February 22, 2017

Wednesday Wishes

I decided to dig deep into my future purchases shelf. There was an overwhelming amount to pick from, but I picked one that I keep forgetting about. Yet when I find it I always get so excited about it!


Sasha by Joel Shepherd

Sasha  (A Trial of Blood & Steel #1) new coverGet it: Amazon | Goodreads
Genre: High Fantasy
Series: A Trail of Blood & Steel, book 1

Spurning her royal heritage to be raised by the great warrior, Kessligh, her exquisite swordplay astonishes all who witness it. But Sasha is still young, untested in battle and often led by her rash temper. In the complex world of Lenayin loyalties, her defiant wilfulness is attracting the wrong kind of attention.

Lenayin is a land almost divided by its two faiths: the Verenthane of the ruling classSasha  (A Trial of Blood & Steel #1)es and the pagan Goeren-yai, amongst whom Sasha now lives. The Goeren-yai worship swordplay and honour and begin to see Sasha as the great spirit—the Synnich—who will unite them. But Sasha is still searching for what she believes and must choose her side carefully.

When the Udalyn people—the symbol of Goeren-yai pride and courage—are attacked, Sasha will face her moment of testing. How will she act? Is she ready to lead? Can she be the saviour they need her to be?

Looks like this book actually got a makeover! I didn't even notice! I really like the new cover.

This really sounds like the adult version of the Song of the Lioness series.

I tell you this year I will get these books and read them!

February 21, 2017

Review: Bound by Blood and Sand

Bound by Blood and Sand (Bound by Blood and Sand, book 1) by Becky Allen

Bound by Blood and Sand  (Bound by Blood and Sand #1)

Genre: Young Adult High Fantasy
Edition Reviewed: Ebook
Amazon: Paperback | Kindle
Goodreads: Bound by Blood and Sand (1)

Jae is a slave in a dying desert world.

Once verdant with water from a magical Well, the land is drying up, and no one remembers the magic needed to keep the water flowing. If a new source isn’t found soon, the people will perish. Jae doesn’t mind, in a way. By law, she is bound by a curse to obey every order given her, no matter how vile. At least in death, she’ll be free.

Lord Elan’s family rules the fading realm. He comes to the estate where Jae works, searching for the hidden magic needed to replenish the Well, but it’s Jae who finds it, and she who must wield it. Desperate to save his realm, Elan begs her to use it to locate the Well.

But why would a slave—abused, beaten, and treated as less than human—want to save the system that shackles her? Jae would rather see the world burn.

Though revenge clouds her vision, she agrees to help if the kingdom’s slaves are freed. Then Elan’s father arrives. The ruler’s cruelty knows no limits. He is determined that the class system will not change—and that Jae will remain a slave forever.


Review:

“Everything Jae had ever known was a lie.”

I've been waiting for something "in the vein of Tamora Pierce" for a pretty long time. What I truly love is that Bound by Blood and Sand does not claim to be Tamora Pierce, the next Tamora Pierce, or a combination of popular or similarly loved books. In fact, once the official synopsis hit "in the vein of Tamora Pierce" vanished. Though I do firmly believe that if you were—still are!—a fan of Tamora Pierce's work and the young adult fantasy genre that is more world building less “just another YA romance” this book is for you!!! Yes!

“Jae had so much power, and the very first thing she'd done with her freedom was kill.
But she'd grown flowers, too.
She could do anything.”

I won't lie, like some of Tamora Pierce works, Bound by blood and Sand does follow a formula. The old school formula of High Fantasy for young adult. Yet it has bold flavors of old and new, and Allen has created a compelling world and cast of characters. Best of all Becky Allen does not shirk away from going there. In her world there are people called Closest, their existence is worse then slavery. They are compelled by magic to obey the Highest. If they fail to obey their body is weighed down by pain. There is no option to not obey. They can not speak to anyone other than other Closests unless ordered otherwise. They must answer all questions asked and aren't even allowed to think traitorous thoughts about the Highest. In a society where you can order someone and they MUST obey you know there's gonna be some dark and scary things happening. What I said about Becky Allen not shirking away is that she addresses those dark things. The darker themes are not a footnote or a quick idea to fade away into a silly romance. Which I appreciate. (Defy I am judging and looking at you.)

