The Hunger Games #1 Review

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

I read the Hunger Games Trilogy once many years ago, but I don’t really remember any of it. In fact, I don’t remember what happened in Mockingjay at all, just bits and pieces of what I read online, even though I know for a fact that I finished the novel. So, I decided to start from the beginning and reread the entire trilogy, and I noticed quite a few things that I didn’t notice before.

For starters, wow, I don’t like Katniss’ mom. I didn’t think she was that bad from the little I remember of her in the movie, but she made me want to scream in this one. Katniss barely ever spoke back to her mother, even though her mother went into a depressive episode and left an eleven-year-old to take care of an adult and a seven-year-old for almost an entire winter. It wasn’t her mom’s fault, but Katniss suffered for those months trying to feed her family until her mother would come back mentally. Katniss finally breaks down and yells at her when she is about to leave for the Hunger Games, begging her not to leave mentally again. Instead of apologizing for not being there all those years ago, she makes an excuse like “well I have my medicine now and if I had had my medicine back then I wouldn’t have left.” Your daughter was hurting because she had to become a mother at only 11, and your only comeback to her asking you not to do that again is “well if I had my pills.” This may be realistic, parents who have depressive episodes never really apologizing or understanding how much strain they put on their children, but boy it was so frustrating to read. The mother clearly prefers Prim, even though that daughter hasn’t been doing much (besides her goat milk business) to support the family, and just treats Katniss like she is the breadwinner for the family because she can hunt. Nevertheless, I felt that this truly gave Katniss more character than she would have had otherwise. It was interesting to see that she didn’t come from a perfect family with a perfect life. Therefore, it actually improved the story for me, in a way.

I really liked how the Capitol’s greediness was compared with the poverty of some of the districts. One of my favorite parts of the book was when Katniss got upset FOR the kids who Effie shamed in the previous year for eating like “animals.” Katniss remembers that these children had come from some of the poorest families in the District, so of course they would have eaten as if they were never going to see food again with such a rich meal being placed in front of them. District 12 is one of the poorest if not the poorest districts in the nation, so Katniss and Peeta have never seen such opulence before they got to the games. The scenes with the stylists were also very well written, and I was happy that they weren’t disrespected like other tributes.

I have to say that I hate love triangles, so I just didn’t appreciate the romance in this book. I understand that they did it because of a plan, but it just didn’t sit well with me. This book would have been perfect without the romance for me, but I am going to take a star off for that. Like what if they had teamed up to be partners, killed everyone, then decide to kill each other so that no one would win the games? I think that could have made for a more powerful book than this one was.

Overall, this book was better than I remember it being, but I still didn’t like the romance. For someone who is interesting in the worldbuilding and the fighting action of the game, this is the perfect book! If you are here for the romance…I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it completely. Onto the rest of the trilogy!

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books.

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The Forgotten Series Blog Tour Spotlight

Title: A FORGOTTEN GODDESS (The Forgotten #1)

Author: Cecilia Randell

Pub. Date: September 20, 2018

Publisher: Cecilia Randell

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 236

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon

READ FOR FREE ON KU!

An abandoned Egyptian goddess follows her visions to Ireland, and finds more than she ever bargained for… 

An abandoned Egyptian goddess follows her visions to Ireland, and finds more than she ever bargained for…

Bat Sitru used to be a goddess. Well, technically she still is. But with no followers, no temples, and only the overly mischievous cat-goddess Bastet as a friend, it’s difficult to lay claim to the title.

When her visions—once faded—return to her, they point to a land in the north, one of green slopes, mist, and rainbows. She is shown a hope for comfort and home, something that has long been missing from her existence.

Once there, she begins to wonder if her visions have led her wrong. She’s cold, damp, and her new landlords, the O’Loinsigh brothers, are not particularly welcoming. On top of that, she is confronted by a dead leprechaun on the rear stoop, a dagger that sucks the life of immortals, and territorial gods.

As past secrets collides with the present, will Bat be able to carve a place for herself in this new land? Or will this goddess be forgotten once more?

Please note: A previous, and shorter, version of this story was released in the anthology Shamrocked. This is also a slow-burn RH.

Title:  THE LEGENDS THAT REMAIN (The Forgotten #2)

Author: Cecilia Randell

Pub. Date: December 6, 2018

Publisher: Cecilia Randell

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 291

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon

READ FOR FREE ON KU!

