**Notice** Due to transfering back from a godaddy hosted wordpress blog back to blogger, reviews published before june 2017 don`t all have a pretty layout with book cover and infos. Our apologies.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Rosemary and Rue: An October Daye Novel, Book 1 by Seanan McGuire

Would you like to swing on a star? Carry moon beams home in a jar or would you rather be a......well, I wouldn't finish that question around Ms. October Daye.  It would be just plain rude considering what happens to her at the hands of a pure blood of the Fae.  As bad as that was, she has an even greater concerns in the here and now from some of those same Fae creatures.

Rosemary and Rue is cornucopia of mythological creatures and their quirks all found in and around San Francisco.  We are taken on a tour of the darker parts of the city and meet some of its denizens that are often much more than they appear to be in the light of day (or often even the dark of night.

We get to meet October (Toby) and some of her friends in this the first book of the series.  The problem I had was, we met so many more of her acquaintances and creatures she was familiar with.   It may be that I am so accustom to series like Harry Potter, Dresden Files or Jane Yellowrock where introductions are made on a more limited basis.  It gives me a chance to absorb the new paradigm the author is presenting in the world they are creating.  I am more than willing to believe it's just me and one of my more narrow ways but, if you are trying this series out for the first time, be prepared to meet what feels like the whole family.

 

Robert

Monday, September 26, 2016

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

I think Stealing Snow was supposed to be a novel about self-discovery and creating your own destiny, and while I liked the idea of the main character Snow finding her true self, I was very disappointed with the novel. Snow was a misunderstood teen living in a psychiatric institute but had no real business being there. Most characters, while eccentric, were one-dimensional. And the world building lacked so many elements that it made the story hard to follow.

I'm not very familiar with the Snow Queen fairy tale so I can't even begin to compare it to the original story. Fairy tale retellings are so common these days that I can't help but wonder if these authors are checking off a list until every story has been reimagined. I loved Danielle Paige's Dorothy Must Die series, her version of what happens after The Wizard of Oz. However, I'm not a big fan of this new release. It doesn't have the same finesse as her previous books. I had great hopes for this new series but I was left very disappointed.

Snow has lived most of her life in a psychiatric institute but in my opinion, I don't think she ever belonged there. As a child she tried to walk through a mirror, injuring herself and another girl whom she tried to pull through the mirror with her. Honestly, that singular event shouldn't have institutionalized her. A child's imagination is a special thing and it could have simply been Snow playing pretend and hurting a friend and herself in the process. These days, I think we are too quick to diagnose children with behavioural problems and drugging them senselessly. Obviously, leaving the institute is the best thing that happened to Snow and without the medication, she's the same sarcastic person. However, you have to wonder, as soon as she stops taking her medication she gets pulled into the magical world of Algid.

She runs away from the institute in search for Bale, the only person she ever felt a connection to. She saw him disappear through a mirror and she feels responsible for what happened to him, especially since their first kiss rendered him numb and uncommunicative. Honestly, I don't see Bale's appeal. Snow's one and only goal in the novel is to save Bale yet we know very little about him except that he's a pyromaniac. We end up knowing more about Jagger and Kai, two boys she meets in Algid, and honestly I don't blame Snow for feeling attraction to both boys. She had very little contact with boys her own age in the institution and now she meets these fantastical, however one-dimensional characters, and she can't help but feel some attraction.

Jagger is the reason she's in Algid, the reason she found her way through the tree portal into her native and magical world. Through many different teacher, Snow slowly begins to learn how to control her magic, her snow. She also learns that she's a long lost princess (gasp!) yet no one she meets seem very forthcoming with information. So many things happen, one after the other, and that's where the author really lost me. She tried to introduce us to her magical world yet with very little description it was very hard to follow. The lack of world building and the constant shift in scenes, without description and without transition really spoiled the book.

Danielle Paige will have to come up with something special for the sequel in order to redeem herself and her new series. You would think a story full of secrets, magical fury, robbers, witches and royalty would be captivating yet Stealing Snow really wasn't for me. I had a difficult time getting through the book because of the confusing writing style and the strange pace of the book. I liked the premise of the story but the execution is what failed in my opinion. I doubt I'll continue reading this series since its first impression wasn't a great one. I would encourage anyone to form their own opinion about the novel, but personally, I have very little hope in Snow and her entourage. However, many renowned writers had positive things to say about the novel so my opinion may be the aberrant one.