Bound by Blood and Sand isn't just a wonderful high fantasy young adult title, it transforms into a discussion of human rights. The weight and power of knowledge. How simply controlling history you could suppress an entire people. The power of not only knowledge, but the of the belief of people. The struggle for freedom is always a story that I become swept up in.

“Tal was right, the cost of freedom would be high. But that didn't mean it wasn't worth paying.”

Now that I've laid the heavy stuff out there I have to say how much I loved Allen's writing. Normally desert settings don't do it for me. I'm a mountain and forest girl. While I might like the desert in pictures and a quick scenery change while traveling I am 100% certain I would hate to live there. So most of the time desert settings for fantasy bore me. Yet with every word Allen created a beuatiful and deadly world. Where the Wells are the only thing keeping the people alive. The desert could easily kill them without wells. So water and the Wells are where the power is.

The magic setup and the concept tickle me. Why would people chose to live in a desert where without magic wells you'd die? What's beyond the big well? More, more! Bound by Blood and Sand addresses the real history of the world so I except to find out more in the future books.

At first it may seem like the characters are standard issue for the genre, but many once developed had many layers. You began to question how the world was. For instant the Highest aren't all evil, but perhaps they have to be that way becaue of the laws of the current system?

In the end I don't want to spoil. So what I will say is that if you have been dying for a REAL high fantasy in the young adult genre this is a must. If you have missed Tamora Pierce's type of awesome then yes! Come forth and read this book. If you want to experience real High Fantasy this is for you! A fabulous setup for a series I am eagerly awaiting more books for! With world building like this fans will be happy!

Content Warning: Addresses sexual abuse, rape, slavery, and other dark topics. Deals with murders and the interpretation of justice. Mental control in which characters aren't even allowed to think certain thoughts. Abuse and so on. Yes, it deals with dark themes. However, I don't think it loses itself in it.

 
5/5 - Forget obsession this book consumed me. 


Previous book(s) in series:
Reviewed on BW: Amazon: Goodreads:
N/A

N/A

N/A

February 20, 2017

Cover Coveting (6)

 
Cover art is found from Goodreads, Wicked Scribes, ATUF, social networks, and other sources.
***All cover art may not be final.***

I've been too lazy to fix my header. Apparently google has decided you can't get the link for pictures you've already uploaded. *sighs* It it works perfectly break it. That seems to be google, and internet providers (data caps anyone) latest motto.

Hopefully I'll get motivated soon. Now let's look at some pretty covers.


All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

Previous book(s) in series:

Goodreads | Amazon


All the Crooked Saints Series: N/A 

Add it: Goodreads | Amazon
Genre: N/A

Shera’s thoughts:

Okay, so this is a placement holder until the real cover comes. Still I'm impressed by how much thought goes into them. Sometimes I feel like more thought goes into them than some other poor covers ever get.

My favorite thing about this is the white owl. It's perfect. Pumps me up for the real cover.

Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows

Previous book(s) in series:

Goodreads | Amazon


Before She Ignites  (Fallen Isles Trilogy #1) Series: Fallen Isles Trilogy, book 1

Add it: Goodreads | Amazon
Genre: Young Adult High Fantasy

Shera’s thoughts:

Okay, so this might count as a pretty dress cover, however I love it! Espeically the flowered head dress.

I like the concept of the serpent . . . but is that supposed to be the dragon? Eeks. It gets a 0 for dragon, but all together it looks lovely!

Fanning the Flames by Chris Cannon

Previous book(s) in series:

Goodreads | Amazon


Fanning The Flames  (Going Down in Flames #4) Series: Going Down if Flames, book 4

Add it: Goodreads | Amazon
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult 

Shera’s thoughts:

Ah, so color streaks this time and not so much magical hair! I bet it's because she's not a full blooded dragon? Oh, I'm just speculating. I actually haven't read the books.