A storm is brewing, and this goddess does not like the damp… 

Bat Sitru, an Egyptian goddess, is content in her new life in Sligo, Ireland. She tends the bar, participates in all the sing-songs she cares to, and is making new friends. The only thing she could wish to change is her relationship with the O’Loinsigh brothers—they’ve grown distant, and she’s afraid to upset the careful balance the four of them have found.

Before she can figure out what to do about that distance, an invitation arrives from the head of the O’Loinsigh family, leading to the revelation of long-held secrets and her visions come to life once more. What she will need to face this time is nothing so simple as a mad woman out for revenge—old legends are stirring as an ancient evil seeks to return.

Along with Dub, Mell, Shar, the reluctant Finn, and a host of other outcasts, Bat will confront a growing conspiracy of fae, gods, Fomoiri, and an evil long locked away. All she wants is to enjoy her strawberries and tea, and maybe a kiss or two, but sometimes a goddess has to do…

Well, a goddess has to do what a goddess has to do. 

Title: THE FINAL MELODY (The Forgotten #3)

Author: Cecilia Randell

Pub. Date: April 27, 2019

Publisher: Cecilia Randell

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 255

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon

READ FOR FREE ON KU!

Bat Sitru and her merry band of fae are officially on the run… 

Or are they on the hunt? It’s hard to tell. Separated from Dub and Shar, Bat can only concentrate on getting through the next steps of their piece-meal plan to defeat Balor. They have all the tools to defeat the would-be god, now they just have to pull it all together.

With new and unexpected allies, as well as a horde of sluagh on their heels, Bat and her boys race to find Tir Hudi and the cauldron before their enemies know they’re there.

In the end, it will be up to her, that forgotten goddess, to restore the balance and prevent the world from descending into chaos…

Note: Yes, for those who have not read the first two books yet, this is a “why choose” type romance.

About Cecilia:

Cecilia Randell was born in Austin, Texas and grew up in a home with her very own Cheerful Bulldozer.  After some brief adventures in various places such as California and Florida, she returned to her hometown and took up a career in drafting.  A lifetime lover of words and stories, the transition to writing was two-fold: a comment from a relative and a short line from another author, saying to write what you want to read.

And thus the new adventure was born.

Now she can be found most days curled up in a comfy chair and creating new tales to share with others.

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Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a signed set of the books, US Only.

3 winners will receive the series in ebooks, International.

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Tour Schedule:

Week One:

7/8/2019- BookHoundsInterview

7/8/2019- A Dream Within A DreamExcerpt

7/9/2019- Jaime’s WorldGuest Post

7/9/2019- Owl Always Be ReadingGuest Post

7/10/2019- The Tired BuyerGuest Post

7/10/2019- Julia SwoonsExcerpt

7/11/2019- Smada’s Book SmackExcerpt

7/11/2019- Lisa Loves LiteratureSpotlight

7/12/2019- Books a Plenty Book ReviewsReview

7/12/2019- Two Chicks on BooksInterview

Week Two:

7/15/2019- Sometimes Leelynn ReadsReview

7/15/2019- Cindy’s Love of BooksReview

7/16/2019- Book BriefsReview

7/16/2019- Burgandy IceExcerpt

7/17/2019- The Reading LifeReview

7/17/2019- ParajunkeeExcerpt

7/18/2019- Bri’s Book NookReview

7/18/2019- Reese’s ReviewsReview

7/19/2019- Drink Coffee and Read BooksReview

7/19/2019- Good Choice ReadingExcerpt

The Wanderer #2: Smoke In Her Eyes Review

Smoke in her Eyes (The Wanderer Book #2)

I was looking forward to finishing the Wanderer series so much, but then I was hit with so much disappointment. I couldn’t believe how childish Jason and Helle acted in this novel, and it totally took me out of the story. I felt like I was watching two teenagers in an “on again off again” relationship, and they were supposed to be literal soulmates.

Jason is visiting his aunt Juliet who was hurt by Sam in a car accident and burnt all over her body. He is distraught by seeing his aunt in so much agony for months, and moves with Helle closer to her hospital so that he can spend all day sitting with her. Helle is ok with this at first, but then she starts to get jealous as he spends more time with her and won’t even give her a second glance when he comes home. Helle knows Juliet is in love with Jason, but Jason thinks that Helle is being selfish. He couldn’t think of being intimate with Helle after seeing Juliet’s mangled body in the hospital day after day, but he can’t figure out the words to explain this to Helle.

