Witchlanders

Witchlanders by Lena Coakley
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers on August 30th 2011
Genres: fantasy
Pages: 400
Goodreads

High in their mountain covens, red witches pray to the Goddess, protecting the Witchlands by throwing the bones and foretelling the future.

It’s all a fake.

At least, that’s what Ryder thinks. He doubts the witches really deserve their tithes—one quarter of all the crops his village can produce. And even if they can predict the future, what danger is there to foretell, now that his people’s old enemy, the Baen, has been defeated?

But when a terrifying new magic threatens both his village and the coven, Ryder must confront the beautiful and silent witch who holds all the secrets. Everything he’s ever believed about witches, the Baen, magic and about himself will change, when he discovers that the prophecies he’s always scorned—

Are about him.

I won’t lie, I honestly wasn’t expecting much out of this book. I picked it up because the cover looked pretty, it sounded decently alright, and I needed a couple of extra dollars to get free shipping on bookoutlet.com.

It started off slightly slow, but once it got going, it really got going. One of my only issues with Witchlanders is that it was too short. I feel like, if thoroughly developed, this actually could have been a really nice couple of books. I think it would have been so great to get a bit more about the culture and history of the two countries. Plus this would have made a great journey-fantasy, but for the length that it is, it’s great.

The characters were pretty well fleshed out. Ryder was a bit annoying, but only because I knew that what was going to happen in in the book centered around magic and he doesn’t believe in magic. But his reactions and feelings in the beginning (and even as the story progressed) made sense for him as a character. I couldn’t tell if I liked Falpian or not. His diva attitude got to me in the beginning, but he did come around as the story went on. I think his character definitely could have benefited from a more in depth backstory if there had been more room.

The plot itself was pretty engaging. The history between the Witchlanders and Baen got a bit confusing for me at points, but it was still interesting. I wasn’t able to guess what was going to happen before it happened, which I always appreciate in a book. I hate being able to guess plot points.

All in all, pretty decent! I’ll have to check out more of Lena Coakley. Have you read any of her work?

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

11/22/63

11/22/63 by Stephen King
Published by Pocket Books on January 26th 2016
Genres: fiction
Pages: 1120
Goodreads

Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away...but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke... Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten...and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

This was SUCH an interesting one for me.

Stephen King is a writer that I’ve always wanted to love, but I’ve never jived with any of his books. I often find them repetitive and I’m not a huge fan of his endings. Which sucks, because I love the ideas behind his novels, just not the actual execution of them. But every now and then I get the urge to pick up one of his books to just try.

Enter 11/22/63.

I love historical fiction. I love conspiracy theories. I love the idea of time travel. This book was like the trifecta of literature goodness for me. I’m especially a sucker for JFK conspiracy theories; in my American history class in high school I did a half hour presentation on whether or not I thought Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. It’s still one of my favourite projects.

Anyway, going into 11/22/63, I was excited. I really wanted to like it. I kept whispering “Please Mr. King, don’t fuck this up”, as if he could go back in time to rewrite the novel to my liking if it didn’t suit me. Because, you know, I am that important of a reader to him.

But the thing was, I didn’t have to try and like it. I genuinely enjoyed it. Like, really enjoyed it. It’s a mammoth of a book, but I flew through the pages. I needed to know what was going to happen. Was Jake Epping going to be able to stop Oswald? What would that change in the future? Would he be able to go back to the future if he was successful or would the portal cease to exist? Was he actually just going to be a mental patient in some hospital who was making this all up (View Spoiler »? So many questions kept me anxiously reading the entire time.

I liked Jake Epping. I don’t have much else to say about him, really. View Spoiler »

I really, really enjoyed how detailed the descriptions for the Land of Ago was. I wasn’t alive in the 50s and 60s, but the details were so rich and inviting that I wish I had been. I’d especially liked to have tried an honest to goodness rootbeer from back then. By the end of the book I wished I could travel back in time just to experience what Jake had experienced. It sounded positively delightful.

I was super happy about the ending too, which as I’ve said, are normally let downs for me. I was glad this one did not disappoint. I was very interested to see how it would end since there were so many possibilities, but I think this was the right one, just based off of who Jake Epping was as a man. View Spoiler »

I’m so glad I finally picked up 11/22/63, and it’s given me hope to continue testing more of King’s writing.