While I'm not a fan of the covers I do like the consistency for the series.

Garden of Thorns by Amber Mitchell

Previous book(s) in series:

Goodreads | Amazon


Garden of Thorns Series: N/A 

Add it: Goodreads | Amazon
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Shera’s thoughts:

This is very beautiful, though if I star too long there's something off about the big heart.

Love the look of the thorns and the roses, and the placement helps to make the title get more attention. However, I don't like the "of" in the title.  I get what they were trying to do, but I'd pick a different script font.

Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson

Previous book(s) in series:

Goodreads | Amazon


Into the Bright Unknown  (The Gold Seer Trilogy #3) Series: Gold Seer Trilogy, book 3 

Add it: Goodreads | Amazon
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Shera’s thoughts:

This is a bit more darker colors on the covers so it doesn't quite have the pop that I want. Especially the gold.

Still a very lovely cover and I like seeing more mountains/scenery as part of the theme.

Just wish the title could pop more. 

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Previous book(s) in series:

Goodreads | Amazon


Mask of Shadows  (Untitled #1) Series: untitled, book 1

Add it: Goodreads | Amazon
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Shera’s thoughts:

Love! Love! LOVE! This cover. I'm not sure what it's supposed to be, but I like it. It's kind of a mix of daggers and a pendant. Or dagger wings mesh up! Either way very cool.

February 17, 2017

Review: Frost Burned

Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson, book 7) by Patricia Briggs

Frost Burned  (Mercy Thompson #7)

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Edition Reviewed: Paperback
Amazon: Paperback | Kindle
Goodreads: Frost Burned (7)

Patricia Briggs's novel River Marked was praised as "an urban fantasy where our everyday world is believably twisted into the world of fey, werewolves, vampires, and myths made real." Now Mercy Thompson faces a shapeshifter's biggest fear as the realm she has embraced is thrown into chaos...

Mercy Thompson's life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman - the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack - has made her a stepmother to his daughter Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy's life. But on the edges of humanity, a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more...

After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and Jesse can't reach Adam - or anyone else in the pack for that matter. They've all been abducted.

Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. But she fears Adam's disappearance may be related to the political battle the werewolves have been fighting to gain acceptance from the public - and that he and the pack are in serious danger. Outmatches and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from any ally she can get, no matter how unlikely.


Review:

The Mercy Thompson's true power is in it's amazing cast of characters and world building. It's the truth. Because after raving about how awesome River Marked was because it was the first Mercy book that did not have a kidnapping of some kind for the plot . . . Frost Burn went and had the whole pack kidnapped. I actually had to set the book down take a deep breath and walk away. Of course I came running back frantically because I can't stay away from my beloved characters and I was worried if someone I loved would die! That's true book addiction power. Even more so is that I guessed the plot right from the get go, as it was a plot thread from a few books ago that I thought would show up again. As a “disguised” enemy that wasn't really an enemy because they were after someone else. Even when one of my top “book sins” was committed I couldn't give up and quite honestly enjoyed myself.

So what I will first address is why I find the endless kidnapping plots annoying and what my “book sin” is. Kidnapping plots, especially for Mercy Thompson books, annoy because now 6 of 7 books in the series have used them as pivotal plot moving. Secondly in some cases—most—it takes away fantastic characters that NEED to be developed. Or if say Mercy is kidnapped it takes her away from the other characters that I want her to have interactions with.

My “book sin” happens to be when an established series has a certain way of telling itself. Especially the Mercy books. They are first POV with Mercy always being the one telling the story. Sometimes a series will use the prologue or epilogue to let another character have a turn, which is totally fine. In the case of Frost Burned Adam took 2 turns—I think that was it, either way it wasn't much—and it worked. Because it helped to ease up my first complaint about kidnapping where we lose said characters that were kidnapped. It also worked because I LOVED being in Adams head. How he thinks of himself, the world, the other characters, and most importantly about Mercy. Between River Marked and his POV in Frost Burn it's helped to make up for some of the lack of emotion I felt from them having 10 years before the series officially starts and the spaces in between books that left out some of the romance. Which has always been a complaint for me. Especially since with everyone being kidnapped it always limited time Mercy and Adam had together, which meant very little actual page time together.