Honestly, they were both in the wrong a lot for some parts of this book, but Helle was definitely pretty annoying. She barely even tried to understand what Jason was going through after having to see how bad Juliet really was hurt, and simply acted as if he was cheating on her. So, she decides to go hang out with some other guy to get Jason back. Even if Jason’s aunt is weirdly infatuated with him, hanging out with your dying aunt all day is not the same as hanging out with some random guy all day. She wanted to act as if she was so lonely, so bored in this new town, but she never made the effort to go and see Juliet. She didn’t even join any sort of women’s groups to fill the time in her day, she just sits at the house sulking all day and then sulks more when Jason doesn’t come home ready to jump in bed with her. Now, Jason isn’t completely off the hook. At some points in the book Helle really was insecure about their relationship and needed Jason’s reassurance, but he didn’t even try to give it to her. He was just pushing her away all the time, never explaining his feelings, just “knowing” that she would always stay around for him no matter what. Then when she isn’t there waiting for him anymore, he is shocked.

I wouldn’t have been as mad if the drama had ended there, but it seemed like another 50-100 pages of back and forth. Literally most of the book was just filled with the “perfect lovers” arguing over things that could have been eased if not solved by simple communication. Of course, Sam made an appearance every now and then, but they were too busy arguing to really deal with him. I feel like Sam could have easily had someone sweep up Helle while Jason was at the hospital, but nope, everything was drawn out.

The thing that really saved this book for me was I think the end of the novel. I’m not sure which event was the most exciting for me, but I just remember being on the edge of my seat once the random relationship drama was over. The “final battle” was definitely exciting to read, nothing to complain about there!

Overall, I wouldn’t really recommend or warn against this book. I suppose if you LOVE the first book in this series and have to figure out what happens to the characters in the end that you might enjoy this one.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 books.

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The Mage-Born Chronicles #2: Mistress Mage Review

Mistress Mage  (The Mage-Born Chronicles #2)

After the battle, Reshi realized that he loved Kestral, and he left. Loving someone was too much like being owned by that person for him to accept, and so he ran. Six months have passed and Reshi has started to woo some royals in order to live in the castle and get close to his step-brother, the king’s “legitimate” child Niko. He is also in contact with his exiled mother, and is avidly trying to avoid his murderous brother Velyn. Kestral stayed with Kila and has been hunting for Reshi for the past six months as well. He is desperately in love with him and would do literally anything to have him back, but Reshi keeps avoiding him. Whenever he manages to get close to Reshi, he shapeshifts into a creature that he can’t keep track of and runs away again. Kestral has to find some way to get Reshi to trust him so that they can finish off Velyn and finally be safe, but Kestral has to get Reshi to stay in one place long enough to explain himself first.

I have to say that even though the chase may get annoying for some readers, I truly enjoyed Kestral chasing after Reshi in this book. All Reshi does is usually run away from a situation when it becomes to difficult or too dangerous for him to face, and it has worked for him in his life so far. Now, there is finally a person begging Reshi to stay in one place. Their personalities are complete opposites, but now they are becoming more one alike one another. Kestral used to be the quiet one who avoided Reshi’s advances, now Reshi is forced to be quiet to stay in hiding away from Kestral.  They are also struggling with being apart from one another, even though Reshi would never admit it. I loved this couple from the beginning of the first book to the end of this book. They had their hiccups, but no couple is perfect. I still believed that they were a perfect match by the time I finished this novel.

My favorite part of this book was watching Reshi bond with his brother Niko. I wasn’t expecting them to get along as well as they did, given that Reshi lived a stressful and impoverished life while Niko got to live a privileged life, but Reshi was able to see through Niko that life as a royal was not amazing either. Niko had been sick all his life and had barely been allowed out of the castle many days. He struggled with being alone and having no friends because of this, and he never got to experience many of the luxuries of being the prince because of his sicknesses. Reshi originally was jealous of his brother, but then he began to befriend and even pity him to some extent. Only thing I was worried about was that Niko was accidentally going to develop a serious crush on his brother before they were properly introduced, but that was avoided completely. I would love more stories of just the two of them learning how to be true brothers to one another!

The action of this story was intense as a lot of “final battles” occur. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that I was happy with the ending. All the twists and turns leading up to that ending went perfectly, and I was happy with how all the characters ended up. If things had been any different, I don’t think I would have been as satisfied. I’m especially glad that Kila didn’t get any sort of random lovers. She loved the military, and that shone through her character entirely. She did not have time for extra dalliances, and I respected her for that.