Have you read it? What did you think?

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Feversong

Feversong (Fever #9) by Karen Marie Moning
Published by Dell on October 17th 2017
Genres: urban fantasy
Pages: 520
Goodreads

As Mac, Barrons, Ryodan, and Jada struggle to restore control, enemies become allies, right and wrong cease to exist, and the lines between life and death, lust and love, disappear completely. Black holes loom menacingly over Dublin, threatening to destroy the earth, yet the greatest danger is the one MacKayla Lane has unleashed from within: The Sinsar Dubh--a sentient book of unthinkable evil--has possessed her body and will stop at nothing in its insatiable quest for power.

The fate of Man and Fae rests on destroying the book and recovering the long-lost Song of Making, the sole magic that can repair the fragile fabric of the earth. But to achieve these aims, sidhe-seers, the Nine, Seelie, and Unseelie must form unlikely alliances and make heart-wrenching choices. For Barrons and Jada, this means finding the Seelie queen, who alone can wield the mysterious song, negotiating with a lethal Unseelie prince hell-bent on ruling the Fae courts, and figuring out how to destroy the Sinsar Dubh while keeping Mac alive.

This time, there's no gain without sacrifice, no pursuit without risk, no victory without irrevocable loss. In the battle for Mac's soul, every decision exacts a tremendous price.

AHHHHH I can’t believe I finished the series!

Okay, okay. I know there’s technically more books in the series, but I know at the very least that the next one does not deal with Mac and Jericho as the main characters (at least I think it doesn’t). I think a lot of people consider this one the end of the series.

If not, feel free to correct me in the comments. I could be persuaded to continue them.

Either way, I’m so excited yet so sad that the series is done. Sometimes it took me awhile to get through each book, and sometimes I zipped right through one and on to the next. Feversong is one of the latter ones for me. I even bookmarked a scene to keep for later, which I NEVER do.

Spoilers.

More spoilers.

Don’t be spoiled.

There are really only a couple of things I have to talk about with this one. FIRST OFF. The ending. I still don’t even know what to think about the ending. It kind of sort of wrapped it up nicely but also….wutttttttt. Jericho is the Unseelie King and Mac has been the Concubine the entire time??? Am I getting that right?? I like the idea but I also didn’t. For some reason I feel like making Jericho the Unseelie King erases the mystery and allure around him. I also have some other questions – like who was the concubine they saved then (was she the real Seelie Queen who just had her mind erased?) – that I’m still pondering. I almost guarantee if I read the last book again I’d probably answer most of my own questions.

I also likely could just do a good ol’ Google search. Which I might.

Second, I’m glad Shazaam was a real being. Just saying. I’m glad Dani didn’t make him up.

Third. The scene I bookmarked is the one where Jericho tells Mac he wouldn’t have minded if she ran into his arms. This scene got me right in the heart. It was just so cute. He tells her that he understands that she’s pulled away because she’s alpha and doesn’t like involving other people when she’s trying to figure her messed up shit out and finishes it by saying he would have liked it if she’d leaped into her arms when she’d hesitated at the White Mansion because she thought he  wasn’t that type of man. My heart.

I honestly think this was my favourite of the entire series.

Alright, that’s it! That’s my somewhat binge of the Fever series. It was great while it lasted!

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Feverborn

Feverborn by Karen Marie Moning
Published by Dell on November 29th 2016
Genres: urban fantasy
Pages: 391
Goodreads

In Karen Marie Moning s latest installment of the epic Fever series, Mac, Barrons, Ryodan, and Jada are back and the stakes have never been higher or the chemistry hotter. Hurtling us into a realm of labyrinthine intrigue and consummate seduction, Feverborn is a riveting tale of ancient evil, lust, betrayal, forgiveness, and the redemptive power of love. When the immortal Fae destroyed the ancient wall dividing the worlds of Man and Faery, the very fabric of the universe was damaged, and now Earth is vanishing bit by bit. Only the long-lost Song of Making a haunting, dangerous melody that is the source of life itself can save the planet. But those who seek the mythic song must contend with old wounds and new enemies, passions that burn hot and hunger for vengeance that runs deep.

