However, since I made it over two hundred pages in before calling it, I’ve decided that I’m an expert on the subject of this book. Okay, maybe not, but I’m still about to spew my opinion. You have been warned.

This book reminded me of a less mature version of Penny Dreadful (basically, the author adios-ed the nudity) smashed together with The Blair Witch Project. It did not work for me at all.

First of all, the present day part of the story bored me. I couldn’t find it in me to care one iota about Zoey, or her friend. The whole video diary thing is been there, done that. I’m assuming that if I finished the book, there would be some reveal about who she is and how she’s involved in the hauntings (I’m assuming she’s related to Roan, one of the main characters from the 1851 storyline), but…so what?

The 1851 storyline, involving Roan, was so choppy that there were several occasions where I was convinced I’d skipped pages, only to find out that I hadn’t. There was one part where Roan told a character she needed to speak to him as all the other characters left the room, only for that talk to not happen until much later.

The switches between the different timelines were done in a way that felt very odd to me. Chapters didn’t seem to end naturally, as much as just stop almost mid-thought. Don’t get me wrong, the premise was interesting. I just didn’t enjoy the execution at all.

After I decided that there was no reason for me to continue reading a book that is most definitely not for me, I read the author bio in the back. It turns out that she’s the author of another book that I did read all the way through, and didn’t care for. So, I guess it’s just a matter of her writing style not working for me. And that’s okay. But, seeing as all the reviews I’ve read of this book are raves, I thought I’d post my flip-side thoughts, just to see if anyone else had the same experience.

Have you read this book? Did you think it lived up to the hype?

Image result for teeth in the mist

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

There’s a murderer on the loose–but that doesn’t stop the girls of St. Etheldreda’s from attempting to hide the death of their headmistress in this rollicking farce. 

The students of St. Etheldreda’s School for Girls face a bothersome dilemma. Their irascible headmistress, Mrs. Plackett, and her surly brother, Mr. Godding, have been most inconveniently poisoned at Sunday dinner. Now the school will almost certainly be closed and the girls sent home–unless these seven very proper young ladies can hide the murders and convince their neighbors that nothing is wrong. (taken from Amazon)

                  This book is scandalously fun! The girls at St. Etheldreda’s School for Girls find themselves hiding a murder in an attempt to prevent themselves from being sent back to their respective homes. The girls have become incredibly close, and don’t want to be separated.

What makes this book such a blast to read are the clever, and ridiculously funny, characters. There’s “Dull” Martha, called that because she’s a bit of a spaz; “Pocked” Louise, the “scientist” of the group; “Dear” Roberta, so called because she’s such a sweetheart; “Disgraceful” Mary Jane, who has a penchant for flirting; “Stout” Alice, loyal friend; “Dour” Elinor, who was a little like Wednesday Addams dialed down; and “Smooth” Kitty, the leader of their little collective. While that’s a huge group of important characters to remember, their individuality made it easy to keep track of who was who.

Dour Elinor was my favorite character. Her doom and gloom attitude, not to mention her love of gothic literature, made her so much fun to read! I also enjoyed Stout Alice, although I felt bad for the situations she got pushed into. They were hilarious situations, though.

The way things quickly snowball, and the ridiculous events that kept escalating were incredibly entertaining. This book is a fast-moving romp, one that’s perfect for middle-grade readers, or for anyone who wants a giggle.

Bloody Rose (The Band book 2) by Nicholas Eames

Image result for bloody rose nicholas eames

A band of fabled mercenaries tour a wild fantasy landscape, battling monsters in arenas in front of thousands of adoring fans. But, a secret and dangerous gig ushers them to the frozen north, and the band is never one to waste a shot at glory.
 

Live fast, die young.

Tam Hashford is tired of working at her local pub, slinging drinks for world-famous mercenaries and listening to the bards sing of adventure and glory in the world beyond her sleepy hometown.

When the biggest mercenary band of all, led by the infamous Bloody Rose, rolls into town, Tam jumps at the chance to sign on as their bard. It’s adventure she wants – and adventure she gets as the crew embark on a quest that will end in one of two ways: glory or death. (taken from Amazon)

This adrenaline-filled, heart pounding fantasy is a more than worthy successor to Kings of the Wyld, book one of The Band series. It’s an incredibly layered and touching book that just happens to also be full of battles and tough-as-nails warriors.