Now that I addressed all that I can move on to how amazing the world building is. So from the events of Fair Game—read Alpha & Omega and the Mercy Thompson books by release dates!!!!—we're left with the Fae retreating to their lands. The werewolves haven't made up their minds yet and are just barely entering talk with the Fae. It doesn't affect the book much, but then it does! Because the politics of how to handle human citizens, the government, and the supernatural hang in the balance. Which adds another layer to some scary events.

The characters are wonderful and it still baffles me how much I love Ben, even with him being wolf most of the time. Tad is actually in this more and I loved it! I've always wanted more of Zee's son. What hurts is that a very awesome character, to me, dies and we just really got to know that character. I'm also nervous of how this will make another character act in future books. (Because I feel like they could get annoying. So fast.) This was a great book to highlight other characters that we haven't gotten to spend time with, enjoy certain favorites, and Asil coming in! Yeah, loved Mercy's reaction and thoughts about him. (I look forward to characters from both the Alpha & Omega and Mercy books crossing over.) The reality is Mercy Thompson books are pretty small and kidnapping plots make things predictable and as I've mentioned make certain characters have less time.

Which is why Adam telling part of the story helped give us other characters. Not only that it helped me feel for him and Mercy as a couple even more. Adam is a truly intriguing male lead. Adam actually gets to rescue himself this time around , normally Mercy is always rescuing him in some capacity whether big or small. Because at some point it becomes unbelievable that Adam can't save himself, which is a reverse trope about the female being unable to save herself. I want them to save each other, team work baby!

I think Brigg's is aware of some of the flaws in the Mercy books. As Adam's own daughter makes a joke about Mercy not having to rescue him. Then Mercy towards the end of the book admits that even a ghost put the (super obvious clues) together before she did.

Briggs is also aware of what makes Mercy Thompson so awesome. World building and characters. It's what I come back for even after I realized that these books are predictable and easy to solve plot wise. The magic and the depth of world building are fantastic! The characters are beloved and I love the detail and minute details that go into them. They're relatable and a lot of times we get to see the good, the bad, and all the grey areas. Sometimes it's black and white, most of the time it's not.

Mercy is still one of my favorite characters! The humor and the natural way these characters interact is wonderful. Sure I'll always want more-more-more of the characters. Poor Stephan. The world is amazing and I love how much it goes with the Alpha & Omega books, but if you wanted it could still stand as it's own series. (Why would you not enjoy both series though!) I would still really love it if Briggs would stretch herself more with the plot, but I'll never get tired of this cast or world. (I'm fine with longer books if that's what it takes. )

Sexual Content: Pretty clean on the sex front even with Adam and Mercy having it. ^_- Violence and murder, but nothing to be shocked of from the series. The normal gritty and dark. Just like fans like it.

 
3/5 - A solid read despite minor flaws.


Previous book(s) in series:
Reviewed on BW: Amazon: Goodreads:

Moon Called (1)
Wolfsbane and Mistletoe (1.5)
Blood Bound (2)
Iron Kissed (3)
Bone Crossed (4)
Silver Borne (5)
River Marked (6)
Down These Strange Streets (6.5)
Frost Burned (7)
Night Broken (8)
Fire Touched (9)
Untitled (10)
Untitled (11)
Shifting Shadows: Stories From the world of Mercy Thompson (?)

Moon Called (1)
Wolfsbane and Mistletoe (1.5)
Blood Bound (2)
Iron Kissed (3)
Bone Crossed (4)
Silver Borne (5)
River Marked (6)
Down These Strange Streets (6.5)
Frost Burned (7)
Night Broken (8)
Fire Touched (9) 
Silence Fallen (10)
Untitled (11)
Shifting Shadows: Stories From the world of Mercy Thompson (?)

