Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset by Sarah Ashwood

 

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About the book:

The mystery of other worlds is not one Hannah Winters ever thought she’d solve. However, the day she spots a brown-robed stranger with a magical staff in a neighbor’s field is the day she also discovers Aerisia, a magical land beyond Earth’s sunset. Here in Aerisia, Hannah is believed to be the Artan, a legendary heroine prophesied to deliver Aerisia from the Dark Powers. Plenty of people, including the Simathe, a race of immortal warriors, and the Moonkind, people of the Moon, are willing to help her discover her true identity, but Hannah’s just an ordinary girl from Earth. She doesn’t have any latent magical abilities and she’s not the Artan. However, her allies aren’t seeing it that way. Neither are her enemies. In fact, Hannah’s life is in jeopardy nearly from the moment she arrives in Aerisia. And becoming the Artan may be the only way to survive…


My review:

I grabbed this book a while back, because I was intrigued by the idea and thought the cover was kind of cool. Due to my crazy schedule, it took me a while to get to it, but once I did I flew through it! It was a very enjoyable read.

At times, I’ll admit, Hannah frustrated me. But that’s because she was real – she behaved pretty much as I would expect a normal young woman to behave when she’s been basically kidnapped. Yet, even more importantly, she does try to grow and change, even though she tends to forget the progress and opt for trouble once in a while.

The world-building is wonderful, and the magic system is very interesting and well-crafted. I enjoyed hearing the backgrounds of the different peoples in Aerisia and how Ashwood developed each with a purpose. Wonderfully done!

If you like fantasy, you’ll enjoy Aerisia: Land Beyond the Sunset. But make sure you also get at least the second book in the series, because (*minor spoiler alert*) there is so much more to this story that we don’t know yet! I would certainly recommend this book to my friends.

Happy reading 🙂

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The Last Motley by DJ Edwardson

Last-MotleyAbout the book:

Motleys. Candy-colored creatures with dark powers to drain the souls of men. That’s what Roderick always thought. Until he met one. Now he’s not so sure. But with seemingly everyone in the province hunting the motley down, he must quickly decide which side he’s on.

Is the motley the living nightmare the legends say? Or just a child cursed by magic? Should Roderick save him from an awful fate, or turn him in? Either way, it seems like everyone wants to make sure that this will indeed be the last motley.


My review:

I discovered this book a while back while traipsing through a blog tour, and it so intrigued me that I immediately added it to my “Want to Read” list. Then, an online book club that I’m privileged to be a member of chose it as their selection for August! Lucky me, I finally got a chance to read it! And I’m so glad I did.

Roderick the tailor is a finely embroidered character (pun definitely intended!), stitched with sturdy threads of love, faith, and a determination to do what is right. He leads a cast of motley characters (literally in Jacob’s case), all deftly sewn into the colorful fabric of a beautifully woven world.

The pacing of the plot is swift and the action builds constantly, making this one of those books that keeps you turning pages well past your bed time. But it’s worth it, because the story is great! I definitely recommend you pick up a copy of The Last Motley. 🙂

The Tomb of the Sea Witch by Kyle Robert Shultz

 

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About the Book:

Private detective Nick Beasley used to be a debunker of magic–and a human being. Then he found out magic is real. The hard way. Now he’s on the run from a powerful council of enchanters who want him dead, along with his little brother Crispin and the renegade enchantress Lady Cordelia Beaumont.

So when Cordelia suggests going undercover at a stronghold of the Council’s power–the Warrengate Academy of Advanced Magic–Nick isn’t exactly thrilled with the idea. Cordelia insists that the school may hold the key to Nick regaining his humanity: an ancient spell created by the Sea Witch from the tale of the Little Mermaid.

But the mission proves to be more complicated than Beaumont and Beasley had expected. An ancient threat is rising from the deep, bringing an army of the dead along with it. Shocking revelations send Nick, Cordelia, and Crispin on a harrowing journey under the sea.

