Book Reviews

Harry Potter Murder Mystery Party

For a late birthday party (or just an excuse to throw a party), I threw a Harry Potter-themed murder mystery party and I thought I’d share some pictures. Please note, that most of these are pre-party and I was so busy coordinating during it that I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of anything of the completion 😦 I meant to add letters coming out of the fireplace.

I hid golden snitches around my house and that was how people received House Points.

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One thing I am sad that I didn’t have enough time to setup…the flying keys!

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One of the coolest decorations in my library…

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What I’m most proud of…Honeyduke’s!

And last but not least…can you guess who I was?!

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Bookish Features

First Lines Friday – October 18, 2019

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature hosted by Wandering Words. The meme is based on the idea that instead of judging a book by its cover, author, prestige, we judge it instead by its opening line(s). You can check out my review of the book here!

When someone like Staff Sergeant Raymond K. Rodriguez leaves to fight for their country, the rest of you wait, counting down the days until the next arrival, and the next leave — because there’s little breathing in between. You check the empty mailbox, hold your phones like bulletproof vests, and bargain with whoever you pray to that your fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers don’t come home in a box. No one wants to be in the FLOAT phase — Fallen Loved Ones Awaiting Transfer. Not knowing when the body of your loved one will arrive on American soil wrapped in ice. So you can release that pang you’ve been holding on to, only to replace it with a new one. So you can stop pacing in fear, and hold on to something else: acceptance.

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

Six Goodbyes We Never Said

Title: Six Goodbyes We Never Said
Author: Candace Ganger
Rating: ★★★

Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love, loss, and letting go

Naima Rodriguez doesn’t want your patronizing sympathy as she grieves her father, her hero—a fallen Marine. She’ll hate you forever if you ask her to open up and remember him “as he was,” though that’s all her loving family wants her to do in order to manage her complex OCD and GAD. She’d rather everyone back the-eff off while she separates her Lucky Charms marshmallows into six, always six, Ziploc bags, while she avoids friends and people and living the life her father so desperately wanted for her.

Dew respectfully requests a little more time to process the sudden loss of his parents. It’s causing an avalanche of secret anxieties, so he counts on his trusty voice recorder to convey the things he can’t otherwise say aloud. He could really use a friend to navigate a life swimming with pain and loss and all the lovely moments in between. And then he meets Naima and everything’s changed—just not in the way he, or she, expects.

Candace Ganger’s Six Goodbyes We Never Said is no love story. If you ask Naima, it’s not even a like story. But it is a story about love and fear and how sometimes you need a little help to be brave enough to say goodbye.

Book Reviews

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

The Bone HousesTitle: The Bone Houses
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Rating: ★★★★

Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.

This was the perfect fall read…the ambiance, the plot, and the creepiness (but not always creepy) of the bone houses, or half-alive skeletons of the dead. But most importantly, this was a story of survival, commitment, and the lengths one will go for family.

After the death of her mother and her father never returning on a trip into the mines, Ryn, the eldest child, finds herself taking over the family business as a gravedigger. One thing I find in common with Ryn is the peace one can often find with the dead…silence and the ability to escape from reality. After seeing a glimpse of a bone house as a child, she knew that one day she would come face-to-face with these zombie skeletons while burying the dead. After all, there is a reason people don’t venture past the iron fences.

Ellis is a mapmaker trying to find his way in this world. Unexpectedly (but not really), Ryn saves Ellis from a bone house while searching for his family history. Coincidentally needing money to pay off of her uncle’s debts, Ellis hires Ryn to take him on his journey to “map out” the Mountains of Annwvyn. Lucky for Ryn, she can find a way to end the curse and hopefully (maybe?) find her father along the way.

Perhaps my favorite character in the novel is the pet goat. She was so sweet, loyal, protective, and a little stinky.

Lloyd-Jones takes reader on a journey into a glimpse of Welsh mythology in the form of bone houses. The Bones Houses is a captivating story perfect for lovers of the undead, life after death, and the lengths on will go to preserve family (literally! haha).

Bookish Features

Waiting on Wednesday – October 16, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan

Girls of Storm and Shadow

From Goodreads:

In this mesmerizing sequel to the New York Times bestselling Girls of Paper and Fire, Lei and Wren have escaped their oppressive lives in the Hidden Palace, but soon learn that freedom comes with a terrible cost.

Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn’t the end of the plan—it’s just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei’s head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.

Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her?

See my review for Girls of Paper and Fire here.

Book Reviews

Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1) by Rosaria Munda

FireborneTitle: Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
Author: Rosaria Munda
Rating: ★★★★

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Game of Thrones meets Red Rising in a debut young adult fantasy that’s full of rivalry, romance… and dragons.

Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.

Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.

But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.

With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.

From debut author Rosaria Munda comes a gripping adventure that calls into question which matters most: the family you were born into, or the one you’ve chosen.

Who doesn’t love a story about dragons?!