Overall, this was one of my favorite fantasy duologies, and I can’t wait to read more by this author. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a new fantasy novel to enjoy, or a new romance novel with LGBT+ characters.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books

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Kill or Cure #2: Bloodlust Blog Tour!

KillorCure

Welcome to the Bloodlust tour, book #2 in Pixie Britton’s YA Science Fiction series, Kill or Cure. I have loads of fun stuff for you today! An exclusive excerpt, book trailer, a FREE book, and a chance to win a signed copy of Bloodlust! Wait, rewind…did I say FREE BOOK? I sure did! Read on!

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Bloodlust (Kill or Cure #2)

Publication Date: February 21st, 2019

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/ Dystopian/ Zombies

Publisher: Matador

He could save the world, or destroy it…

The virus that has swept the Earth hasn’t consumed Tommy, yet, but as his hunger for human flesh takes hold, his humanity vanishes behind the bloodlust of an infected. It’s up to seventeen year old Alyx and her friends to find answers. But saving her little brother isn’t their only problem. Lurking in the shadows of Alhena is the formidable General Sinter, hell-bent on capturing the boy with unrivalled superhuman strength for his own personal gains. With limited options, Alyx has no choice but to risk everything to protect him. A choice that she could live to regret

Kill or Cure: Bloodlust is the second book in the Kill or Cure series. Brimming with suspense, romance and heart pumping action!

Goodreads

Excerpt

Winter

“A look of intrigue flickers across Tyron’s face as he tries to take measure of this wild girl standing in the centre of his cage. To the untrained eye, Winter looks like an odd wild girl from the forest, and you wouldn’t necessarily know how deadly she is from first impressions. She’s slight in stature yet athletic and nimble, and it’s not until you’ve spent significant time with her that you can fully appreciate how skilful she is. Every single movement is deliberate and focussed, like she could switch into warrior-mode at the flick of a switch.

I can’t help but grin internally when I realise that this monster-man has just met his match and he has absolutely no idea.”

Excerpt From: Pixie Britton. “Kill or Cure: Bloodlust.” iBooks.

Amazon UK

Amazon US

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Kill or Cure is a YA romance-infused sci-fi novel.
It focuses on human relationships in an undead, apocalyptic world.
A girl who will stop at nothing to protect her brother.

In a dystopian world ravaged by infection, society as we know it has fallen to the mouths of the dead. The remaining fragments of civilisation survive in walled compounds, scattered in the depths of the countryside. When her little brother becomes sick with a suspected flu virus, Alyx Silverthorne will do anything to keep Tommy alive.

With limited medical supplies and only herbal alternatives, his prospects of surviving this mystery illness are bleak. But saving Tommy is just the beginning. The infected are not the only monsters that exist in this new world, and human nature can be more destructive than the dead.

In a race against time, Alyx and her best friend Will stop at nothing to protect him, even from the same people that swore to protect them all.

Kill or Cure is a dynamic, multifaceted story of teenage love and gut wrenching loss in a dystopian world.

Goodreads

Free Book Alert!!!

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Download your FREE copy of the Last Sacrifice: A Kill or Cure story today…

A world infected. A man’s quest to save his family. One impossible choice.

The mission was supposed to be simple; to find survivors and kill the infected. But when Lieutenant, Joe Hudson, discovers that the home of his family has been destroyed by the infected, he’s left with an impossible decision. A choice that could change his life forever.

With limited ammunition and morale hitting an all-time low, the survival of the squad rests on a knife edge. Joe has no choice but to turn to his girlfriend, Suzie, a fellow soldier and secret lover for support. Together they have to cross a line to save his family, but even in this new world where the dead roam the earth, there are some lines that should never be crossed. Joe’s loyalty to his squad will be tested and the ultimate sacrifice will be made.

Set in the same world as the thrilling YA series Kill or Cure, follow Victory Squad in this fast paced prequel. Filled with love, heartbreaking loss and zombie guts.

Download Here!

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As if a free book from the series isn’t enough, the author is also giving away a SIGNED copy of the book! All you have to do is enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

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Pixie Britton is a British indie author and Wattpad extraordinaire. Her debut YA novel Kill or Cure, gained international success online with over 100k reads within five months of initial publication.

Shes lives in Essex, England with her husband and adorable furbaby. One day she dreams of leaving her job as a Treasury Analyst in the city, to become a full time author and creative entrepreneur.

