Review Rendezvous: 11/24/18


The Haunting at Ice Pine Peak by Wendelin Gray
Book stats:
Genre(s): Fantasy, mystery
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 546
Publish date: 2015
Purchase: Amazon

THaIPPTrouble is brewing in the province of Ling-xiu when the murder of an elderly queen sends young Princess Bingsong into exile at a forgotten mountain villa. When a series of hauntings begins and she finds her father’s old diary, Bingsong, her handsome bodyguard Azuma, the villa’s mysterious steward LimTamm, and teenage servant girls Peitho and Lysithe are drawn into a 400 year old murder mystery hinted at by a string of small nightingale paintings. Bingsong’s struggle against an arranged marriage merges with the sinister history of the villa, the site of a massacre spurred by the rivalry between two temple acolytes. As corrupt security forces led by the province’s head magician Kimon are poised to take over the capital and eliminate Bingsong’s puppet king father, Kimon awakens an ancient evil in his quest to find the ruins of the drowned palace of Zu-bai, once the home of the world’s most powerful magician. As the epic battle between the spirits on the mountain is set to span two provinces, Bingsong and her friends must delve into the ancient history of the neighboring province of Zu-dang in order to lay to rest the grudges of the past.

Not gonna lie, there was a lot going on in this book. most of it did end up flowing together very well, but at the same time maybe there was a bit too much? I’m all for action- or detail-packed storylines, I usually even prefer them over the simpler contemporary storylines, but this one had a bit more than I would’ve liked.

That is not to say that the story is bad, however. I am a big fan of Asian culture, art, and influences (my dream as a kid was to spend time in China and Japan) so I highly enjoyed those influences in this book. The writing was also beautiful, even if it did take me a while to read through everything because the print was a bit smaller than usual. But Once I adjusted to that, everything was great.

I’d say this book is great for people looking for a bit of fantasy, magic, and Asian influence all together in one. It’s not a book that everyone will love, but it is wonderfully crafted either way.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!

Advertisements

Review Rendezvous: 10/27/18


The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel by Alyssa Palombo
Book stats:
Genre(s): Historical fiction, fantasy, retelling
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 416
Publish date: October 2nd, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository

TSoKVTWhen Ichabod Crane arrives in the spooky little village of Sleepy Hollow as the new schoolmaster, Katrina Van Tassel is instantly drawn to him. Through their shared love of books and music, they form a friendship that quickly develops into romance. Ichabod knows that as an itinerant schoolteacher of little social standing, he has nothing to offer the wealthy Katrina – unlike her childhood friend-turned-enemy, Brom Van Brunt, who is the suitor Katrina’s father favors.

But when romance gives way to passion, Ichabod and Katrina embark on a secret love affair, sneaking away into the woods after dark to be together – all while praying they do not catch sight of Sleepy Hollow’s legendary Headless Horseman. That is, until All Hallows’s Eve, when Ichabod suddenly disappears, leaving Katrina alone and in a perilous position.

Enlisting the help of her friend – and rumored witch – Charlotte Jansen, Katrina seeks the truth of Ichabod Crane’s disappearance, investigating the forest around Sleepy Hollow using unconventional – often magical – means. What they find forces Katrina to question everything she once knew, and to wonder if the Headless Horseman is perhaps more than just a story after all. In Alyssa Palombo’s The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel nothing is as it seems, and love is a thing even death won’t erase.

I loved the spookiness of this book right off the bat. I also have not read a historical fiction in forever, so I enjoyed getting back into this genre. Honestly, this is the perfect book for Halloween time.

There’s a great blend of retelling and fresh, new content with the romance side. I did notice the attraction popped up pretty quickly, but it didn’t bug me too much overall. There is definitely a bit of the “I’m my own person, I’ll do what I want” attitude that may be a bit cliche for historical romance heroines. On the flip side though, it’s also nice that she’s not just a doormat that lets people walk all over her.

The beginning may have been a bit slow, but overall I think this is a really good read. It’s perfect to curl up on the couch with a warm blanket and hot drink in the fall/Halloween season 🙂

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!

Review Rendezvous: 8/11/18


The Steel Sentinel by Kyle Williams
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 292
Publish date: March 15th, 2018
Purchase: Amazon

TSSWar and Chaos bound together
Death is all alone
Life is lake and forest plenty
Peace sleeps with the bones

It all began with death, a mysterious woman, and a poem. The balance of the world is in jeopardy. The Guardians of War, Chaos, Peace, Life, and Death have all gone missing. The world threatens to tear itself apart and at the center.

There is Kyah.
An unassuming girl from a small village in Canada obsessed with the lore of our people. In the very oldest lore of our people, they tell of a child. A child who will rise up when the world is in its darkest hour.
And now, That time has come.

