Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for the opportunity to read and review The Cruel Prince by Holly Black! The opening of the book immediately grabbed my full attention with action, intrigue and violence! Jude and Taryn, human twins, are raised with their Faerie older sister, Vivi, in the Faerie kingdom. Jude and Taryn attend school with faerie teenagers and, while Taryn seems to stay off their radar, Jude is constantly being teased by Cardan, Valerian, Locke and Nicasia. Valerian takes the teasing to violent extremes. For this reason, Jude works daily to become stronger (by taking small amounts of poison daily to become immune) and to become a warrior. Little does she know how much her self training and practice will help her kingdom until the future of her kingdom lies within her hands. Fantasy laced with action and intrigue make The Cruel Prince a must read, 5 stars! I’m anxiously awaiting the sequel.
The Darkest of Dreams by Emigh Cannaday opens with the realization that Finn has been murdered by Talvi, his own brother. After Finn’s death, the Marinossian family is distraught and in turmoil because of the loss of Finn and Talvi’s murderous act. Talvi ends up in Bleakmoor Island Prison until his trial, while Annika is sent away from the Elven world for several reasons: her safety, secrecy and to help the Marinossian family heal. An enormous turn of events changes everything and the story unfolds while continuing to build character development and the world of the Marinossians. The beloved personalities return in this sequel and the character spectrum grows larger. Another Annika Brisby story full of suspense, danger, romance and magic. 5 stars!￼
Thanks to NetGalley and Timber Press for the opportunity to read and review Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World by Janit Calvo! New, imaginative and creative ideas for fairy and tiny gardens. This book covers supplies needed for a miniature garden workshop and basic materials and tools required for most projects. The projects cover holidays, special occasions, world travel, storybook ideas and more! For the beginning miniature gardening and for the novice, the detailed instructions and photographs will inspire and get the creative juices flowing. 5 stars for a completely fun craft book!
The Last of the Firedrakesby Faarah Oomerbhoy is a tale about a girl named Aurora. Aurora had been with her adoptive family since she was two years old until their fatal car accident and now she’s living with her adoptive father’s brother and his family. Her aunt is rude and lets Aurora know often that she’s not cared for and her cousin gives her the same treatment. The family visits an estate where Uncle christopher gives Aurora away to a dangerous looking man, named Lord Oblek. Lord Oblek takes her back into the tapestry that he came out of. Aurora is taken to a prison and placed in a pit with other prisoners who are scheduled to be executed the next morning, Kalen and Finn. The two of them are Fae and each has a distinct personality. The Black Wolf, Rafe who is a mage, saves all three from the prison confines. When they arrive at their safe meeting place, Rafe discovers who Aurora truly is as she tells him how she came to be a prisoner. Aurora is the rightful heir to the kingdom that Morgana stole from the king and queen when Aurora was two years old. Aurora needs to stay hidden or Morgana will have her killed just as she killed the king and queen all those years ago. The safest place for Aurora, according to Rafe, is with her granduncle Duke Gabriel Silverthorne. Once she has met the duke and his family, Aurora is sent to attend a magic school, Evolon, to receive magical training. On the way she meets with a thousand-year old Fae that changes Aurora’s appearance so Morgana will not find her. Aurora now goes by Rory and she’s enjoying and learning from her classes but she’s still trying to get used to her plain appearance a little at a time. This book has many similarities to Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings but stands well on its own merits of dynamic characters, increasing plot twists and conflict. The setting is described beautifully and The Last of the Firedrakes is a wonderfully told fantasy worth 5 stars!
The Rise of the Dawnstar by Farah Oomerbhoy was fantastic! Wow, this sequel to the Last of the Firedrakes really packs a punch! Full of action, adventure, intrigue and plot twists, this story continues to pull me further into its world. Love, loss and uncovered secrets built intense relationships and kept my interest. I can’t wait for the next book in the Avalonia Chronicles. 5 stars!