Check out her website https://pixiebritton.com/ and sign up to her mailing list to receive the latest book release information.

Pixie Britton | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

KillorCure

Blog Tour Schedule

July 8th

Reads & Reels (Review) http://readsandreels@gmail.com

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Interview) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

Banshee Irish Horror Blog (Excerpt) www.bansheeirishhorrorblog.com

I Smell Sheep (Excerpt) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

July 9th

The Hufflepuff Nerdette (Interview) https://thehufflepuffnerdette.wordpress.com

Bri’s Book Nook (Excerpt) https://brisbooknook.wordpress.com

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Excerpt) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/

July 10th

Breakeven Books (Excerpt) https://breakevenbooks.com

Cats Luv Coffee (Interview) https://catsluvcoffeez.blogspot.com

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

Reviews and Promos by Nyx (Excerpt) https://nyxblogs.wordpress.com/

July 11th

B is for Book Review (Interview) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

J Bronder Book Reviews (Review) https://jbronderbookreviews.com/

Jessica Belmont (Review) http://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com

July 12th

I’m Into Books (Excerpt) https://imintobooks.com

Eclectic Reviews (Review) https://eclecticreview.com/

Blog Tour Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours

Queen of the Sea Blog Tour Plus Review

Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Grade Level: 5 – 9
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Walker Books US (June 25, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1536204986
ISBN-13: 978-1536204988



Praise for QUEEN OF THE SEA

The art, reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier’s style, creates levity during perilous situations. The book is dense with dialogue, often feeling more like a work of prose than a graphic novel. As a result, this complex work will be more accessible to those familiar with graphic novels…Certain to charm sophisticated graphic novel devotees. —School Library Journal (starred review)

Meconis offers an atmospheric alternate history inspired by the childhood and succession of Queen Elizabeth I in this quietly ambitious graphic novel…Art in soft, earthy colors brings this singular story to life in styles ranging from simple line drawings to elaborately styled text illuminations. The island world is richly developed, both in its physical particulars and its close-knit community (fascinating digressions into topics such as convent time, hand gestures used at table, and chess and embroidery flesh out daily life), and Margaret proves herself an endearing heroine with a strong voice full of humor and wonder. Her perspective transforms a storm-wracked rock into a vibrant world of hidden treasures. —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Meconis’ humor and storytelling gifts here wed seamlessly with her evocative pen-and-ink and gouache illustrations, which are rendered in warm earth and sea tones and brim with movement, expressively capturing even Margaret’s interior monologues. With its compelling, complex characters and intrigue-laden plot, this will have readers hoping it’s only the first of many adventures for Meconis’ savvy heroine. —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Weaving faith, love, statecraft, and self-discovery into a tale of palace intrigue relocated to the halls of a convent on a remote island at sea, Dylan Meconis uses the trappings of the history we know to create a high-stakes adventure in an alternate past that feels so detailed and so familiar, you’ll find yourself wondering why you never read about it in school. This beautiful book swept me away from the first page.” —Kate Milford, author of the Greenglass House series

“Dylan Meconis is at the absolute top of her game. A gorgeously rendered, lovingly realized alternate history, full of personal revelations in the midst of political intrigue. A tale of growing up, and of understanding that the world is larger and stranger than it once seemed. (Plus it has a Terrible Recipe for Terrible Gruel.)” —Ben Hatke, author-illustrator of the Zita the Spacegirl series

“This is the book I was always trying to get my hands on in high school that never seemed to materialize. An adventure to lose yourself in, with an attention to historical detail to please the nerdiest among us. I fell easily and completely into this world and its characters, knowing I was safe in Dylan Meconis’s hands, and I’m really excited for more people to find out what I’ve known for a long time—that she is one of a kind.” —Kate Beaton, author-illustrator of Hark! A Vagrant

Cult graphic novelist Dylan Meconis offers a rich reimagining of history in this hybrid novel loosely based on the exile of Queen Elizabeth I by her sister, Queen Mary.

When her sister seizes the throne, Queen Eleanor of Albion is banished to a tiny island off the coast of her kingdom, where the nuns of the convent spend their days peacefully praying, sewing, and gardening. But the island is also home to Margaret, a mysterious young orphan girl whose life is upturned when the cold, regal stranger arrives. As Margaret grows closer to Eleanor, she grapples with the revelation of the island’s sinister true purpose as well as the truth of her own past. When Eleanor’s life is threatened, Margaret is faced with a perilous choice between helping Eleanor and protecting herself.

