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Title: A Destiny of Dragons (Tales from Verania #2, Destiny Fuck Yeah! #1)
Author: T.J. Klune
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 400 pages
Date read: July, 2017

Once upon a time, the wizard's apprentice Sam of Wilds got his happily ever after in the arms of his cornerstone, Knight Commander Ryan Foxheart. A year has passed, and while Sam's been captured five or six more times since then, things are pretty great. His parents are happy, Gary and Tiggy still eat sass for breakfast, Randall is somehow alive despite being older than the gods, the King rules with a gentle hand, Kevin the dragon is as gross as ever, Morgan sighs a lot, Ryan continues to be dashing and immaculate, and Sam is close to convincing Prince Justin they will be best friends forever.

Life is good.

Until it's not.

Because Vadoma, the leader of the Gypsy clan and Sam's grandmother, has come to the City of Lockes with a dire prophecy written in the stars: a man of shadows is rising and will consume the world unless Sam faces his destiny and gathers the five dragons of Verania at his side.

And she brings along her second-in-command, a man named Ruv.

Ruv, who Vadoma says is Sam's true cornerstone.

Of course not as good as the first book in the series. But then, how could it be? The first was original and innovative - this was "merely" continuing a good trend.

Also not as self-contained as the first book, which came as a bit more of a surprise. While the first book could easily stand alone, this is very clearly the first in a separate trilogy. While that didn't bother me as much as it could have, it does mean I'm less likely to recommend this book high and wide, until I know that the sequels live up to it.

All that said, I still really, really, really liked this book! It had all the humour I'd expected, all the odd one-liners, all the genuine affection between all the members of "Team Sam". Even Ruv ended up growing on me, although I'm still withholding judgment on Vadoma. Oh, and I loved Zero! Where else would you find an emo teenage dragon who's a romantic at heart?! :-D
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Title: Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 431
Date read: June, 2017

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. But Calaena is far from loyal to the crown. Keeping up the charade - while pretending to do the king's bidding - will test her skills in an entirely new way. And it certainly isn't the only point of confusion for the young girl. Because though she's made her choice between Dorian and Chaol, the ways of the heart are never simple.

A lot darker than the first one, that's for sure. But in its own way, I think it was better written (fewer instances of "two months went by where this happened"). I had a very hard time putting it down, and turned straight to the third novel in the series.

I thought the relationships seemed more believable in this one - or more fleshed out at least. I'd seen the so-called 'twists' coming a mile off though.
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Title: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 432
Date read: May, 2017

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament - fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin's heart be melted?

After hearing my niece rave about this book, I knew I had to read it myself :-) And she didn't steer me wrong - it only took me a few chapters to get totally hooked. I loved reading about the training and the tests (although I do wish we'd gotten to see more of the tests "on page" rather than just being told about them afterwards), and though I do understand some readers' complaints that it is rather superficial, that wasn't something I noticed myself until afterwards, so obviously it didn't bother me.

I thought it nicely self-contained, but still liked it enough, that I'll probably continue with the sequels as well.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Love for the Cold-Blooded, or The Part-Time Evil Minion's Guide to Accidentally Dating a Superhero
Author: Alex Gabriel
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 300
Date read: February 2017

Superheroes. Evil minions. And one hell of a conflict of interest.

Being related to a supervillain isn't a big deal to Pat West. So what if his mom occasionally tries to take over the world? All Pat wants is to finish university and become an urban designer. That he moonlights as an evil minion sometimes - that's just family tradition.

Then Pat accidentally sleeps with superhero Silver Paladin, otherwise known as reclusive billionaire Nick Andersen. It's a simple misunderstanding. Pat never means to impersonate a prostitute, honest. But soon Pat is in way over his head, and threatening to fall for the worst possible guy.

When Pat's mother returns to bring the world to its knees, Silver Paladin races to stop her... and all of Pat's secrets threaten to blow up in his face. How can Pat reconcile being a minion with wanting a hero? Will Nick's feelings for Pat overcome what keeps them apart? Or will they both lose everything?