The challenges are many: the Keltar at war with nine immortals who have secretly ruled Dublin for eons, Mac and Jada hunted by the masses, the Seelie queen nowhere to be found, and the most powerful Unseelie prince in all creation determined to rule both Fae and Man. Now the task of solving the ancient riddle of the Song of Making falls to a band of deadly warriors divided among and within themselves. Once a normal city possessing a touch of ancient magic, Dublin is now a treacherously magical city with only a touch of normal. And on those war-torn streets, Mac will come face-to-face with her most savage enemy yet: herself.

I don’t remember much of Feverborn, and that’s not because it was bad, but because it was such a build up to what was coming that I wanted to get to the end to figure out what it all meant. The fact that I was able to rush through it without getting bored is a testament to how good it was.

I think this was actually the first book in the entire series where I didn’t mind Mac at all. She became a fully realized character to me. Her decisions made sense, her attitude made sense, it all fit for me finally. Only took me until the end of the series. I got a better sense of Jada too, and wasn’t as thrown off by the whole Dani fiasco.

I liked that you were being fed a decent chunk of backstory while also building up some action. It’s definitely a middle book, but it’s a good one. I could feel that the end of the series was coming in this book, but I was excited to see how it played out.

I know this isn’t much, but I didn’t really have much to say about it, honestly. Decent overall!

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Happier Thinking

Happier Thinking by Lana Grace Riva
Published by Independently published on February 11th 2018
Genres: non-fiction
Pages: 52
Goodreads

Changing how you think is possible. I wasn't always so sure that was true until I experienced it myself, but I know now we don't have to just accept unhappiness. Not always anyway. This book is my collection of tips and suggestions that have helped me achieve happier thinking. It's sort of a gym for my mind. I'd love to tell you it was easier than the real gym but well… it's not really. It takes time, effort, and practice but it's absolutely well worth the rewards.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Pinky swear!

When Happier Thinking came in the mail, I was a little skeptical. I thought, “It’s a tiny book, how could this possibly be that useful.”

If you go into this book thinking you’re going to have loads and loads of information tossed at you so you can immediately change your life, you’ll be disappointed. The beauty of this book isn’t in the fact that it’s offering you tons of ways to help you think happier, but that it’s offering you concrete ways to do so. It almost made me feel like someone was giving me little reminders on good habits to adopt.

The thing with it being so short, too, is that the information is easily digestible. You can choose to read it all in one sitting, like I did, or to break it up by chapter and start with each piece of information. It makes the process of “change” a little less overwhelming, which I greatly appreciated. Sometimes self-help books are so gigantic I can’t even take them off the shelf for fear of failing.

If you like quick reads chalk full of quirky humour, a funny friend jumping off the page to offer you sage advice, and a fast pick-me-up when you’re feeling down, Happier Thinking is it. I find myself flipping through it randomly when I’m feeling down, just to bring a smile to my face for a minute or two. And it works.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Burned

Burned (Fever #7) by Karen Marie Moning
Published by Dell on November 24th 2015
Genres: urban fantasy
Pages: 465
Goodreads

It’s easy to walk away from lies. Power is another thing.

MacKayla Lane would do anything to save the home she loves. A gifted sidhe-seer, she’s already fought and defeated the deadly Sinsar Dubh—an ancient book of terrible evil—yet its hold on her has never been stronger.

When the wall that protected humans from the seductive, insatiable Fae was destroyed on Halloween, long-imprisoned immortals ravaged the planet. Now Dublin is a war zone with factions battling for control. As the city heats up and the ice left by the Hoar Frost King melts, tempers flare, passions run red-hot, and dangerous lines get crossed.

Seelie and Unseelie vie for power against nine ancient immortals who have governed Dublin for millennia; a rival band of sidhe-seers invades the city, determined to claim it for their own; Mac’s former protégé and best friend, Dani “Mega” O’Malley, is now her fierce enemy; and even more urgent, Highland druid Christian MacKeltar has been captured by the Crimson Hag and is being driven deeper into Unseelie madness with each passing day. The only one Mac can depend on is the powerful, dangerous immortal Jericho Barrons, but even their fiery bond is tested by betrayal.