You can purchaseQueen of the Sea at the following Retailers:
       
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Margaret has lived on an island with nuns and servants her entire life. The nuns are of the Elysian order, and their job is to pray for the sailors that sail on the waters near their island. They also take in those that need shelter who come to the island, and help those who are washed ashore from a shipwreck. Margaret knows that she couldn’t have been born on the island, but none of the nuns are willing to tell her where she came from. She was also the only kid on the island, at least until William came. This book tells the story of her adventures on this island as she learns about her family, true family, and friendship.

I love graphic novels, but I have never read a historical fiction graphic novel. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but this book completely blew me away. Margaret was such a lively character, she reminded me of the girls that I grew up reading in the classic novels at the library like Pippi Longstocking and A Little Princess. She was full of life and lit up the rooms she was in, even on an island full of nuns and servants. She was imaginative, but she wanted to grow up to be a nun so she could help people. She never even thought of life off the island until more people from the mainland started coming to the island, but then she couldn’t stop thinking about it. Even when she thought about mainland life, she didn’t start to rebel against the people who had raised her. Which I took as a breath of fresh air. Not all preteen/teenaged girls are crazy and rebellious, some really enjoy their lives like Margaret did. You can be imaginative without trying to run away every 2 seconds.

This had to be one of the most fun yet even still historically accurate graphic novels I’ve read yet. I learned small things about living on an island full of nuns in the 16th century as I read about Margaret’s life there as an outsider. There were traditions that these nuns upheld, stories that these nuns told, that I had never even heard about as a non-Catholic Christian. Even so, the book wasn’t so forcibly religious that a non-Christian person would feel uncomfortable reading it. The historic religious events were woven in with brilliant storytelling and beautiful pictures.

I read this entire book in about 2-3 hours, while on buses and trains commuting to and from NYC. This book was so addictive that it took me out of that uncomfortable and annoying commute and made me think about a completely new world while I was reading it. I can say that I definitely have not had that experience while reading a graphic novel before.

I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a new historical fiction book or a new graphic novel to enjoy. I cannot wait to read more by this author!

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books.

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Photo Content from Dylan Meconis

I’ve been writing and illustrating my own stories since the first grade, and I’ve been making comic books since middle school (no, really! Seventh grade was a tough year for me socially, so I had a lot of time to draw). I started my first book-length comic (graphic novel) in high school.

Unlike a lot of people who become professional artists and authors, I didn’t go to art school or a creative writing program in college. Instead, I mostly studied history, literature, philosophy, and French in the College of Letters at Wesleyan University. This means I have a brain full of weird facts, old books, strange art, and the extremely useful ability to read The Tales of Canterbury in the original Middle English. Except for the Middle English bit, it’s all come in very handy for writing and drawing historical fiction and fantasy.

I first started to get paid for making comics when I was still in college, when my first graphic novel was published online. After college, I worked as a graphic designer and visual communications consultant (which means “person who helps teach adults complicated stuff in cool new ways using pictures”). I’ve worked with Fortune 500 companies, global charities, technology companies, libraries, and a lot of other interesting organizations. I’ve made illustrations, animations, information graphics and cool presentations, explaining everything from how microchips work to the ways that clean drinking water can help communities in the third world.

For the last ten years, though, I mostly work as a writer, comic book creator and illustrator! Sometimes I make books totally by myself, and sometimes I get to team up with other writers or artists. It can be lots of fun, but it can also be very hard work. Luckily, I never get tired of making new stories.

 
       
WEEK ONE
JUNE 24th MONDAY JeanBookNerd INTERVIEW
JUNE 25th TUESDAY A Dream Within A Dream TENS LIST

JUNE 26th WEDNESDAY BookHounds YA REVIEW & INTERVIEW 

JUNE 26th WEDNESDAY Triquetra Reviews EXCERPT

JUNE 28th THURSDAY Cover2CoverBlog REVIEW

JUNE 27th THURSDAY Wishful Endings FILL IN THE BLANKS

 

 

JUNE 28th THURSDAY TTC Books and More TENS LIST
JUNE 29th FRIDAY Movies, Shows, & Books EXCERPT 
 
WEEK TWO

JULY 1st MONDAY Nay’s Pink Bookshelf REVIEW

JULY 2nd TUESDAY Book Queen Reviews REVIEW 

JULY 3rd WEDNESDAY Sabrina’s Paranormal Palace REVIEW

 
JULY 3rd WEDNESDAY Two Points of Interest REVIEW
JULY 4th THURSDAY Wonder Struck REVIEW

 

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Kill or Cure #1 Review

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Kill or Cure

Alyx lives in a town of survivors with her brother Tommy, her guardian Joe, and her best friend Will. The Infected come from time to time, but they know how to protect themselves. When Tommy is infected, they know that they will have to leave. Without the protection of their walls, they are in danger when any traveler or Infected comes near to them. They have to protect Tommy, find new shelter, and avoid the Infected while they are at it.

