Book Review: The Banished Craft by E.D.E. Bell

The book that….had great ideas but didn’t deliver on them.

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Synopsis: The Banished Craft is a genre-bending fantasy saga that follows the adventures of Cor, a woman caught in a dying world that does not accept her, and Atesh, a dragon scientist who’s been asked to violate his own ethics or put the lives of his family at risk. Follow their trials as they deal with a shattered world, mired in political upheaval, while they try to rediscover a lost magic. The Banished Craft begins the Shkode trilogy: a quirky and modern take on dragons and wizards, exploring themes of identity, prejudice, violence, compassion, and the ways we are all connected.

This book had a slow start as it had a lot to set up, however, as slow as it was, after I finished the first chapter, I was eager to find out what was going on. However, a viewpoint switch took me to a completely new world that held no excitement for me. And then we went back to the other world but with a new character focus that I didn’t care about either.

As I said before, this book had two different settings. One with humans, and another with dragons. Think Brian Jacques’ Redwall series but with Dragons. Cor is a human woman who completely enchanted me from the very beginning. She is about 30 and unmarried with no children. I loved reading her perspective because of that. She was a woman sneaking into this amazing library and trying to borrow a book that will tell her about her past. So good. The dragon viewpoint had a much more political and military focus that just paled into comparison with the coziness of Cor’s perspective.

The worldbuilding in this book was almost there because the prologue set up the premise of these two split worlds well and then we jump into those worlds. However, once we were in each world, there was no worldbuilding for pages and pages and then there would be a dump of information. I ended up having a vague and unsatisfactory understanding of what these two worlds were like and how they functioned.

Overall this book was a bit all over the place. 1/3 of the way through I found myself floundering in half-explained worlds and deep backstories of characters I didn’t particularly care about. Had this book focused its lens more on Cor and her story and one portion of the dragon world, I would have loved it. Unfortunately, it did not hold my interest and I had to dnf it.

I still think if it sounds interesting to you, you may want to give it a try. You never know if it might resonate with you more than it did with me.

I got this as a ebook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Happy reading!

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Wicked Wonders by Ellen Klages and It’s All a Game 2 Mini Book Reviews

The book that….is full of girl power.

This short story collection was one I had been looking forward to and I was so pleased when I got a free copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

These are all small glimpses into the lives of girls with a sprinkling of sci-fi or fantasy tossed into them. I loved how atmospheric they were and how they weren’t meant to tell a full life’s story. Instead, we get dropped into their lives and just as quickly get tossed back out and get to imagine how the story ends. Honestly, I really could’t find fault with this collection. Ellen Klages writes stories that I find myself wishing I had come up with. She has a wild imagination and was able to pull me along with her.

Overall, I loved the way that they would draw me in and at the end leave me thinking about them long after I had moved on to another book. My favorite story was Singing on a Star. I loved the Alice in Wonderland feel of it and the creepy vibe that left me with goosebumps at the end.

It’s All a Game by Tristan Donovan

The book that…taught me all about my favorite games.

This book was a very enjoyable non-fiction read for me. I love reading about nerdy things and board games is something that I have been getting more and more into this year. The writing was a bit dry at times and sometime filled with fact after fact but I did enjoy reading about some of my favorite games. I particularly loved the section on chess and how it was adopted across cultures and changed to what we know now.

This book is probably not one you would sit down and read all at once. It was one that I loved dipping in and out of throughout the month and it could be read just skipping around to chapters you were most interested in. The one downfall that I saw was that the chapters were long. I think that having shorter chapters and really cutting the stories down a bit would have helped with the paving of the novel. Unless I was a big fan of the game, I didn’t care as much for the depth of detail the author went into.

I think that this is a great book to give a game lover in your life or someone who just loves learning about little glimpses of history in fun and palatable chapters.

Both of these books were given to me through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Sealskin by Su Bristow Review

The book that…used a frustrating plot device.