It’s a world where staying alive is a constant struggle, the line between good and evil gets blurred, and every alliance comes at a price. In an epic battle against dark forces, Mac must decide who she can trust, and what her survival is ultimately worth.

Burned is book #7 in the Fever series. It’s taken me a bit, but I’m slowly making my way towards the end. I’m happy and sad for this series to end.

Happy because I’d like to find out how it all ends. Also happy because I can move on to some of my other books taking up precious space on my shelves.

Sad because I’ve been in this world so long and I’ll be sad to see it go.

Burned was a decent filler book. And by filler, I don’t mean a lot isn’t happening. There is. It’s just that I know it’s all a build up for the books that are to come. And that’s okay. Some books are meant to be middle books. It was still very entertaining, especially since there was a little more…levity to this one than the most recent (Iced was humorous because of Dani, but still felt dark). I mean, Mac accidentally goes invisible and uses this time to spy on those around her. How could that not be funny.

All in all, a decent book. It’s made me excited for Feverborn.

Now there will be spoilers ahead.

Spoilers I tell you.

Spoilers.

At the end of Iced, Mac chased Dani into the silvers. When Dani comes back out to Dublin, it’s been five odd years for her, whereas it’s been a couple of weeks in human land. Although you don’t know this in the beginning. Dani is lost, Mac can’t go after her, everyone’s looking for her, and then there’s this new badass in town named Jada. You know where I’m going with this. We find out that Jada is Dani, and I wasn’t sure how to feel about it. Because I know that there was an uproar over Dani being so young and lusted after in Iced, I feel like this was an easy way to grow Dani up fast, but it still felt really weird. I still have a huge issue with the whole Dani/Mac fight thing, so that also might be colouring my view of the scenario a little. I technically understand the backstory on why Dani turns into Jada, I just wish it could have been done a little better.

The only other issue I have here is with the scene that is used as a foreword for the book. It’s the scene where Jericho first visited Mac in the room she was staying in when she first came to Dublin. In the original scene we read in Darkfever, they argue a bit and then he leaves. In this “real” scene, we find out that Mac and Jericho actually had hot steamy sex, but Mac wasn’t ready for it so Jericho suppressed the memory so she wouldn’t hate him. There’s this entire build up to her finding out that he did this at the beginning of the book, then she finds out at the worst possible moment, is obviously pissed, then when he explains his reasoning, she basically just accepts it. Like, okay fine, you understand why he did what he did. But the build up to this was completely unnecessary if it was just going to be accepted. Was it to show how strong she’s gotten? How their relationship has changed? Both of those points have been proven through other means in the books.

Anyway, spoilers over. That’s all I have to say about Burned!

One StarOne StarOne Star

Your Walls

The walls, they talk

If you care to listen

I choose to

Run my hand through the words

My fingertips

Picking up little letters

They mean nothing separated,

But together tell a story

Loss

Love

Hope

Regret

What story is etched on your walls?

What letters will my fingers pick up

As they trail across your skin

Will it be in a language I understand

Or will your story remain a secret,

Too confusing for me to comprehend

Iced

Iced (Fever, #6) by Karen Marie Moning
Published by Dell on February 25th 2014
Genres: urban fantasy
Pages: 490
Goodreads

The year is 1 AWC—After the Wall Crash. The Fae are free and hunting us. It’s a war zone out there, and no two days are alike. I’m Dani O’Malley, the chaos-filled streets of Dublin are my home, and there’s no place I’d rather be.

Dani “Mega” O’Malley plays by her own set of rules—and in a world overrun by Dark Fae, her biggest rule is: Do what it takes to survive. Possessing rare talents and the all-powerful Sword of Light, Dani is more than equipped for the task. In fact, she’s one of the rare humans who can defend themselves against the Unseelie. But now, amid the pandemonium, her greatest gifts have turned into serious liabilities.

Dani’s ex–best friend, MacKayla Lane, wants her dead, the terrifying Unseelie princes have put a price on her head, and Inspector Jayne, the head of the police force, is after her sword and will stop at nothing to get it. What’s more, people are being mysteriously frozen to death all over the city, encased on the spot in sub-zero, icy tableaux.