Steph

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Stacking The Shelves [226]

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


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 Happy fall everyone! My favourite season is here, and not only because of the pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin soup, pumpkin cookies (ok, basically pumpkin everything), the colourful leaves and the cool crisp weather. To me, fall also means great new book releases. This week, I purchased a couple of these new releases and already diving into one of them.


Purchased


Dark Matter by Blake Crouch


Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black


fall


The following photos were taken last October and I think they explain why I love fall so much. Here in Northern Ontario, we're blessed with so much nature and wonderful colours. Onaping Falls is about 20 minutes away from my house, and while I don't visit often, I always try to walk the trails once every fall.


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What do you love about fall? But most importantly, what will you be reading this fall? Did you add anything interesting to your shelves this week?


Leave a comment below or use the linky to connect with other readers and bloggers!


Steph


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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal

For a while now I have been a fan and regular listener of the Writing Excuses podcast which features, among others, Mary Robinette Kowa.  So, when I saw that she had a new book out recently, it was like an old friend saying "Hey, check out what I just finished' and I had to read it.  No, are not really friends but, I've heard so much of her podcasts and read her work that I feel like I should know her.  Ghost Takers is a period piece set in France during the First World War.  The premise centers around the militaries using paranormally gifted people to help with the war effort.

The setting is one of my favorites.  It is a time that is a  bit simpler yet is rich with historical value.  This book does an excellent job of portraying the period without making enough errors to bring the reader out of the story.   The author avoids the all too often, mistake of bringing modern sensibilities into a period piece.  It may feel like it is easier on the reader but, it takes me out of a story when that is done.

This book also steers clear of the  overly competent main character.  Our main character here is a young woman who not only fits the bill for this special unit, she seems like she belongs in this time and place.  There is the right amount of period correctness mixed with a nice bit of progressiveness to make the character both credible and interesting.  After all, this was a time of great change.

Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal is an adventure set in a period we see too little of.  There is a great deal of violence as well as a bit of mature discussion which lands this book a mild PG13 rating from me.

Robert

Monday, September 19, 2016

Spells and Scones by Bailey Cates

Bailey Cates has done it again. It seems like she has found the right recipe for the perfect magical cozy mystery and keeps switching up the ingredients to entertain us with a new story with each new release. In Spells and Scones, not only do we unravel a new murder mystery, but we also have the chance to delve deeper into the relationships between characters.

Katie Lightfoot is a witch. She has only known for the last couple of years yet she has grown into her power relatively fast. She's a hedgewitch, sourcing her powers from plants and their magical properties. As a baker, it comes to her naturally, and as part owner of the Honeybee Bakery, she practices her craft daily by mixing positive ingredients and sending positive thoughts into her food. She also happens to be a lightwitch, meaning she's attracted to situations that need help finding a resolution.

Katie often finds herself near murder scenes and it's definitely true in this book. Only this time, it seems like there's very little magic involved in the crime. A Dr. Dana, a self-help guru and famous radio personality is found dead in the bookstore next to Katie's bakery. Katie feels compelled to help solve the mystery, especially when she learns the main murder suspect is an ex-witch, who just happens to be the previous owner of her familiar, Mungo. Her little terrier seems convinced that Angie is not guilty and for Katie, that's enough to convince her to help the ex-witch.

With the amount of murder scenes she "attracts", you would think Katie could start a side business as a private investigator. However, her true passion is her bakery so I highly doubt she would ever be comfortable leaving her business for a new one. She is good at investigating, using her magical powers only when necessary and only using her skills for good. However, even though it seems like she has everything figured out in her business life, it's her personal life she has a hard time dealing with. Her wonderful boyfriend Declan seems to want more (wants to move in more) but Katie is hesitant because of a past relationship that failed miserably. On top of everything, Steve Dawes professes his love for Katie and will stop at nothing to prove to Katie that he has turned his life around for her. That would put a damper on anyone's one year anniversary!

I love this series because it's light and easy to read compared to some of the other darker books I tend to read. The small town feeling, the sense of community and the wonderful food keeps me coming back for more. One of these days I'll try one of the recipes included. The Pumpkin Spice Softies sound delicious and yes, I just happen to be one of those people obsessed with pumpkin spice anything. Perfect for autumn, fans of Bailey Cates and cozy mysteries will fall for this book.