The Sea Witch is not quite as dead as everyone believes…and her secrets will change everything.


My review:

Kyle Robert Shultz has a knack for creating wonderful stories. He takes classic tales and turns them upside-down, spins them around, and mashes them together – and all in a great way! 🙂 I so enjoy all of the allusions he tucks into his stories and how he can tie multiple genres together so seamlessly.

The Tomb of the Sea Witch is the second book in the Beaumont and Beasley series, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it (just as with the first book, The Beast of Talesend). The story flows smoothly, the writing  is both relaxed and intelligent, and the characters make me laugh. I love the witty banter that is tossed back and forth constantly. It makes the characters feel real, even though they are all fantastical beasts and enchanters and dragons and such. 🙂

I most definitely recommend you pick up your own copy of The Tomb of the Sea Witch and enjoy. Just remember, reading in public might cause people to give you funny looks when you giggle out loud! Happy reading!

Slumbering by C.S. Johnson

 

24263233About the book:

Sixteen-year-old Hamilton Dinger leads a charmed life. He’s got the grades for the top of the class, the abilities of a star athlete and Tetris player, and the charisma to get away with anything. Everything seems to be going along perfectly, including his plans to ask out Gwen Kessler, as he enters into tenth grade at Apollo Central High School. Everything, that is, until a meteor crashes into the city, releasing the Seven Deadly Sinisters and their leader, Orpheus, from their celestial prison, and awakening Hamilton’s longtime dormant supernatural abilities.

Suddenly Hamilton finds himself reluctantly allied with his self-declared mentor, Elysian, a changeling dragon, and Starry Knight, a beautiful but dangerous warrior, as they seek to protect the souls of Apollo City from the Sinisters and their evil intentions. Can Hamilton overcome his ignorance and narrow-mindedness to see what is truly real? Can he give up his self-proclaimed entitlement to happiness in order to follow the call of a duty he doesn’t want? More importantly, will he willingly sacrifice all he has to find out the truth?


My review:

It was a struggle for me to finish this book. I love the idea of a type of spiritual warfare brought into the open and people stepping into the roles God has defined for them. Unfortunately, the vast majority of this book was simply the teenage protagonist’s awfully gigantic ego and fairly whiny petulance on display. I expected him to throw himself to the ground and beat his fists on the floor every time he didn’t get his way (which was often). I’m not sure if the author wanted her readers to dislike her main character so much, but I could not get behind him and cheer him on. I honestly was half-hoping that, once the Sinisters finally showed up in the story (which seemed to take forever to happen) they would do him in. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to smack a character more than I did with Hamilton Dinger.

The series is something like seven books long, so there’s plenty of opportunity for the story to get better. It was an okay story, but I truly feel that the author could’ve condensed half of the non-action in the first book and made it read more quickly and enjoyably. So, here’s hoping that Dinger actually does grow in maturity and faith in the next book. Otherwise, I might not be able to stomach reading more. Such a bummer!

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

 

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About the book:

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

The Hardcastle family is hosting a masquerade at their home, and their daughter Evelyn Hardcastle will die. She will die everyday until Aiden Bishop is able identify her killer and break the cycle.

But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up each day in a different  body as one of the guests.

Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend. But nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that’s an Agatha Christie mystery in a Groundhog Day Loop, with a bit of Quantum Leap to it.  Perfect for fans of Kate Atkinson and Claire North.


My review:

Intrigued by the title; absolutely fascinated by the story. From the very first page to the last, I was captivated. I never expected the answer, and that is the hallmark of an amazing mystery.

There was so much about this book that I loved. The mixed-up timelines and the uncertain chemistry between Aiden and Anna reminded me of River Song and The Doctor. Each of Aiden’s “hosts” was so well-crafted and their movements so intricately woven together, it was mind-boggling. The lyricism Turton entwined throughout the story brought beauty to what could have been an overly dark plot. He managed to write a non-stop, mind-bending mystery wrapped in lyrically intense prose with a dash of social commentary…and it was awesome!