The first book follows a group of retired mercenaries called Saga as they take one last mission. Bloody Rose is told from the point of view of Tam, a barmaid-turned-bard, who joins Fable, a mercenary band led by “Bloody” Rose, the daughter of the frontman from Saga. Bloody Rose obviously has daddy issues and is desperate to surpass his reputation. Just how does she plan on doing that? Oh, only be killing the Dragoneater, a vicious, undefeated monster. The last band that attempted to take it on lasted only 17 seconds. Sounds easy, right?

What causes this fantasy to shine is the amazing cast of characters that Nicholas Eames has created. My favorite is either Roderick, the band’s booker, who is hilarious while also being useful in his own right; Brune, a shaman who shape-changes into a bear…when it works. Or maybe it’s Cura; a summoner whose tattoos come to life and kick butt. I found her story arc incredibly touching. I related a little bit, obviously not to the tattoos that can kill, but to the reason she gets them.

This book takes a bit longer to get to the main event than Kings of the Wyld, in my opinion, but it makes perfect sense and it showed more of the incredible world that Eames has created. I love how summoners work in this series, and the shamans were flat-out cool.

Look for old characters from the first book, although they don’t steal the thunder from the amazing new group. I’m not going to say who shows up, but expect some fantastic scenes.

If you like fantasy at all, read Kings of the Wyld and Bloody Rose. If you don’t like fantasy but love a well-written book, read Kings of the Wyld and Bloody Rose. They’ll win you over to the fantasy genre.

The Phantom Forest by Liz Kerin – ARC Review

Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub

Image result for the phantom forest liz kerinEvery tree in the sacred Forest of Laida houses a soul. Though each of those souls will return to the mortal world for many future lives, not all of them deserve to. 

Seycia’s father told her this story as a child―a story of the most holy place in the Underworld, The Forest of Laida, where all souls go to rest before embarking on a new life. But Seycia’s father is dead now, and his killer has put a target on her back. 

After being chosen for her village’s human sacrifice ritual, Seycia is transported to the Underworld and must join forces with Haben, the demon to whom she was sacrificed. Together, they journey to the forest in the Underworld where all souls grow, in a quest to destroy the tree of the man who killed her. (taken from Amazon)

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book, in…

View original post 247 more words

Genesis: Vision of the New World (Terra Nova Book 2) by D. Ellis Overttun

A light streaking across the predawn sky, an explosion and an impending menace from above, seemingly unrelated events but connected to space time distortions predicted by an obscure scientific paper over 250 years ago. That same paper has predicted an end to the universe.

Has the unthinkable become a reality?

The ruling class Celesti see the danger as real and imminent since planet Arkos could become compromised in as little as 1,000 years. To them, that is one lifetime. That same timeframe is ten lifetimes to the servile class Gendu. To them, the threat does not even exist.

There are those within the Celesti who see the Gendu as a more immediate threat. Their solution is to genetically engineer a more pliant servant class and leave Arkos for an unknown planet. Is that even possible?

But will it even matter? The leaders of the Celesti, the Transcended, know a terrible secret: The Celesti are dying.

Against this backdrop of extinction lies the politics of power. A new leader has just assumed her role as the head of the Gendu Houses. However, she is an outsider. Will she be accepted or will she be cast out as an interloper?

Also, the leader of the most powerful religious organization on the planet is missing and presumed dead. It is the opportunity of a lifetime for anyone bold enough to seize the moment. Who will fill this void? Someone with a hunger for influence and privilege? Or someone with a calling for higher purpose?

Finally, there is a prophecy from the “Codices of Taru” which foretells of a time of darkness when the “head will be cleaved from the body” that will announce the coming of the “Deceiver”. Ancient superstition or a vision of the future? (taken from Amazon)

Thank you to the author for providing me with this book, in exchange for my honest opinion. This book is available now.

This book, while still a “thinking book” (don’t read this while you’re surrounded by yelling kids; it will make zero sense), moves more quickly than the first in the series. It’s incredibly smart and complex.

I liked the way the story expands, now that the plot has been established. It continues to expand on the themes of politics, and relationships. I was particularly fascinated by the relationships between the different classes.

I’m trying very hard not to give anything away. Suffice it to say, this is a series worth reading. It will challenge, as well as entertain you. I recommend this series to fans of sci-fi, as well as people who like books that make them think.

Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott- Blog Tour

 

The town of Rotherweird stands alone – there are no guidebooks, despite the fascinating and diverse architectural styles cramming the narrow streets, the avant garde science and offbeat customs. Cast adrift from the rest of England by Elizabeth I, Rotherweird’s independence is subject to one disturbing condition: nobody, but nobody, studies the town or its history.

For beneath the enchanting surface lurks a secret so dark that it must never be rediscovered, still less reused.

But secrets have a way of leaking out.

Two inquisitive outsiders have arrived: Jonah Oblong, to teach modern history at Rotherweird School (nothing local and nothing before 1800), and the sinister billionaire Sir Veronal Slickstone, who has somehow got permission to renovate the town’s long-derelict Manor House.

Slickstone and Oblong, though driven by conflicting motives, both strive to connect past and present, until they and their allies are drawn into a race against time – and each other. The consequences will be lethal and apocalyptic. (taken from Amazon)

Thank you to Jo Fletcher Books for providing me with a copy of this book, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Rotherweird is a book unlike any other I’ve read. It’s ambitious, vast in its scope, and often left me both puzzled and intrigued. The writing in this book is confident and self-assured. Even when I wasn’t sure exactly where the book was going, it was quite obvious that the author knew precisely what he was doing.

I think both my favorite and least favorite parts of the book are the same thing: the characters. They were wonderfully quirky, from their odd mannerisms to their even odder names. But, there were many that seemed superfluous. I’m a huge fan of large casts of characters, however too many can be a bit confusing at times.

I loved the mix between the historical aspect and the fantastical. It was a wonderful juxtaposition, and it brought out the creative aspects in both. The feel of the book was sometimes reminiscent of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

This book almost shouldn’t have worked, but it did. I’m planning to continue the series. I’m curious and intrigued.

The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine- ARC Review

Image result for the grammarians

The Grammarians are Laurel and Daphne Wolfe, identical, inseparable redheaded twins who share an obsession with words. They speak a secret “twin” tongue of their own as toddlers; as adults making their way in 1980s Manhattan, their verbal infatuation continues, but this love, which has always bound them together, begins instead to push them apart. Daphne, copy editor and grammar columnist, devotes herself to preserving the dignity and elegance of Standard English. Laurel, who gives up teaching kindergarten to write poetry, is drawn, instead, to the polymorphous, chameleon nature of the written and spoken word. Their fraying twinship finally shreds completely when the sisters go to war, absurdly but passionately, over custody of their most prized family heirloom: Merriam Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition. (taken from Amazon)

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book, in exchange for my honest opinion. This will be available on September third.

Isn’t it funny how words can both simplify and add complexity, often simultaneously? This book was one of those rare stories where little happens, but in such an all-encompassing way that when you read the final sentence, you feel like you’ve experienced something profound.

Laurel and Daphne are identical twins. They’ve always been close, and they both share an unapologetic love for words. As they grow, this love stretches in different directions, causing first tension, then a full-blown rift.

I have a thing for books about books or language, so this one immediately interested me. I ended up really enjoying it. The way it was written was both clever and charming, but it never moved fully over into the fluff category. Daphne and Laurel were well-balanced and believable characters. Sometimes one or both of them would annoy me, but in an endearing way, if that makes sense.

The cast of characters in this book is on the small side, which only serves to bring out the impeccable quality of the writing. This is my first book by Cathleen Schine, and I can immediately see why she’s such a popular author. This was a smile in book form. I definitely recommend it.

Pricked by Scott Mooney- ARC Review

Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub

Briar Pryce has the power to change the emotions of others by handing them a rose. It is a talent that has done surprisingly little for her, besides landing her a dead-end enchantment delivery job and killing any chance she had with her childhood-crush-turned-roommate. Worst of all, her ability might be responsible for getting her best friend transformed into a cat via a cursed muffin basket. Needless to say, Briar is nowhere near happily-ever-after. But that’s just life as a twenty-something in the Poisoned Apple, New York City’s lost borough of fairy-tale wonder and rent-controlled magic.

When Briar reluctantly agrees to help find a princess’s kidnapped boyfriend in exchange for reversing the curse on her friend, she gets the heroic quest she never really wanted. Unfortunately, the life of a noble heroine is not all it’s cracked up­­ to be – the hours blow, and Briar suspect that the Royal…

View original post 528 more words

Classically Cool- Let’s Talk Classics!