Steph

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Stacking The Shelves

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


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Good morning! It's a lovely day to be here with you all as the newbie member to Tynga's Reviews!


My latest book haul is mostly from my library as I cannot possibly own as many books as I want to read. Here's what I've got waiting on my shelves, all YA.


Library reads:


This Dark Endeavor is the YA title selected for next month's Community Read celebration for my library, so that's part work, part fun. See How They Run is book 2 in the Embassy Row series and Ally Carter is very popular with middle grade teens and upcoming preteens. This Is Where It Ends was highly recommended by a teen in my teen book club, and I expect it will be one of those books that will stay with me emotionally as it is a fictionalized account of a school shooting. (And seriously, this cover? Every time I am blown away by this cover.)


 ThisDarkEndeavorbykennethoppel    seehowtheyrunbyallycarter   thisiswhereitendsbymariekenijkamp


I loved Alexandra Bracken's The Darkest Minds, so I am really excited to read Passenger, except I know I will want to read book 2, Wayfarer immediately after. Kate Elliot's Poisoned Blade is a sequel to Court of Fives and I've been highly anticipating it! Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters is the third Princess Academy book which I didn't know existed for a long time, but I always love anything she writes.


passengerbyalexandrabracken   poisonedbladebykateelliot   theforgottensistersbyshannonhale


Seeker is the last library book on my current TBR shelf and comes with the sequel ARC Traveler set as a fantasy adventure. I am super excited about this next one even though I don't like anything Alice in Wonderland because I love Marissa Meyer (and have met her once--which is all it takes to want to be her bff). Heartless is a backstory retelling of the Queen of Hearts. My copy of Heartless is an ARC I received at ALA.


seekerbyarwenelysdayton   travelerbyarwenelysdayton   heartlessbymarissameyer


These next three are copies that I have recently purchased. The Heir and The Crown are the two newest books by Kiera Cass and the final ones in the addicting Selection series, which I am all set to re-read as well. The Beauty of Darkness is the final book in the Remnant Chronicles series and for the last year waiting on this book has been agonizing because I was so blown away by the first two in this fantasy series.


theheirbykieracass   thecrownbykieracass   TheBeautyofDarknessbymaryepearson


That's it for me for now! What are your new reads?


Kara

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Nemesis Games (The Expanse Book 5) by James S. A. Corey

Just like last weeks post this week I  am doing a review on another of the Expanse series by James S. A. Corey.  In discussing this weeks book, I will likely bring up events, plot points and characters that may give clues to the ending of the previous books, you know, spoilers.  If you have not read any of this series (and I believe you should at least try it out) and wish to be spoiler free, turn back now and ,please come back when you've caught up.

When last we left Captain James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante they had just saved themselves and hundreds more from a planet.  Well, to be honest a planet re-engineered by one group and taken over by yet another.  All before humans even knew it existed. It was a story that delved into many hidden thoughts, feelings and talents of the Rocinante.  In Nemesis Games, we get the opportunity to find out the hidden story behind them and some of the crewmembers themselves.

The setting of this reminded me much of one of hA Song of Ice and Fire Books in that it took place in a finite period of time but, the story was told in many different places.  We are allowed to sort of time shift to see events take place in one locale and be reported in another.  This is one of those times when I'm not sure if it is easier to have more than one author on a project.  Seeing as James S. A. Corey is really two people writing these books together and they did such an awesome job at managing it all, there may be some benefit to it. They keep a good time line and a very good pace throughout the book.

This, though, is truly a story of character development.  Events unfold that lead to some having to confront past decisions and the consequences and maybe even atone for those acts in the present.  Then there is a sort of re-introduction of somebody who was sorely missing from the previous book, Chrisjen Avasarala, the potty-mouthed, no-nonsense politician of Earth's UN.  She was showed up very briefly in Cibola Burn but, never fear, the diplomat with the razor sharp tongue and wit to match is on full display this time.

The Expanse is a series that delivers each time a  new story is released and Nemesis Games is a fine example of that.  It is meant for a mature audience so still maintains its R rating for violence, language and mature subjects.