The world is on the verge of darkness and destruction. She has charged herself with finding the guardians and restoring the balance.

I’m always down for a good mythology story, so I loved getting into this book. There is a great balance of action and character building, which can sometimes get lost in stories that fall in the fantasy category. I highly enjoyed getting to know the character of Kyah, and could definitely relate and see a bit of myself in her.

Overall, I thought the pacing was quite good and really enjoyed the voice and style of the writing. The ending also grabs you and sets up further entries into the series very well. I look forward to future additions to this world.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!

Review Rendezvous: 4/7/18


The Last Man by Tobias Wade
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, fantasy, philosophy
Medium: Kindle
Number of pages: 646
Publish date: September 2017
Purchase: Amazon

TLMEmbark upon the fantasy story of enlightenment through these seven surreal worlds.

Test your bravery to pass the land of fear and pain. 
Resist temptations to pass the land of pleasure. 
Clear your mind to pass the land of illusion. 
Trust your heart to pass the land of love and loss. 
Keep your word to pass the land of truth and lies. 
Know yourself to pass the land of identity. 
Forsake the world to pass the land of attachments.

All the while pursuing a desperate course to the center of the Earth where a primordial force awaits its freedom with the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy. 

An epic and insightful adventure filled with magic, monsters, dragons, betrayal, and transcendence!

Before I begin, let me clarify things just a bit. This review is for the entire series, but the books can be read individually. That being said, I may end up with a few mild spoilers even though I try not to include them in my reviews.

Our main character Farris is quite the unlikely hero. The only reason that she is drawn into this quest is because she wants to save her brother Tom, who has become a victim of the ‘chosen one’ trope. I will admit, it was quite interesting to see a book from the perspective of someone who disbelieves everything in the beginning, only to be forced on the adventure later. Most of the time, people just blindly except crazy things, so I liked that her main motivation was her brother, rather than saving the world.

Farris must work her way through six different ‘layers’ of the earth, each containing a species that has long left the surface of the world after a great battle between man and serpent. The two were locked in mortal combat and sealed away, and now Tom has been selected to open it and see who has won after many years.

The series is mostly from Farris’ point of view, though we do get a few chapters with Tom, Sasha (Farris’ love interest) and with one of their companions on the trip. Farris is also certainly not perfect by any means, and may even seem crazy at times. There’s something endearing about a flawed character that makes the story even better.

Also, while there is romance (Farris has been crushing on Sasha for a while at the beginning of the book), her price for beginning the journey is all her memories of him, so that complicates things a bit. The romance is also such a side plot that it doesn’t distract at all, which is a very nice change from other YA.

All in all, great series. Loved how it contrasted with the majority of the books and themes I’ve read recently. Definitely a bit philosophical and hard to decipher at times if, like me, you’ve had a long day and you’re brain dead. But, still worth the read, and highly recommended 🙂

I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!

Review Rendezvous: 3/24/18


The Crowns of Croswald by D. E. Night
Book stats:
Genre(s): Fantasy, young adult
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 320
Publish date: May 21st, 2017
Purchase: Amazon

CrownsIn Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret… 

For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic—and her life—is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.

I tried to start this book like three times and kept getting interrupted. But, I finally hunkered down and read it. Quite glad I did, actually. At first, I was struck by the similarities to Harry Potter. But, as I kept on reading, I found the world to be very immersive and entertaining.

We first meet Ivy as a lowly scaldrony maid (that means she’s in charge of the beasts that function as ovens for the castle’s meals). In quite the turn of events, she gets herself chased out of the only home she’s ever known, left only with a note from a mysterious visitor she’s made friends with.

Ivy is then thrust into the real world, full of magic that had been kept from her by a stifling spell. We experience quite the harsh introduction to the world as the poor girl is thrown directly into the madness of preparing for the first day of school and the renowned magical academy.

The first thing to come across about Ivy’s character was her care for magical creatures. She takes along the scaldron that got her kicked out of the castle, naming it and offering to keep it with her as a pet. She’s also very adventurous, and doesn’t like the sound of the word ‘no’.

I will admit, a few of the things that she gets away with are a bit suspect, like it shouldn’t have been so easy for her to do the things, but if higher ups were supporting her, then it might end up making sense. I’ll have to read further books to fully understand that one. This book sets up a lovely segue into a sequel, so I’d be overjoyed to read more.

Also you should definitely check out the author’s website. Very nice and polished, one of the best author sites I’ve seen. Also, after you’ve read the book, you might realize that the author’s name sounds familiar… 😉

I was kindly provided this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


If you liked this book, check this one out:

Harry Potter

If you’ve never heard of this book, you have been missing out on life (and possibly living under a rock)


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!