Moon Called (1)
Wolfsbane and Mistletoe (1.5)
Blood Bound (2)
Iron Kissed (3)
Bone Crossed (4)
Silver Borne (5)
River Marked (6)
Down These Strange Streets (6.5)
Frost Burned (7)
Night Broken (8)
Fire Touched (9)
Silence Fallen (10)
Untitled (11)
Shifting Shadows: Stories From the world of Mercy Thompson (?)

February 16, 2017

Cover Coveting(4)

 
Cover art is found from Goodreads, Wicked Scribes, ATUF, social networks, and other sources.
***All cover art may not be final.***


Tiger's Watch by Julia Ember

Previous book(s) in series:

Goodreads | Amazon


The Tiger's Watch  (Ashes of Gold #1) Series: Ashes of Gold, book 1

Add it: Goodreads | Amazon
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Shera’s thoughts:

Last cover coveting post I said Julie Ember has awesome book covers! Well here's another. Back to watercolor style. It's so beautiful.

I really like how the tiger looks.

The Trouble with Twelfth Grave by Darynda Jones

Previous book(s) in series:

Goodreads | Amazon


The Trouble With Twelfth Grave Series: Charley Davidson, book 12

Add it: Goodreads | Amazon
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Shera’s thoughts:

N/A

Venturess by Betsy Cornwell

Previous book(s) in series:

Goodreads | Amazon


Venturess  (Mechanica #2) Series: Mechanica, book 2

Add it: Goodreads | Amazon
Genre: Young Adult Steampunk

Shera’s thoughts:

Yes! Another totally beautiful cover with a flying creature. I love the metal Pegasus.

The font of the title is totally stunning.

With Blood Upon the Sand by Bradley P. Beaulieu

Previous book(s) in series:

Goodreads | Amazon


With Blood Upon the Sand  (The Song of the Shattered Sands #2) Series: The Wong of the Shattered Sands, book 2

Add it: Goodreads | Amazon
Genre: High Fantasy

Shera’s thoughts:

This actually already released, but I didn't get it posted before! The cover is too lovely just to skip over.

February 15, 2017

Wednesday Wishes

Well I'm sticking to just one this time around as a lot of the CC books are currently on my to by cover.


Deeds: Broken Deeds MC by Esther E. Schmidt

Deeds Broken Deeds MC  (Broken Deeds MC #1)Get it: Amazon | Goodreads
Genre: MC Erotica
Series: Broken Deeds MC, book 1

Deeds has just spent the last few weeks jonesing after a woman he only knows as Hotlips. Apparently pissing off a female can be rather entertaining from the safety of a text and their witty banter has left the President of Broken Deeds MC wishing for more.

The annoying, yet funny, communication comes to an end when they meet face to face. Lynn is the sister of Zack, current president of Areion Fury MC. Brought up the daughter of an MC President, Lynn is hell bent on not being a biker’s bitch.

When an enemy of Broken Deeds MC comes to play, Deeds is willing to give his last breath protecting what he claims is his. Deeds, a former MMA fighter, will need to revive his old fighter skills to protect his woman. Will it be enough to bring their enemy down or will he not only lose his only love but also his life?

Okay so my first reactions upon seeing this cover are:

Quick somebody stop that man! He's taking a crap on the cover.
I guess shirtless man covers just hit the fan! (I know, I know. Let me have it anyway.)

Which is exactly what I put on my GR review for now. ^_- It's been a while since I've tried an MC book. This one had good ratings and I thought the cover was hilarious.

Does anyone else thing M.A.S.H. when they see Hot Lips?