I think classics tend to get a bum rap. Possibly because of the way they’re taught in schools (being told to examine the minutiae of any book is enough to kill enthusiasm, in my opinion); possibly because some people just resent being told what to read by a teacher. Either way, I disliked most classics when I read them for school. Reading them on my own, however- that’s a different story.

I’m going to bore you by telling you about some of my favorites. You’ll notice that I don’t have any books involving brooding or swooning. I’m also sorry to report that, after reading it three times, I still don’t like Dracula. So, which classics stand out to me? Well, here goes:

The Three Musketeers and Twenty Years After by Alexander Dumas. Well, buckle my swash! I’m pretty sure everyone knows at least the general gist of The Three Musketeers, but I think the flat-out fun of this book is often left out when people talk about it. Also, Twenty Years After needs to be more widely read. It follows the characters from The Three Musketeers, and what happens- you guessed it- twenty years after the events in that book. It’s got a few sad moments for me, but in a good way.

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy. I have no idea why this book isn’t more widely known. It feels very much like an early version of Batman (minus the wonderful toys), with the hero passing himself off as a useless fop in order to help those in anonymity. It’s a blast to read! Plus, saying you’re reading a book written by a Baroness is just awesome.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I love this book! It’s so nuanced, with a delightfully creepy feel to it. It’s incredibly well-written and surprisingly short. It’s easily read in a day, which is a good thing, because it’s hard to put down.

Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney. If you’ve read much of my blog, you’re probably aware that I love all things fantastical. This carries over to classics. I love this epic poem so, so much! If you read this and enjoy it, I suggest watching The 13th Warrior, which is a movie adaptation of Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton, a book that is partially based on Beowulf.

Alice in Wonderland, and Alice, Through The Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll. Okay, I might be stretching by putting this in the “classics” category. I’ve seen it discounted as a classic, but others say firmly that it is. I’m in the latter group. The delightful nonsense in this book is anything but nonsense. I’m not going to go into the whole “this means ___” of the book because that’s for the reader to decide on their own. I just find it absolutely fantastic.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. First of all, Frankenstein isn’t the monster! Except that he is. You can tell that pseudo-joke at parties and your friends will probably roll their eyes, just like I’m sure you did just now. This book is a little bit heartbreaking, but so well-written.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I think this is another one of those books that some people argue isn’t a classic. Regardless on where you stand on this very important issue (ha!), these mysteries are bloody brilliant. I’ve reread them more times than I can count.

So, what about you? What classics have you found to be classically cool? Which ones do you hate? Let’s talk!

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

Image result for kings of the wyld

Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best, the most feared and renowned crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld. 

Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk, or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay’s door with a plea for help–the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for. (taken from Amazon)

Filled with blood, guts, and a surprising amount of heart, this is everything a fantasy book should be. I loved this epic adventure: even more so, because the characters were long past their glory days. I guess you’re never too old to be a hero.

Having settled down with his family, Clay has no intention of getting sucked back into the life of a warrior. But when his best friend asks for help rescuing his daughter from the midst of a besieged city, Clay rushes back into the fray. Before attempting to brave an entire army in an ill-advised rescue attempt, Clay “Slowhand” and his friend Gabe, have to gather their old band back together, which proves to be more a journey than you’d think.

The writing in this book is fantastic! The battle scenes, while many, never became “same ‘ol, same ‘ol”. I was surprised by how different each fight scene was from the others. I know that sounds like a weird thing to write about, but as a reader of fantasy, I’ve often found myself getting bored by the similarity between different fight scenes in a book.

If the battles were interesting, that’s nothing compared to the characters. I loved every single one of them. My favorite is a toss-up between Clay and Ancandius Moog, the band’s wizard. Moog was so kind-hearted! He was also a bit of a hit-or-miss wizard: sometimes he was incredibly useful…other times, not so much. Part of his background was tragic and sad, which only led to stronger character development.

Clay was wonderful in every aspect. It’s rare that I like a main character as much as I liked Clay. Because they’re often tasked with moving the story along, I tend to find them annoying (I’m looking at you, Harry Potter). But Clay was a loyal friend,  and someone who did what was right even when it wasn’t easy. I loved his wry sense of humor, his realistic viewpoints, and his tenacity. I also loved his giant shield.

I guess it’s pretty obvious at this point that there isn’t a single thing that I didn’t love about Kings of the Wyld. Every fantasy reader needs to pick this book up.

Have you read this book? What did you think?