The Scarlet Tanager by Emigh Cannaday is the third book in the Annika Brisby series and it begins where The Silver Thread leaves off, with Annika’s kidnapping. I was so angry at Talvi when I thought he was flirting with his work partner and very relieved in the next chapter when his purpose was brought to light. I absolutely love Finn and how he takes great care with Annika and Talvi seems extremely selfish compared to Finn. When Annika loses her memory, she seems completely content with Finn. I think he treats her like a queen. The narrator performs the characters’ voices perfectly and endeared the characters to me. 5 stars for an elaborate fantasy in a complicated world!
I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.
Thanks to NetGalley and Amulet Books for the opportunity to read and review A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge. A Face Like Glass is a strange story of a lost girl in a world where people are taught expressions or “faces” by Facesmiths. This girl, Neverfell, was given a mask to cover her face because it’s different. She’s brought to society and lives with a family while she learns how to act and react when around others. This is an odd story full of symbolism of human nature and society. The epilogue helps the story make a bit more sense, but the oddities and ramblings still overpower the story. The writing is well done but the story is not for me, too stretched and too vague; 3 stars.
I received an advance reader copy and an audiobook and volunteered to review the story.
The Silver Thread audiobook has the same great voice actor as The Flame and the Arrow! Talvi and Annika come together again but they discover that love takes work and they seem to have a lot more to deal with while they are staying with her brother and their friends. Being married and realizing they need to rely on and and share with each other is difficult for both of them. At times, I became annoyed at Talvi and even Annika because they didn’t seem to be trying to care for and be there for each other. Finn is amazing and selfless and he and his father straighten Talvi out. I thought the punishment Ambrose set for Talvi was priceless, including the conversation Ambrose conducted with Talvi while he was digging, not realizing that Annika was there the whole time overhearing everything, just as Talvi’s father planned. The cliffhanger ending is intense! 5 stars for the wonderful, flowing writing of Emigh Cannaday and for her creative fantasy world, prophecies and all!
The Winter’s Spite by Rebekah L. Purdy continues the story of Salome. She’s living in the
Faerie realm and learns that her grandmother Doris isn’t well. Salome goes back to the human world to say goodbye to Doris and that’s when Salome learns about her true past and origin. The swearing is more prominent in this book than the rest of the Winter People series and it was a bit out of character for Salome, so it detracted from the story. I am glad the author finished the series with the twists, action and dynamic characters continuing throughout all three books. 4 stars for this fun and thrilling fantasy fiction!
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review The Summer Marked by Rebekah L. Purdy, the second book of The Winter People series! The story opens with a taste of Shakespeare’s writing. Salome is now living with Gareth in the Faerie realm and the opening of the book shows us more about her grandmother and her secrets. Kadie receives a message from Salome asking her to meet at a club. Kadie goes, but Salome is not there and she ends up being captured by the Winter Queen’s helpers. They demand to know where Salome is but Kadie doesn’t know, so they keep torturing her. I love the descriptions of the beautiful tattoos Salome receives as she becomes a part of each season and she gains power to help the Fae. The character pool grows in this second book of The Winter People series, making the story more complex and interesting. As people and their relationships evolve, the danger grows. I’m very happy there is a third book to this series because I am not ready to let these characters go. 5 stars for dialogue that matches and portrays the characters perfectly in this fantasy story!
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull! I absolutely love the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull and Dragonwatch is a continuation of that series, so I was excited to dive right in and devour the book! The prologue is told in the grandfather’s point of view. The story is told in alternating points of view with each chapter, taking turns between Kendra and Seth, the grandkids. Seth is a shadow charmer. Kendra is fairykind. The two siblings can charm dragons as long as they are together. Because of this, they have been asked to be caretakers of a dragon sanctuary, Wyrmroost. They are charged with finding a scepter that will help keep the sanctuary safe and, on their ques,t they run into many interesting creatures: dire bears, a troll and a very old dragon whose help they need. They work together well and it seems that Seth has become a bit wiser. It sure is nice to be back in the world of Fablehaven. 5 stars for this book that brings readers back to the adventurous Fablehaven life and I am looking forward to more books in this series!