I'll be honest - I almost entirely picked up this book based on the delightfully absurdity of the sub-title. "The Part-Time Evil Minion's Guide to Accidentally Dating a Superhero"? What's not to like?! (as an aside - my DH asked me what I was reading, and I gave him the full title. He blinked a couple of times... "I'm not sure how to process that" ;-D )

Fortunately the story itself mostly lived up to my expectations. It toed the line a couple of times in becoming too much of a stereotypical "romance novel" for my taste, but thankfully never crossed the line completely... which meant that I'd occasionally put down the book for a bit in order to brace myself for the next part... and then pick it up again, only to discover the "next part" turned out to be much better handled than I'd feared and there was no cause for preemptive wincing ;)

And there was so much to like with this novel! I liked reading about Pat and Nick's growing relationship (and Pat's realization of why Nick called for him in the first place!), I liked Pat's family, and I loved the idea of super-villains (excuse me - Challengers!) having families and that any children would be required to do minion duty :-D

So all in all, a very enjoyable read with a plot suitably absurd to fit the title :-)

Besides, the ending was just CUTE! I wish I could have been a fly on the wall at the next West family dinner though!
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Dawn Study (Soulfinders #3)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 478
Date read: February, 2017

Despite the odds, Yelena and Valek have forged an irrevocable bond and a family that transcends borders. Now, when their two homelands stand on the brink of war, they must fight with magic and cunning to thwart an Ixian plot to invade Sitia.

Yelena seeks to break the hold of the insidious Theobroma that destroys a person's resistance to magical persuasion. But the Cartel is determined to keep influential citizens and Sitian diplomats in thrall and Yelena at bay. With every bounty hunter after her, Yelena is forced to make a dangerous deal.

With might and magic, Valek peels back the layers of betrayal surrounding the Commander. At its rotten core lies a powerful magician and his latest discovery. The fate of all rests upon two unlikely weapons. One may turn the tide. The other could spell the end of everything.

A nice wrap-up to the Sitia-Ixia chronicles. It had a few weaknesses here and there, and it's obvious that Maria V. Snyder is done with the universe, but I still enjoyed it very much, and liked getting everything wrapped up.

As always with books told from multiple points of view, there will be some that are more interesting than others. That was also the case here, and I definitely preferred the chapters told from Valek or Yelena's POV to any of the others. But fortunately, they were also the ones with the most chapters, so it all worked out ;-)

All in all, I really liked it. It didn't blow me away like some of the others did, but I found it a very satisfying end to the series.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Prince of the Moon
Author: Megan Derr
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 93
Date read: January, 2017

All Solae wants is to be accepted and loved by the family that has always rejected him. But given it was his late mother who cursed the kingdom to eternal winter, the chances of that happening are minimal. If he can find a way to break the curse, however, surely that would be enough to change their minds regarding him.

But Solae is forbidden to practice magic because of his mother, which limits his ability to pursue solutions. Desperate for advice and new ideas, he contacts a famous curse breaker—and has no idea what to do when the unexpectedly shows up, handsome and friendly and dangerously intriguing.

A fairly traditional fantasy that was made utterly charming by the very sweet two main characters. Granted, their 'insta-romance' was perhaps not entirely believable, but I found myself not minding, because of the very stereotypical "fairytale feel" of the entire novella - most of those have rather instant romances as well. That this was a M/M romance just changed the parameters around a bit.

Short and enjoyable. I liked both main characters, and appreciated how we got to hear the story from both sides. I would have liked a bit more resolution near the end, but accept that the comeuppance was never to come and that Solae's best revenge was to live well and be happy.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales from Verania #1)
Author: T.J. Klune
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5+/5
# pages: Audiobook ~17 hours
Date read: January, 2017

Once upon a time, in an alleyway in the slums of the City of Lockes, a young and somewhat lonely boy named Sam Haversford turns a group of teenage douchebags into stone completely by accident.

Of course, this catches the attention of a higher power, and Sam's pulled from the only world he knows to become an apprentice to the King's Wizard, Morgan of Shadows.

When Sam is fourteen, he enters the Dark Woods and returns with Gary, the hornless gay unicorn, and a half-giant named Tiggy, earning the moniker Sam of Wilds.

At fifteen, Sam learns what love truly is when a new knight arrives at the castle. Sir Ryan Foxheart, the dreamiest dream to have ever been dreamed.

Naturally, it all goes to hell through the years when Ryan dates the reprehensible Prince Justin, Sam can't control his magic, a sexually aggressive dragon kidnaps the prince, and the King sends them on an epic quest to save Ryan's boyfriend, all while Sam falls more in love with someone he can never have.

Oh boy, where to start!