Synopsis:
Donald is a young fisherman, eking out a lonely living on the west coast of Scotland. One night he witnesses something miraculous, and makes a terrible mistake. His action changes lives—not only his own, but those of his family and the entire tightly knit community in which they live. Can he ever atone for the wrong he has done, and can love grow when its foundation is violence? Based on the legend of the selkies—seals who can transform into people—evokes the harsh beauty of the landscape, the resilience of its people, both human and animal, and the triumph of hope over fear and prejudice. With exquisite grace, Su Bristow transports us to a different world, subtly and beautifully exploring what it means to be an outsider, and our innate capacity for forgiveness and acceptance. Rich with myth and magic, Sealskin is, nonetheless, a very human story, as relevant to our world as to the timeless place in which it is set.

I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads.

This book reads very quickly and I found myself flying through it to see what was going to happen next. Su’s writing did nothing to slow down the story but neither was it the greatest writing. I think it did the job of telling the story well and keeping me moving through the story.

As far as the characters go. I wish that we could have heard from Mhairi in the story. I think the story felt a bit lacking at times with her being such an important character but us not being able to hear from her ever. Donald, our main character, was a okay main character but a tad boring. He could have been fleshed out more in my opinion since the story focused so much on him and not on other more interesting characters. His character development was fairly jumpy with him making too much change all at once instead of letting us see him change gradually.

I thought that the rape scene at the beginning would have been an okay beginning to the story if it had been addressed more. As it is in the book right now, it felt like it could have been completely cut out. I have a big problem when authors use rape as a plot device and never address the issues of rape culture and the actual consequences of rape. It seems as if Donald’s actions at the beginning are thought of as okay because she is a mythical creature and not fully human. And even later in the book it hints that because Donald was nice to Mairhi later on, that makes up for raping her which is simply not true and a dangerous sentiment to say. This only perpetuates the idea and mindset that men can take what they want, when they want from women and everything will turn out fine anyway. As a woman, this made the entire book frustrating and concerning to read. I may have been able to give in a higher rating if that had not been in the book.

As long as Su stays away from this in her next novel, I am excited to see what will come next from her.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Series Review: The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. LeGuin

The series that….had many ups and downs.

Synopsis:

Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, was called Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth.

Hungry for power and knowledge, Sparrowhawk tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death’s threshold to restore the balance.

I read this trilogy a couple of months back and thought that it was worth a review. This was a series I had never heard of before but I picked up the first book at a thrift store because it seemed interesting. A year or two later and I found the third book and decided to jump in. I had a lot of thoughts about each of the books in the series but just mentioned the highlights down below.
The Wizard of Earthsea
I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads.
This first book was pretty slow moving for the majority of the book. However, this world building and character building really helped me get sucked into the world for the next books. The ending of this book was very fast-paced and intense and I flew through the final third of it. Even with the slow build, I ended up giving it 5 stars because the introduction to the world combined with the fantastic ending really sold me.
The Tombs of Atuan
I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads.
This book was by far my favorite of all three. It is the shortest in the trilogy and probably the most exciting and intriguing. I loved how it started completely away from everything we read about in the first book and I had no idea how it would connect until much later. It creates a brand new setting in an already familiar world which was awesome. From start to finish, I did not want to put this one down.
The Farthest Shore
I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads.
I liked this one but there was some thing missing in it. I found myself often confused during this book and just wasn’t that into the story. The ending was pretty good though and I did in fact have to wipe away a tear or two at the ending. While, it was definitely my least favorite book in the series, I did think it brought the trilogy to a good end so I think everyone should at least give it a try.

Overall, if you are a fan of fantasy and don’t mind some slower paced parts, I would recommend this series to you. It has everything a good fantasy series needs along with some really amazing characters. And it is considered a great and classic fantasy series. There is another book that was added to this trilogy which I may or may not pick up someday, as well.