When Dublin’s most seductive nightclub gets blanketed in hoarfrost, Dani finds herself at the mercy of Ryodan, the club’s ruthless, immortal owner. He needs her quick wit and exceptional skill to figure out what’s freezing Fae and humans dead in their tracks—and Ryodan will do anything to ensure her compliance.

Dodging bullets, fangs, and fists, Dani must strike treacherous bargains and make desperate alliances to save her beloved Dublin—before everything and everyone in it gets iced.

I have to say, I completely ate my words when I read Iced. I was SO nervous about reading it because I haven’t liked Dani up until this point and I knew the entire book was from her POV. Although the dudes and the fecks got reeeeaalll annoying, I was able to look past it.

I enjoyed the plot. It was interesting and kept me guessing the entire time. I was never sure how it was going to pan out, which was nice.

The characters gave me a bit of an issue, although not the same issues some people have. I know a LOT of people have an issue with the guys being inappropriate towards Dani, and maybe I’m sick and twisted, but I don’t see the problem (mostly) that everyone seemed to have. Yes, Dani is a 14 year old girl. Yes, Ryodan is, like, a million years old and Christian is in his 20s. But I think a lot of people missed some points here:

  1. Dani isn’t a typical 14 year old, she’s been through a lot of shit, so of course the guys are going to treat her like an adult.
  2. Christian is turning into a death-by-sex fae so of COURSE he’s going to have messed up thoughts. Although his character I liked the least in this, I still understood what was going on.
  3. NO ONE HAS SEX.

I liked Ryodan throughout this, but his character was a little hard to get a read on. Maybe it’s just me, but I felt like he was a lot…warmer? nicer?… in the other books. He’s a tough guy, I get that, but I didn’t think he was THAT big of a dick, and he was a pretty big one here. Some of it was necessary, like when Dani threatens his authority in his club, but some of it just felt out of character for him.

And I didn’t really like Jo before Iced anyway, but Jebus H. Christian, she’s an idiot. The man keeps you prisoner more or less to keep Dani in line, then starts sleeping with you, and you DON’T assume there’s a hidden agenda there?! I am sorry, but if she gets taken out by someone, I won’t be mad.

Oh, and I hope Dancer sticks around for a bit. I want to know more about him. He seems like a good match for Dani.

I’m curious to see where the series goes now, because I know KMM had some backlash over this book and the rest aren’t Dani-oriented.

 

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Shadowfever

Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning
Published by Dell on August 30th 2011
Genres: urban fantasy
Pages: 671
Goodreads

“Evil is a completely different creature, Mac. Evil is bad that believes it’s good.” — MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever. — Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister’s murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals who have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.

What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh -- a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King, containing the power to create and destroy worlds.

In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves.

Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman haunting her dreams? More important, who is Mac herself and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card?

From the luxury of the Lord Master’s penthouse to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac’s journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and to make a choice that will either save the world . . . or destroy it.

I was so mixed about Shadowfever when I started reading it. I almost put the book down in the beginning because I was just SO fed up with Mac and her attitude. She went off the freaking deep end and it didn’t make sense to me. The context made sense, but it seemed very condensed, like what happened in the beginning of the book could have been an entire other book to show us the transition in how she was thinking, but it was crammed into a couple of pages instead so it didn’t feel real.

But after we got over that small hurdle, I really liked the plot. This was my favourite book in the series thus far. It was intriguing, I wanted to know what happened, there was sexual tension, there was regular tension, it was fantastic. I couldn’t put it down.

I’m a little sad that the series continues, because I think this would have been the perfect ending to it. It wouldn’t have been cleanly wrapped up, but it would have made sense within the tone of the series. I’m also kind of not looking forward to reading Iced because Dani is not even close to one of my favourite characters. I find the way she talks very annoying, although that might just be because I’m old and grouchy now.

Hopefully the series continues to get better now that I think I’ve found my stride. *fingers crossed*

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

April Wrap-Up

Oh lordy. I’m not even going to try and explain April to anyone. I feel like it was about two days long.

I didn’t end up putting any reviews out for April, although I did do some writing and announced my personal challenge to myself. Which I’ve stuck to so far (woot woot)!

April was mostly a month of self reflection, which is necessary. I might not have read a lot, but it was still a really good month.

How was your April?