I have two simultaneous thoughts I want to get out through this review.
1) This book was HILARIOUS and I loved every minute of it. Can't remember when a book has last made me laugh this much and this often. Not to mention that it was just SWEET! ... at times... in places...
2) This book should come with a shit-load of warnings for language and content and is NOT for everybody!

(And for once I'm not going to apologize for my language, because I'd rather scare you off now, than after buying the book. Just trust me on that one. Consider it a VERY mild example).

Meet Sam of Wild - a 20-year-old wizard's apprentice, who has an incredible talent for getting captured by Dark wizards... but fortunately they just. can't. stop. monologueing!
Gary - a hornless gay unicorn who snorts coloured sparks and poops rainbows and cupcake-smells.
Tiggy - a half-giant who'll smash all of Gary and Sam's enemies if they let him.
Kevin - a sexually aggressive dragon.
'Mother' - Sam's fairy drag-mother.
Dmitri - the 6" tall gay fairy with a size-kink whom Sam almost got gay fairy married to that one time...
And of course - Knight Ryan Deliciousface... oops, sorry, I mean Ryan Foxface, who's the object of Sam's abject devotion, but unfortunately betrothed to Prince Justin.

Add all this together, and you get the FUNNIEST book it's been my pleasure to read in a very, very long time (I laughed out loud more times than I can count), while at the same time being incredibly rich in sexual jokes and very crude language. So if (explicit) M&M romance and (even more explicit) sexual banter is a dealbreaker for you - this is your warning.

The plot itself was well executed and pretty traditional for a fantasy novel - prince gets captured by dragon, knight and wizard must go free prince and return home in time for a royal wedding - yada-yada-yada. The novel's strength comes in the dialogue between the characters, and the obvious affection between Sam and his friends (including Ryan), his family, and even his wizard mentor and his King. Sam has the weirdest life ever, but it never seems forced, and much like Douglas Adams, T.J. Klune manages to make the jokes and mad escapades seem effortless and natural. The writing was excellent and appropriately witty all the way through.

The ending was perhaps a tiiiiiiny bit more explicit than I would have liked (although that may mostly have been because of the awkwardness of listening to it, rather than reading it myself), but for most of the book the sexual content is mostly talk, very little action. So download a sample off amazon, and if the language in the first few paragraphs doesn't scare you off - go for it. You won't regret it.

I "read" this as an audiobook, and absolutely adored the narrator, Michael Lesley. I've never listened to any of his performances before, but did an incredible job.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Kiss and Spell (Enchanted Inc #7)
Author: Shanna Swendson
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 284
Date read: December 2016

When a freak accident leaves Katie Chandler with magical powers, it seems like a wish come true for the former magical immune. But it also means she's vulnerable to magic, just when the dangerous Elf Lord is cooking up another scheme in his bid for power. Anyone who gets in his way disappears--including Katie and her wizard boyfriend, Owen Palmer.

Now Katie's under a spell that obscures her true identity, living a life right out of a romantic comedy movie in a Hollywood set version of New York. Will she be able to find her true Mr. Right in time to break the spell with a kiss and warn everyone, or will she be trapped forever, unaware of the doom facing her world?

So far the last book in the series (although book 8 is due out December 2016), and with a very nice ending indeed :) The book itself was rather slow-moving however, so I think it's probably just as well Shanna Swendson ended the series here. I just couldn't get as interested in the plot as I would have liked.

I did enjoy the chapters just after Kate woke up in 'not New York' though (and loved how that was handled - for a minute there, I wondered if I'd opened up a wrong book on my Kindle!), and reading about how she slowly caught on to the fact that something odd was happening. I also really liked Florence :-) We saw far too little of her once Kate and Owen started plotting again.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Dragon Kin: Sapphire & Lotus
Author: Audrey Faye & Shae Geary
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 247
Date read: December, 2016

The ancient prophecy speaks of the five, those who will come to save all of dragonkind. Like most prophecies, it leaves out a lot of the important details...

The very ordinary elf girl who runs for the hills—and gets lost in a forest instead. The dragon egg, precariously perched high in a tree on a dark winter's night.

And what happens when egg meets girl.

Utterly delightful book! Far too short though, as I found myself thinking about it for ages after finishing it, and wishing there was more to the story. Fortunately it's the first book in a series, so I have the rest to look forward to.