“Inspired by Plato’s Republic and told from a dual point of view, the story is pitched as Aegon Targaryen and Hermione Granger with dragons.”

Fireborne is a dazzling debut into a land where suffering, atonement, and political retribution are a norm. The hope of future peace lands lands on the shoulders of two orphaned dragon riders. Suffering from the loss of their families, Lee and Annie bonded at the orphanage where they met.

I look down at this boy, vulnerable, at my mercy, and think, To the ends of the earth I will protect you.

Fast forward some years later to the fight for Firstrider. These scenes reminded me of the Triwizard Tournament from Harry Potter. Having been born as a Stormscourge and son to the man who burned Annie’s family, tensions rise as the fight for Firstrider commences. But something else looms in the horizon…rumors of another dragon fleet from the old regime have surfaced.

Will Lee betray his family to fight for the government he was raised in for most of his life? Or will he fight with blood?

What makes this story different from other dragon novels is that the reader can feel the emotions of the dragons. The bond between dragon and rider is so intense, it almost serves as a link to the souls. I want a dragon.

On a side note…does anyone else like Power and think he may turn “good guy”?! And does anyone else love Duck?!

You have given life to me.

Munda brings us a captivating story of political unrest, revolution, and the chance to create history. I’m excited for the next installment!

Book Reviews

Win Your Free Copy of Fires of the Dead Here!

Good morning readers! I have some exciting news to share: Jed Herne and I have partnered together to bring you a chance to win a personalized, signed paperback copy of Fires of the Dead! You can see my review for the novella here.

 

Hi! I’m Jed Herne, author of Fires of the Dead, and to celebrate the release of my debut fantasy book, I’m giving away an exclusive signed, personalised paperback copy!

Wisp is a pyromancer: a magician who draws energy from fires to make his own flames. He’s also a criminal, one job away from retirement. And it can’t come bloody soon enough.

Leading his misfit crew, Wisp ventures into a charred and barren forest to find a relic that could change the realm forever. But they aren’t the only ones on the hunt, and the forest isn’t as barren as it seems …

A jaded gang leader longing for retirement

A bloodthirsty magician with a lust for power

A brutish fighter who’s smarter than he looks

A young thief desperate to prove herself

A cowardly navigator with secrets that won’t stay buried

Together, they must survive fights, fires, and folk tales that prove disturbingly real – if they don’t kill each other first.

Reviews:

“…the perfect read for someone looking to be quickly immersed in a magic system unlike anything else.” – Nicole Wallace

“I honestly did not put this one down til I finished.” – Katelyn Dickinson

“…a real page turner (it gave me goosebumps)” – Caitlin Shaw

How this works:

When you enter the giveaway, you’ll also join my Reader Club email newsletter. This means you’ll stay updated about future books, contests, and other cool stuff – and you’ll also be kept in the loop about great giveaways like these! Don’t worry, I’ll never spam you, and you can leave at any time.

(Oh, and when you sign up, I’ll send you a bonus short story right away as a thank-you – so everyone who enters will at least win something!)

Terms:

Due to printing/shipping restrictions, you must currently live in the following countries to enter: USA, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada.

 

ENTER TO WIN FIRES OF THE DEAD HERE

Bookish Features

First Lines Friday – October 11, 2019

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature hosted by Wandering Words. The meme is based on the idea that instead of judging a book by its cover, author, prestige, we judge it instead by its opening line(s). You can check out my review of the book here!

But there was heard among the holy hymns,
A voice as of the waters, for she dwells
Down in a deep; calm, whatsoever storms
May shake the world, and when the surface rolls,
Hath power to walk the waters like our Lord.

-ALFRED LORD TENNYSON,
Idylls of the King

 


ABOUT THE BOOK

Cursed

Title: Cursed
Author: Thomas Wheeler
Rating: ★★★

Soon to be a Netflix original series!

The Lady of the Lake is the true hero in this cinematic twist on the tale of King Arthur created by Thomas Wheeler and legendary artist, producer, and director Frank Miller (300, Batman: The Dark Night Returns, Sin City). Featuring 8 full color and 30 black-and-white pieces of original artwork by Frank Miller.

Whosoever wields the Sword of Power shall be the one true King.

But what if the Sword has chosen a Queen?

Nimue grew up an outcast. Her connection to dark magic made her something to be feared in her Druid village, and that made her desperate to leave…

That is, until her entire village is slaughtered by Red Paladins, and Nimue’s fate is forever altered. Charged by her dying mother to reunite an ancient sword with a legendary sorcerer, Nimue is now her people’s only hope. Her mission leaves little room for revenge, but the growing power within her can think of little else.

Nimue teams up with a charming mercenary named Arthur and refugee Fey Folk from across England. She wields a sword meant for the one true king, battling paladins and the armies of a corrupt king. She struggles to unite her people, avenge her family, and discover the truth about her destiny.

But perhaps the one thing that can change Destiny itself is found at the edge of a blade.