Robert

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Stacking The Shelves [224]

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


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 Hello Everyone! Sorry for the late posting, it's been pretty busy at Casa Tynga lately.


I have been very busy with my etsy shop creating all kinds of logos and my photography is also launching nicely as my entire month is booked! Here are some pictures in case you are interested ^^


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Blog wise, I hope you like the new look I created :) I felt like it was time for change!


Also, more change coming on the blog, since Jenn hasn't been able to review for over a year now, we filled up with a new girl!


So I would like to introduce Kara, here's a little more about her:



I’m a teen librarian in my late-twenties (rare, I know) living in the southern US with a web developer husband, whom I have convinced to listen to audiobooks; a wonderful preschool-age daughter, who loves reading so much she sleeps with her books; and a rescue dog aptly named Katniss, who is the best company for reading though she can’t help but have a taste for pages. I’ve been blogging since 2012 at eKaraLibrium and have only just begun to branch out to other blogs despite my busy life both personally and professionally.

Since childhood, I’ve found myself captivated by the adventures in Narnia, Hogwarts, Middle Earth, Valdemar, and Tortall. Fantasy has always been my first love, and should I ever write/publish (which I hope to do one day), I don’t think I’ll be able to stay away from it for long. Still, I love all types of books: historical fiction, chick lit, romance, dystopian and post-apocalyptic, series, scifi and fantasy, classics, international…and you can usually convince me to read out of my comfort zone as long as it’s really, really good. However, YA is my favorite because I think it’s probably the most overlooked, criticized, and yet deeply inspiring to its readers as teens are forming self-identities and realizing they matter.

Currently, I have a wall of TBR books and with the publishing trends and library work, I don’t think I’ll ever catch up on all of the wonderful things to read.

Please welcome her warmly :) Her first review will be posted very soon!

Tynga[inlinkz_linkup id=662299]

Thursday, September 08, 2016

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus is one of those books where I can totally understand the people who give it five star ratings on Goodreads and the people who give it two star ratings.  So weird when that happens.  For me, the prose and setting and magic swept me in and kept me entranced- I give that part of the book five enthusiastic stars.  But then there's the plot, which left some key questions unanswered- I give that part of the book only two or three stars.

Les Cirque des Reves arrives in towns without any warning.  No advance man, no advertising posters.  In fact, most people aren't even sure how it arrives- no one sees or hears a train pull into town.  (The book is set at the turn of the twentieth century; no airplanes or tour buses.)  Once it arrives, it only opens at night.  By the light of an elaborate bonfire, guests can explore the many black and white-striped tents.  They're full of the circus usuals, like acrobats and tarot card readers, plus the fantastic, such as a tent full of dreams.  At the heart of it all is a pair of magicians who have been pitted against each other since childhood.

The Night Circus is beautifully written.  I never wanted to put it down.  At times the prose seemed almost lyrical.  Erin Morgenstern truly brings the night circus to life in your imagination as you read.  I could smell the sawdust and hear the crowd and see the flames of the bonfire... I swear my fingers felt caramel corn-sticky at times!  I'll admit that I'm predisposed to enjoying circus books, but this one was better than most.  I also loved the setting.  Because it's set at the turn of the century, we get to picture all the beautiful gowns on the female characters and nice suits with top hats on the guys.  The book takes place over the course of many years, but many of the pivotal scenes are set in fall, my favorite time of year.  The leaves are changing and the winds are blowing and there's a little crisp to the air... to me, fall is the most magical season, so it makes sense to place a magical book in the fall!

I would consider knocking a star or two off of my rating, though, for the plot.  I got very frustrated with trying to understand the game that the two main characters are playing.  They're supposed to be in a competition, but they're both working on the circus?  What are the rules?  Are there any rules?  How is a winner decided?  Don't get me wrong- I loved reading about the circus, the result of their competition!  Morgenstern could've skipped the whole competition thing and just done a romance and it would've been fine.

Overall, the writing and the circus make this a book I heartily recommend!

Marie

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Cibola Burn Expanse Book 4 by James S. A. Corey

This is the 4th book in the Expanse series by James S. A. Corey.  Not only has it spawned numerous books in the series (starting with Leviathan Wakes) but also a TV show on the SyFy channel.  Since this is the fourth installment of that series, I will likely be touching on major plot points from the earlier books and the series (also known as Spoilers). So, if you have not started reading or viewing this series but think you may, turn back now and get started already! It's an excellent series in both print and video.