I can't quite explain the charm... the plot is very quickly described - the elf, Sapphire, bonds with the dragon, Lotus, and has to teach it how to behave... and most specifically, how to fly! - but the book showcases Audrey Faye's skill with the pen (a skill, it would seem, that her daughter has inherited), and I grew to love all the characters and wanted to know more about them. I smiled my way through it, and immediately sent it off to others for them to read.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Night Study (Soulfinders, #2)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 400
Date read: September, 2016

Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana's has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. As she desperately searches for a way to reclaim her magic, her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia are safe for her anymore. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a war threatens everything Yelena holds dear.

Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he's quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he's been keeping secrets from Valek...secrets that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. As they uncover the various layers of the Commander's mysterious plans, they realize it's far more sinister that they could have ever imagined.

Still not a huge fan of the changing POVs in this series, but I'm getting more used to it, and for once all storylines were equally interesting, which also helped quite a bit.

Lots of surprises in this one, and I'm especially interested in seeing how the relationship between the Commander and Valek will continue in the third book... and of course see if my theory about Yelena's magic loss is correct.

All in all, I'm really enjoying this series. Still can't live up to "Poison Study" itself, but nor could any of the other books in the original trilogy, so I'm not holding that against in. I'm looking forward to the third book coming out next year.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Shadow Study (Soulfinder #1)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 410
Date read: September, 2016

When Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. She survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia.

Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands - and protect her relationship with Valek.
Suddenly, though, dissent is rising. And Valek's job - and his life - are in danger.
As Yelena tries to uncover her enemies, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. And now she must find a way to keep not only herself but all that she holds dear alive.

PSA: You'll want to read "Ice Study" before reading this one, as it refers quite heavily to the events of that short story. "Ice Study" is available for free at Maria V. Snyder's webpage.

Plot-wise, I enjoyed this book just as much as the books in the "Study" or "Glass" trilogies. Writing-wise Maria V. Snyder has taken to writing the story from several different POVs instead of sticking to just one. I can understand her reasons - it's easier to show the events of several places at once, if you don't have to stick to just one POV - but as usual it turns out that not all storylines are equally interesting, so some chapters just feel like 'fillers' until we get to the next person.

I did really enjoy it though! And have my guesses as to what's blocking Yelena's magic. It'll be interesting to see if I'm right.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: No Quest for the Wicked (Enchanted Inc. #6)
Author: Shanna Swendson
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 278 pages
Date read: August, 2016

Now that the Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc. team has defeated the nefarious Spellworks, the only "competition" in town, Katie Chandler doesn't have much to do as director of marketing, and she's starting to question her role at MSI. Her boyfriend Owen Palmer, on the other hand, is in hog heaven, translating an ancient and powerful magical manuscript.

But then he finds that the cryptic text describing the location of an enchanted gem known as the Eye of the Moon has radically changed. This deadly stone gives its holder enhanced power over others and a craving for more power. It once caused a terrible war before it was safely hidden and then lost - and now it seems to be in New York and set in an elven brooch that renders its wearer invulnerable. Whoever has this brooch could take over the world.

Katie and Owen must find it before anyone else does, and they're not the only ones searching. They'll need all the help they can get, including Katie's visiting grandmother. But who can they trust when their allies fall under its spell? Not to mention the new enemies who are deadlier than anything they've faced before.

After a bit of a break I've returned to this series, as they really do make for perfect plane reading. I still love reading about Katie, Owen and all their friends (Katie's grandmother especially - she's delightful!), but must admit that the plot itself in this one didn't really do it for me. It was one long hunt that seemed like it could have been planned better and executed more efficiently. I did enjoy the return of Katie's evil ex-boss though. She's so delightfully despicable (something I can only enjoy as I know she won't get away with it).

I still enjoyed reading it, as Shanna Swendson really has a way with words, but it was more to get to spend more time with the characters, than because I was all that interested in what was going on. A bit strange to read a book in spite of the plot instead of because of it, but it kept my attention nicely on an insomniac red-eye flight.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 352 pages
Date read: August, 2016

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

I'd tried reading this awhile back, but got stuck only a few chapters in. Seeing the recent trailers for the movie made me want to try again, and this time I made it through.

It's a decent enough book that unfortunately just couldn't live up to my expectations thanks to all the hype surrounding it. I was fairly well entertained, but never really got to care about any of the characters (with the possible exception of Jacob) and certainly didn't agree with Jacob's final decision. His reasoning just didn't seem convincing enough to me. For both of these reasons I won't be continuing with the other books in the series, although I might still be keen to go see the movie.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: Fantasy, play
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 320
Date read: August, 2016

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn't much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

A lot better than I had expected, and miles better than the leaked synopsis made it sound. I wavered between 3 and 4 stars for awhile, but it made me cry on several occasions, so that bumps it up to 4.