Have any of you ever read this trilogy? Let me know what you thought of it down below. Also, let me know what some of your favorite fantasy series or books are. I am always looking for a new fantasy world to get swept up in.

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Happy Reading!

You can buy this trilogy here and I will receive a small commission.

Book Review: Cannonbridge by Jonathan Barnes

The book that…perplexed me.

I was sent a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley. I ended up giving it 3 stars on Goodreads. This book will be released on February 10, 2015.

The beginning of this book was a bit confusing yet extremely intriguing. About 30 pages in, I was very invested in it and although I wasn’t quite sure if I understood everything that was happening, I was enjoying the story. As I read, though, this excitement flagged quite a bit. There was a lag in the story around the middle of the book that lasted for a while because I felt like I did not know what the characters were doing and where they were going. By the end of the book, I was extremely confused. I don’t want to ruin the ending for anyone so I won’t say any more but it was a little flat for me.

This book takes place in two different time periods, modern day and late 1900sI thought that the author did a great job of tailoring the writing style to the time period. When I was reading the parts of the book that took place in the past, It felt like I was reading something that was written in the past which enhanced my reading experience.

I love the references in this book to famous authors such as Mary Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe, and the Bronte sisters. I just thought that this added a really fun element to the book. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. However, there was something in the way it was written or in the way plot unfolded that kept me from being completely sucked into the story. I felt like the author didn’t really flesh out the ending of the book and it left me more confused than anything.

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Series in Progress

Hello, everyone!

A while ago, I did a post called Top 10 Series I Want to Start and I thought that I could share with you the series that I am in the middle of and would like to continue on in.

1. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

I am in the middle of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets right now and will be finishing it very soon. This is the first time I have ever read the Harry Potter series and I am having a lot of fun so far. I hope to continue to read the series throughout the rest of the summer.

2.  The Bright Empires Series by Stephen Lawhead

I read the first book in this series called The Skin Map a while ago and absolutely loved it. I am really looking forward to see what will happen in the next books.  The second one is the one pictured above called The Bone House. This is a crazy sci-fi time-travel sort of series so if that sounds like something you would like, I recommend you go check this series out.

3. The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon

I am also really looking forward to reading the next book in this very epic series. I recently finished the 7th book called An Echo in the Bone and am looking forward to reading the 8th one shown above. I ordered it from my library the second I finished the 7th one. There is suppose to be one more book coming out to complete the series but it is not known when the book will come out since it takes an author a long time to write such long books. I am literally obsessed with this series. It is an epic historical fiction series with hints of magic and time travel and it has captivated me from the very beginning.

4. The Aurelia Thread series by Jeffrey Overstreet

This is a Christian fantasy series that I began a year or two ago. I read the first two books but have yet to pick up the final two. This is a really crazy series with lots of intertwining plots and crazy monsters and other creatures. I have been meaning to finish this series for a while and I hope to read the 3rd book Raven’s Ladder sometime in the near future.

These are not all the series I am in the middle of but just a few of the ones I want to continue sometime this year.

Do you have any series that you want to get back into or to finish sometime soon? Let me know down in the comments.

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Happy Reading!

Top 10 Series I Want to Start

I thought that today would be a good day to talk about some series I want to begin sometime in the near future. These are not in any particular order and I cannot guarantee that I will actually get to them anytime soon. However, I have been wanting a good series to read this summer and one of these might tickle my fancy.

1. The Mistborn Trilogy

2. The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss

3. The King Raven Trilogy by Stephen R. Lawhead

4. The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare

5. The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth

6. The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King

7. The Circle Series by Ted Dekker

8. Maze Runner by James Dashner

9. The Selection by Kiera Cass

10. Marta’s Legacy by Francine Rivers

 

Have you read any of these series? Please let me know. I would love to hear which ones you think I should read and when. Are you thinking of starting any series this summer? Let me know down below.

Thanks for stopping by!

Happy Reading!