Those who have read this series thus far probably remember the black goo that turned people into 'vomit zombies' and took over a couple of settlements in the 'Outer Planets'?  It's what led to James Holden and three of his crewmates/friends claiming by right of salvage a Martian warship.  It also brought the already strained relations among Earth, Mars and the Outer Planet Alliance to its boiling point.  All of which was rendered mundane when the origin of the black goo was discovered and a gate that was a shortcut to many habitable worlds was found.

Cibola Burn begins at that gait and just within.  The discovery of a world suitable for humans was too much for two factions to deal with and tensions are high once again.  This is actually the continuation of a story that always seems to be on the brink of resolution but never makes it.  That is not meant in a negative way.  In reality, life is only resolved when it is over and this story has plenty of life left in it.  This part of the story is merely the next logical steps after what has happened previously.

This book does take a bit of a departure from the rest in two ways.  One is in the setting.  The number of different settings is reduced and the nature of one of them is very different indeed.  The other difference is that more POV's from characters other than the major four occur in this book.  One the more unusual characters gives us insights that were missing and we didn't likely realize it.

Cibola Burn is an action filled story that not only gets the heart pumping at times but also forces us to engage our minds and emotions.  This whole series has intense violence at times, frank sexual discussions and liberal use of language so, it gets a mild R rating from me

 

 

Robert

Monday, September 05, 2016

Where the Wild Things Bite by Molly Harper

You know you're reading a Molly Harper book when the main characters are stuck in a crazy, life threatening situation but the author still manages to make you laugh. Molly Harper has this wonderful recipe for paranormal romance novels and it's infallible. I've never been disappointed by one of her books, probably because I understand her type of humour. Her characters are relatable, despite their peculiarities and you can't help but get attached to them. Where the Wild Things Bite, despite being short, is a wonderful addition to the Half-Moon Hollow series.

Anna, a rare book expert on the paranormal, is on a mission to return a valuable book to none other than Jane Jameson, after having appraised it, and confirmed it as an authentic and important document in the history of shifters. However, things go wrong as soon as she enters the plane that is supposed to bring her to Half-Moon Hollow. The pilot is deranged and threatens to kill her with a knife if she doesn't hand over the book, and when that fails, he tampers with the plane and crashes it in the middle of Kentucky lakeland. Anna would have crashed and died in it if it wasn't for Finn, the only other passenger of the plane. Anna accuses him of throwing her out of the moving plane but Finn guarantees her that he jumped, cradling her in his arms.

Together, they're lost in the woods, with no supplies and no sign of civilization. Only an old, but valuable book. So valuable that people are willing to kill for it. Anna, a germaphobic and very anxious person, quickly learns to survive in the woods. With shifters after her, she relies on Finn, who happens to be a vampire, to find her way through the woods. However, smart as she is, she soon realizes that Finn has somewhat questionable reasons for helping her. A liar, a thief and a con man, Finn tries to convince skeptical Anna that he really wants to help her, despite his previous motives.

Anna is a wonderful and realistic character, despite her neuroses. Her tendencies to learn every survival statistics and her obsession in reading survival guides to everything, helps her survive the Kentucky woods. Finn might be a liar and deceitful but I think he really wants to help Anna. I don't know exactly when he started to like her, but their close proximity leads up to steamy scenes. They're the most unlikely couple, but I think that's what so charming about the pair.

I really wish we could have gotten more out of Anna and Finn's story. Their trek through the woods was hilarious and entertaining, but what happened after the woods just went by so quickly. I'm glad Jane and the Half-Moon Hollow gang made an appearance but they didn't have much to do with the story. In a way, that made Anna and Finn the focus of the story. A delightful read, Where the Wild Things Bite is a must read for Jane Jameson fans.

Steph

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Stacking The Shelves [223]

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


If you want to find out more about Stacking The Shelves, please visit the official launch page!


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Just a couple of books from the library for me this week. I love my public library for having such a great selection of new books. I pay enough city taxes so I take advantage of the selection as much as I can!


where the wild things bite      spells and scones


Where the Wild Things Bite by Molly Harper


Spells and Scones by Bailey Cates


 What did you add to your shelves this week?Steph


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