I started off this novel truly invested in the story. I liked the characters, loved the setting, and I was looking forward to seeing how they would grow as the novel went on. By the time I reached the end of this book, my dreams were dashed. I still enjoyed the action scenes and I enjoyed most of the plot, but the romance ruined it for me.

I knew that Will and Alyx were going to be a couple from the start of the novel. I had hoped it would just be the two of them, but of course, no YA novel can go without a gold old-fashioned love triangle. I truly hated when Colt came into the picture, there was really no need for him to be there. Alyx fell for him because he “protected” her, but Will had literally been protecting her for years before that. They grew up together. Her lame excuse for wanting Colt over Will just didn’t add up, but she continued to ignore everyone that told her Will had a crush on her. This love triangle was painful to read as both boys started pining after Alyx, and the rest of the storyline seemed to die along with it.

Everything picked up again at the end of the story when the more important characters were added back in, like the deaf girl Winter that they found on their journey and a few other people they picked up. It is these characters who are making me really want to read book 2. Now that everyone is back into the story, I think the love triangle will be put to the side for more exciting story and action.

I wouldn’t recommend or discredit this book, as I think things might change in the next novel, so read it if you enjoy dystopian novels but don’t mind extremely annoying teenaged love triangles.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 books.

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Shadow Eyes #3: Sacrificial Souls Review

Sacrificial Souls (Shadow Eyes Series, #3) #bookblogger #bookreview @dustycrabtree
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Iris has been given a leadership role by Gregory, and Gregory is starting to leave everything up to her guidance and her team in missions. Iris doesn’t think that she can do everything on her own, and begins to resent Gregory for putting them in danger. Donovan keeps showing up, and now she has to try to fight him by herself. Him, on top of all the other shadows that Iris and her friends have to fight. She is glad to have a team behind her, but it would still be nice to have some guidance from her mentor.

I have loved the Shadow Eyes series from start to finish, and I am sad to see it end. This wasn’t the absolute best ending in my personal opinion, but it was the only one that made sense given the circumstances. I didn’t understand why Gregory was pushing Iris so hard, but by the end of the book I guess I kind of understood. I just felt like this was very out of character for him, which made it hard for me to connect with his character under these circumstances.

What I did enjoy was that all the ends seemed to be tied up with this story. I understood the shadows, I understood what Iris’ job was as a light warrior, and I think that Iris did too. It seemed like a very final conclusion to what had been a very long adventure with Iris and her friends. I was happy to see that the drama had mostly disappeared with Iris’ relationship with Patrick and they were able to just enjoy being together. One of my favorite parts of the book was watching Iris help her mother and her mother’s boyfriend plan for their wedding. The simple domestic things that allowed me to see how these characters were transitioning into a new stage of their lives made me enjoy this book even more.

The story flowed well, there were no dead moments that bothered me as I was reading it. The author perfectly balances the action with the main narrative, and I couldn’t put it down. I didn’t see any plot holes that distracted me from enjoying the book. There were no grammar errors or formatting errors as I read the ebook version of this novel. Everything except for the out of character Gregory made this a perfect ending to the series for me!

I would recommend this series to anyone looking for new YA fantasy novels to enjoy.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books.

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Ben Galley Ultimate Blog Tour Spotlight!

@BenGalley

Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone. He is also the author of the brand new Chasing Graves Trilogy.

The Written

Book one of The Emanska Series

His name is Farden. 
They whisper that he’s dangerous. 
Dangerous is only the half of it. 

Something has gone missing from the libraries of Arfell. Something very old, and something very powerful. Five scholars are now dead, a country is once again on the brink of war, and the magick council is running out of time and options. 

Entangled in a web of lies and politics and dragged halfway across icy Emaneska and back, Farden must unearth a secret even he doesn’t want to know, a secret that will shake the foundations of his world. Dragons, drugs, magick, death, and the deepest of betrayals await. 

Welcome to Emaneska.