I won't deny that it reads a lot like fanfic, but I think that may partly because the media is so different. There were plotholes here and there and some parts seemed to be glossed over, but like everybody had told me, part 2 was heaps better than part 1 and turned the reading experience from a mediocre one, to a really enjoyable one.

I think I'll probably need this for my physical library after all. It'll never live up to the original series, but it doesn't embarrass itself either.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3)
Author: Deborah Harkness
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 576
Date read: July, 2016

A world of witches, daemons and vampires. A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. Diana and Matthew - the forbidden love at the heart of it. After travelling through time in SHADOW OF NIGHT, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew's ancestral home in France they reunite with their families - with one heart-breaking exception. But the real threat to their future is yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on a terrifying urgency. Using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the palaces of Venice and beyond, Diana and Matthew will finally learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

Why did it take me this long to get started on this book? Once I did, I couldn't put it down, and finished it in just a few days.

Every bit as good as the first two books in the series, "The Book of Life" tied up all loose ends very nicely and served as a very satisfying ending to the trilogy. I'm actually kind of sad we won't get to hear more about Matthew and Diana, and feel positively book-hungover right now.

This trilogy is the kind of epic storytelling I love the most. It's "Outlander" with witches and vampires; just as rich in details and with just as large a supporting cast ;) It's difficult to say much about the plot without giving away spoilers for the two first books, but I think what I enjoyed the most was seeing Matthew and Diana's relationship with their families (both of blood and of loyalty) and watch Diana grow in powers and confidence as a witch. I'd love to have been a fly on the wall when Diana and Janet sat to talk magic after the end of the book ;)

It's been a few years since I read the two first books, so I almost want to go back and reread the entire series now, as I'm sure I lost details here and there, but for my own sake, that should probably wait until I go on vacation.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Alchemaster's Apprentice
Author: Walter Moers
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 384
Date read: July, 2016

Malaisea, the unhealthiest town in the whole of Zamonia, is home to Echo the Crat, a multitalented creature resembling a cat in appearance but capable of speaking any language under the sun, human or animal. When his mistress dies, Echo finds himself out on the street. Dying of starvation, he is compelled to sign a contract with Ghoolion the Alchemaster, Malaisea's evil alchemist-in-chief. This fateful document gives Ghoolion the right to kill Echo at the next full moon and render him down for his fat, with which he hopes to brew an alchemical concoction that will make him immortal. In return, he promises to regale the little Crat with the most exquisite gastronomic delicacies until his time is up.

But Ghoolion has reckoned without Echo's talent for survival and his ability to make new friends. These include the Leathermice, the Cogitating Eggs, the Golden Squirrel, the Cooked Ghost, Theodore T. Theodore the one-eyed Tuwituwu, and, above all, Izanuela Anazazi, the last Uggly in Malaisea.

Unfortunately the weakest of Walter Moers' books so far. I still liked it, and the writing style totally lived up to my expectations, but unfortunately the plot itself didn't, as it was too 'small' a plot to allow for a ~400p book, which resulted in a book that was rather drawn out in places.

Had it been cut down to 200-250 pages I'd probably have loved it.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Seeds of Discovery
Author: Breeana Puttroff
Genre: YA, fantasy
Rating: 4/5
# pages: Audiobook ~7hrs
Date read: May, 2016

Quinn Robbins' life was everything she thought a teenager's should be. She has good friends, a family that she loves, good grades, and an after-school job she enjoys. And, she's just been asked out by Zander Cunningham, a popular football player and great guy. But one day when driving home after picking up her little sister from the baby-sitter's, she nearly hits a boy who, after running blindly into the street, mysteriously disappears.

The mystery only deepens as she figures out who the boy is; William Rose, a reclusive, awkward boy from school who always has his nose in a pile of books.

As she becomes more aware of his behavior it becomes more obvious how out of the ordinary William is and how hard he deliberately tries to blend into the background. This only intrigues her more and she finds herself working to find out more about him, and exactly where he keeps disappearing to.

On a whim one night she follows him and suddenly finds herself in a new world. One where William is a prince, literally, and she is treated like a princess. She also discovers that she is stuck; the gate back to her own world isn't always open.

Quinn finds herself smack in the middle of a modern-day fairy tale, on a course that will change her life forever.