I most highly recommend you grab a copy of The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle as soon as it hits the shelves next month. You will definitely enjoy the ride! 🙂

Many thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark Publishers and NetGalley for the advanced digital copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

The Songweaver’s Vow by Laura VanArendonk Baugh

 

songweaverAbout the book:

Euthalia is rejected as a bride, traded to Viking raiders, and sacrificed to a strange god.

After that, things get interesting.

When Euthalia’s father trades her to Viking raiders, her best hope is to be made a wife instead of a slave. She gets her wish — sort of — when she is sacrificed as a bride to a god.

Her inhuman husband seems kind, but he visits only in the dark of night and will not allow her to look upon him. By day Euthalia becomes known as a storyteller, spinning ancient Greek tales to entertain Asgard’s gods and monsters.

When one of her stories precipitates a god’s murder and horrific retribution, Euthalia discovers there is a monster in her bed as well. Alone in a hostile Asgard, Euthalia must ally with a spiteful goddess to sway Odin himself before bloody tragedy opens Ragnarok, the prophesied end of the world.


My review:

Okay, honestly, I first judged this book by its gorgeous cover — I was absolutely drawn to it. I didn’t even bother to read the back matter; I just bought the book for the front cover! Then I realized it was about Norse mythology: a subject I’ve always been curious about, but never taken the time to study. Bonus! So I was totally excited to finally get a chance to read The Songweaver’s Vow.

So now, how can I describe this book? Awesome comes to mind. Also beautiful, tragic, amazing, intense, fascinating…I am still kind of staggered by how much I enjoyed a book that I bought just for its cover. 😉 Laura VAB has vivified Norse mythology in a way that my college mythology class could only ever dream of. I was quickly captured by the writing and swept up in the rich emotion and deft weaving of the plot. It was one of those books that I wanted to finish, but didn’t want to end.

If you enjoy Norse mythology, you’ll love The Songweaver’s Vow. If you’ve never read any or know little to nothing about Norse mythology, you’ll love The Songweaver’s Vow. Just trust me on this: get your own copy and get caught up in the magic! 🙂

Halayda by Sarah Delena White

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About the book:

A mortal alchemist. A faerie king. A bond that transcends death.

Betrayed by a trusted mentor, Sylvie Imanthiya hides on the fringes of society, caring for half-fae orphans and trading her alchemical creations on the black market. She lives for the one night each season when she can see her dearest friend—a man whose destiny is far above hers.

King Taylan Ashkalabek knows better than to exchange halayda vows with a mortal. Even their friendship is a risk; love is an impossible dream. Then a brutal alchemical attack poisons his realm, unearthing a dark power within him—and leaving Sylvie with the ancient mark of Faerie’s savior.

Manifesting unpredictable abilities and aided by allies with their own secrets, Sylvie and Taylan journey into the wilds of Faerie to heal the damage and confront Casimir, an invincible star-fae determined to claim the realm as his own. But only their enemy knows Sylvie’s true capabilities—and Taylan’s weaknesses—and how to use them in his vicious schemes.

Her fate is life. His fate is death. With Faerie in the balance, Sylvie and Taylan must stand together before reality as they know it is destroyed.


My review:

I was not expecting this. I don’t really know what I expected, but I can honestly say that this book provided much more than I ever imagined it would. And all of it was good 🙂

Sarah Delena White brought her well-crafted world to life, filling it with beautifully flawed and quirky characters. I found myself cheering on Sylvie and Taylan all the way to the dramatic climax, which (**minor spoiler alert**) brought tears to my eyes as my heart wrenched. Her magic/alchemical system is fascinating–and great for creating unexpected plot twists.

Halayda is a marvelous take on the world of the fae, and I’m very much looking forward to heading back into that world in the next book. I highly recommend you read Halayda.

Happy reading! 🙂