February 14, 2017

Review: Fair Game

Fair Game (Alpha & Omega, book 3) by Patricia Briggs

Fair Game  (Alpha & Omega #3)

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Edition Reviewed: Paperback
Amazon: Paperback | Kindle
Goodreads: Fair Game (3)

Patricia Briggs, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mercy Thompson novels, “always enchants her readers" (Lynn Viehl). Now her Alpha and Omega series—set in a world of shifting shapes, loyalties, and passions—brings werewolves out of the darkness and into a society where fear and prejudice could turn the hunters into the prey…

It is said that opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son—and enforcer—of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant Alpha. While Anna, an Omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.

When the FBI requests the pack’s help on a local serial-killer case, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston to join the investigation. It soon becomes clear that someone is targeting the preternatural. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer’s sights…


Review:

Hunting Ground was super awesome for me. Which made me nervous about Fair Game and I put reading it off for almost a whole year! The short story that introduced the would of Alpha & Omega was awesome. I was ready for the first official book! Cry Wolf and I didn't exactly get along. So I was nervous that Fair Game would fail me and I'd fall out of the series again. Phew, that didn't happen.

I will address something that annoys me though. Briggs tends to leave time gaps. Such as Mercy and Adam from the Mercy Thompson series have 10 years of history before the series starts, so I always felt like their romance was missing development. In the case of Fair Game it's been (at least) a year since the last book. In which Charles has had to take being Bran's executioner to the next level. The werewolves are now officially out of the closet and they need to be even more cautious. Things that they could have gotten away with before, or light reprimands, now are swiftly met with death. Charles is the one to do it, and it's weighing on his soul. Ghosts are literally haunting him.

So we enter Anna and Charles having romantic issues. Charles is trying to save her from the monster that he is and will become even more. He doesn't want her to see the bad and is basically over protecting her. The strength is that we get to see Anna and Charles thoughts on the matter. So it doesn't feel so cold. Because things could have gone bad for me.

Instead we get to see that killing is weighing on Charles. That despite what he believes he's not a soulless monster. Yet the world he lives in requires that, and to some degree he needs it. Most of the time the male leads that kill tend to be more “well I'm right and I have no regrets”. The paranormal and psychological affect on Charles make the series feel even realer. Especially as Charles is tied down by so much guilt he has lost his way in seeing what the truth really is.

Though it still annoyed me that by “saving” Anna he was hurting her. Hurting her in away that more than once it was clear that he was putting her in bigger danger. Even though they are married there is some real need from them to get to know one another and a lot of room to work for their marriage. Such as letting each other in, not blocking them out, and simple trust. Which is what made this entry great, because they're on the right path. It also feels more real.

I love that while the mystery of the serial killer seems small, it snowballs into a huge game changer for the world of Alpha & Omega. (Also, the Mercy Thompson books and I'm very curious to see how it will affect the next book in the series.) The old and new characters in Fair Game are awesome! Even if we never see them again, I hope that's not the case, I still loved them! It's great seeing other cities, other wolf packs, and so on. The world building is something I truly love and when you can see it through other characters it's wonderful. The changing POV is still a very strong point for the series and I loved it so much! Fair Game is an excellent entry and I loved it.

Content Warning: The serial killer rapes and does brutal things. It's talked about openly. I don't think there is actually anything more darker or violent then what is found normally in the series, or Mercy books, but maybe some readers might be a little more put off. The verse is dark dealing with death, murder, and monsters. Both the funny and the scary. Oh, and it's slightly more steamy in the bedroom scenes than the Mercy books.

 
5/5 - Forget obsession this book consumed me.


Previous book(s) in series:
Reviewed on BW: Amazon: Goodreads:

Alpha & Omega (0.5) Cry Wolf (1)
Hunting Ground (2)
Fair Game (3)
Dead Heat (4)
Burn Bright (5)

   

Alpha & Omega (0.5)
Cry Wolf (1)
Hunting Ground (2)
Fair Game (3)
Dead Heat (4)
Burn Bright(5)

Alpha & Omega (0.5)
Cry Wolf (1)
Hunting Ground (2)
Fair Game (3)
Dead Heat (4)
Burn Bright (5)