A bit slow to start, but that may have been because I 'read' it as an audiobook rather than a physical book. Once it did take off I really enjoyed it. It's a different take on the normal YA fantasy, and I liked the mix.

I loved seeing Quinn's growing friendship with William and Thomas, and was pleased that at least in this book, no romantic tangles were included.

A charming book, and with enough of a plot of its own to not just feel like a "setting the scene" novel. It didn't make me feel like I have to rush out and read the next one immediately (mostly because I'm afraid Quinn will get into some annoying situations due to her secret - there were signs of this already in this book), but I may eventually. It was sweet.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Spun by Sorcery (Sugar Maple #3)
Author: Barbara Bretton
Genre: Fantasy, Crafts
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 324
Date read: May, 2016

Chloe is always losing things-but an entire town? Just when she was about to settle down in Sugar Maple with her soul-mate Luke MacKenzie, her Fae enemy Isadora strikes, and her new hometown is gone. Even the Book of Spells, her lifeline to magick, can't help her now. Just in the nick of time, her friend Janice roars up in Chloe's ancient Buick with Penny the cat and her yarn stash in tow. If she is going to save her home she has to go back to Salem, where family secrets and centuries- old feuds pull her into the fight of her life.

Definitely the weakest of the lot, unfortunately. I liked the general plot well enough, but a lot of the details made me want to roll my eyes - which is annoying enough when it's obviously the intention, but even worse when it's involuntary.

I still like Chloe and Luke, and would like to know what happens to them next, but as the books have been slowly declining in quality, I may just pretend it's a trilogy (as the ending was relatively free from loose threads) and end my visit to Sugar Maple here.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Sword of Deaths (The Scythe Wielder's Secret #2)
Author: Christopher Mannino
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 263
Date read: April 2016

Susan Sarnio made a choice, and will spend the rest of her life as the only female Death. Last year she was bullied and ostracized. Now, to her complete bewilderment, four Deaths vie for her affection. Yet, something is terribly wrong at the College of Deaths. When a ship carrying scythe metal is attacked, many blame the newly-freed Elementals, but Susan knows the Elementals are innocent.

Shadows from the distant past come to light. Dragons circle the horizon, blood spills, and nothing is what it seems. Susan and her friends struggle to stop a war. They search for the fabled First Scythe, hoping to sway the balance, but who is the true enemy?

While the first book in the series was pure genius, this sequel unfortunately couldn't deliver at all. The writing wasn't nearly as tight and often confusing, with lots of needless repetitions (yes, everybody's hot for Susan - we get it already!), and a plot that didn't really take off until about 20 pages before the end, so we're left with a cliffhanger, and resolutions that won't happen until the next book. I was especially frustrated by the lack of follow-up on what happened to Tom. That was such a brilliant idea, but other than a brief comment from Frank, the reader was just left hanging. Hopefully this will be brought up again in the next book.

The first book was obviously the first in a series, but still nicely contained, leaving the reader eager to read the next book, but not terribly frustrated by a ton of loose threads left hanging. A shame Mannino couldn't repeat that excellent bit of writing for the second book.

I still want to read the last book, in the hopes that Mannino will redeem himself. But I'm no longer as excited about it, as I was before reading this one.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning #1)
Author: John Stephens
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 429
Date read: April, 2016

They were taken from their beds one frozen night, when the world was covered in snow. The silhouette of a tall, thin man has haunted Kate ever since.

Ten years on, Kate, Michael and Emma have grown up in a string of miserable orphanages, and all memories of their parents have faded to a blur. Arriving at Cambridge Falls, the children quickly realise there is something different about this place - and Kate feels sure she has seen the dark, crooked house before.

As they explore, they discover an old, empty leather book. The moment they touch it, an ancient magical prophecy is set irrevocably in motion, and the children are thrown into a dangerous alternate reality of dark enchantments and terrifying monsters. Only they can prevent the terrible event that will ruin Cambridge Falls - and stop the world from falling into complete devastation

Really weird reading experience. I liked the book well enough while actually reading it, but when I put it down, days could go by before I felt like picking it up again. I guess I just never got to care properly about the children.

Decent enough fantasy, however, so when I finally got stubborn and sat down to finish it, I rather enjoyed it - especially once the kids started to get into the thick of things. But all in all, it required too much effort to get through, and even with the obvious lead into the next book, I just don't care enough to continue.


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