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Chasing Graves

Book one of The Chasing Graves Trilogy

Welcome to Araxes, where getting murdered is just the start of your problems.

Meet Caltro Basalt. He’s a master locksmith, a selfish bastard, and as of his first night in Araxes, stone cold dead.

They call it the City of Countless Souls, the colossal jewel of the Arctian Empire, and all it takes to be its ruler is to own more ghosts than any other. For in Araxes, the dead do not rest in peace in the afterlife, but live on as slaves for the rich.

While Caltro struggles to survive, those around him strive for the emperor’s throne in Araxes’ cutthroat game of power. The dead gods whisper from corpses, a soulstealer seeks to make a name for himself with the help of an ancient cult, a princess plots to purge the emperor from his armoured Sanctuary, and a murderer drags a body across the desert, intent on reaching Araxes no matter the cost.

Only one thing is certain in Araxes: death is just the beginning.

Bloodrush

Book 1 of The Scarlet Star Trilogy

Prime Lord Hark lies dead in a pool of his own blood.

The Empire is in turmoil. The Emerald Benches are leaderless. Queen Victorious calls for justice. But none of this matters to Lord Hark’s thirteen year-old son, Tonmerion, who abruptly finds himself orphaned and now in the charge of an estranged aunt. An undertaker, no less, who lives far across the Iron Ocean, at the very brink of the Endless Land and all known civilisation. In a place they call Fell Falls, Wyoming.

In the dusty frontier town of Fell Falls, Merion finds no silverware, no servants, no plush velvet nor towering spires. Only dust, danger, and the railway. Tonmerion has only one friend to help him escape the torturous heat and unravel his father’s murder. A fae warrior named Rhin. An embittered, twelve-inch tall outcast of the Undering whose past refuses to let go of him.

But there are darker things at work in Fell Falls, and not just the railwraiths or the savages baying for blood. Secrets lurk in Merion’s bloodline.

Secrets that will redefine him.

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Heart of Stone

Merciless. Murderer. Monster. He has been called many names in his time.

Built for war and nothing else, he has witnessed every shade of violence humans know, and he has wrought his own masterpieces with their colours. He cared once, perhaps, but far too long ago. He is bound to his task, dead to the chaos he wreaks for his masters.

Now, he has a new master to serve and a new war to endure. In the far reaches of the Realm, Hartlund tears itself in two over coin and crown. This time he will fight for a boy king and a general bent on victory.

Beneath it all he longs for change. For something to surprise him. For an end to this cycle of warfare.

Every fighter has a last fight. Even one made of stone.

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Flowers and Keyboards #1: Her Elysium Review

Her Elysium (Flowers and Keyboards 1)
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Her Elysium is a romance novel by Emmy Engberts about two girls who find each other by playing an MMORPG. Fleur thinks that the tank of the guild is a cute guy named Alex, and she starts to fall for him before even getting the chance to meet him. To her surprise, Alex is a pretty girl who has been crushing on the talented healer who recently joined the guild. Fleur has never had a girlfriend before, but she can’t seem to stop thinking about Alex. She fell for Alex the person; does it matter if Alex is a boy or a girl? Alex knows that she and Fleur could work well together, but she wants to make sure that Fleur is ready for a relationship first.

I randomly stumbled upon this book, and I am so glad that I did! Not only is a LitRPG book where the author actually knows a lot about games, it is a really sweet YA romance novel! When I heard that Fleur was going to be a healer, I was bracing for the typical “gamer girl” stereotypes to come out. The healer can’t do anything, and so girls choose to be healers so they can rely on the guys in the game to do everything. Some girls might do this, but I personally don’t know any who have. Instead, Fleur is a really talented healer! Good healers have to make sure that they stay out of harm’s way while keeping the whole team alive. Fleur had to know the battles by heart in order to learn the boss’ patterns and be a better healer for the team. This is what real healers and people who play these sorts of games would do, and I was happy to see this represented in this book!

Back to the romance. I like that the author didn’t make this an ultra-sexual romance novel simply because the two characters were both female. In fact, she went on to discuss in the novel how people unfortunately believe that LGBT+ couples are more sexual than straight couples. Alex and Fleur were just two normal high school aged girls who liked each other and were happy going out with one another. They became close friends first because of the game, and then they continued to play as they fell for each other.

Overall, this has been one of the best F/F YA romance novels that I have ever read. I would definitely recommend it, and I am definitely going to read more books by Mrs. Engberts!

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 books

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