Book Review: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

23308087Title: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
Genre: YA Fantasy
Length: 368 pages
Format: eARC through Penguin First to Read
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Rating – 5 stars!!

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

I received a free copy of the Flame in the Mist ARC from Penguin’s First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.

Flame in the Mist is set in feudal japan and follows a young girl Mariko who has been betrothed to one of the emperor’s sons. On her way to meet her betrothed, her litter is attacked and she is presumed dead. Survival instinct kicking in, she escapes and due to the climate of the time, dresses as a boy in order to move around freely and embarks on a quest for revenge.

Prior to being approved an ARC, I had heard about this book and that it was a Mulan retelling. I definitely saw the Mulan similarities but this story is definitely it’s very own. I loved this book. I thought it was so unique and done very well. I loved the theme of female empowerment that is woven throughout the entire book – we see this in Mariko’s making her own decisions and taking her life into her own hands during a time when women were treated like property and not allowed to make their own decisions.

The romance element was simply breathtaking. In connection with that I am SUPER happy that Mariko was not the squeaky clean, pure main character that we see in a lot of stories. She was very real. She was a badass that had no problem standing up for herself and did not succumb to what anyone wanted her to be, but she also had moments where she doubted herself and her strength. Through that she always found strength within herself, which was amazing.

The writing was absolutely beautiful, this was undoubtedly one of my favorite reads of this year so far.  It does end rather abruptly but I was okay with that since I know there is going to be a second book. I felt like a lot happened in this one and the stage was set for some really big things to happen. I cannot wait for the second one and my only complaint is that I will have to wait awhile since this book won’t even release until May. I definitely have a lot of questions like the magical elements we see and where this comes from and what happens with Mariko, plus a few more that I won’t mention because of spoilers.

This was my first Renee Ahdieh book and now I am very interested in reading her other novels. Flame in the Mist is published on May 16th so definitely check it out!

Blog Tour Book Review: Rags and Ruins by Bob Dixon

RARBANNERRRKINDLETitle: Rags and Ruins by Bob Dixon
Genre: Fiction – Middle Grade/YA–  Fantasy
Length: 292 pages
Format: Ebook
Publication Date: October 30, 2015
Publisher:  Chimera, an imprint of Ravenswood Publishing
Rating – 5/5

Rags leads an idyllic life for a goblin child—he spends his days playing in the landfill with his gargoyle friend Ladin, going fishing with his father Hargo in the river, and developing his love of music. His parents love him intensely, and his mother Calin is fiercely protective of him. How could he ask for anything more as he lives an enchanted life on the reservation on the outskirts of the “civilized” world, surrounded by mystical creatures and magic? Little does Rags realize that he is not a goblin but instead a human who was abandoned shortly after his birth and left in the landfill to be raised by the goblins as a way to fulfill an ancient prophecy of good and evil, twin brothers separated at birth and reunited in the thirteenth year of their life, one to unleash an ancient evil, the other the only hope to stop it from happening. A powerful tale of magic, music, and danger, Rags and Ruins is sure to thrill readers of all ages with its mix of adventure, intrigue, and humor—and if it doesn’t, they’ll have to answer to a furious goblin mother.

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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Rags and Ruins. I would like to thank the author Bob Dixon and Ravenswood Publishing for giving me the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rags and Ruin is a fantasy novel about a young goblin and his wife who take in and raise an abandoned human baby as their own. Unbeknownst to them at the time, the child is one half of a prophecy that will end in the battle between good and evil.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a really fast read because of how it read – the pacing was great and the story itself was interesting. It captured my attention easily and was just a really good story. I loved the writing, I thought the writer did a fantastic job writing and editing this story which made it such a pleasure to read.

I liked the characters and the settings alot. I will probably never look at a landfill the same and will always wonder if there isn’t more than meets the eye in them…maybe a world of fantastical creatures that escapes human attention. I thought that concept was really clever and really enjoyable. The protagonist and antagonist are both very young throughout the story and it all comes to a head on their thirteenth birthday so I would classify this story as more of a middle grade story but it would still be super enjoyable to a young adult audience. As an adult of twenty nine years, I really enjoyed it so I think that everyone would find this story interesting, enjoyable and well worth a read. This is the first book in a series and I am super excited to continue it in the future and would definitely be interested in reading more from this author.

If you are looking for a light, fun read be sure to check this one out! I also think it would be a great introduction to the fantasy genre for younger readers! I am planning on purchasing a paperback copy for my niece who is just now beginning to get comfortable with reading and fantasy is her genre of choice…I’m excited to see how she enjoys this story.

P.S. I absolutely love the cover too, it’s super cool!

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About the AuthorBD2

Bob Dixon is a a two-time Guinness World Record holder for the world’s longest cartoon strip. Author of Mouch and Company: The Dream Psychic and A Tough Call. He has created and written a number of comic book titles for Pocket Change Comics, including Assassinette: The Mind Stalker, Psyco Duck, Jester’s Dead, The Holy Knight, Riplash, Shadow Slasher, and Warzone 3719. He has written two children books, Rooty the Tree Troll and Holiday Bunny. In addition, Bob is a certified special education teacher who works with children with intellectual delays and autism.

AUTHOR LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/bobdixonbooks
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4792230.Bob_Dixon http://authorbobdixon.weebly.com/
AMAZON US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016IPNB3S
AMAZON UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B016IPNB3S
BARNES & NOBLE: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rags-and-ruins-bob-dixon/1122782436;jsessionid=2357F7DE49BC13C2F1AB27F1C361187E.prodny_store01-2?ean=2940151014151
KOBO: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/rags-and-ruins
GOOGLE PLAY: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Bob_Dixon_Rags_and_Ruins?id=DPe1CgAAQBAJ&hl=en
SMASHWORDS: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/584425
iBOOKS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/rags-and-ruins/id1048789588?mt=11
CREATESPACE: https://www.createspace.com/5772219
PAPERBACK: http://www.amazon.com/Rags-Ruins-Bob-Dixon/dp/1517597331/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444715669&sr=8-1&keywords=Rags+and+Ruins+paperback

 

 

Book Review – The Wielder Diaries: My Crystal by Ashley Scheller

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Title: The Wielder Diaries: My Crystal by Ashley Scheller
Genre: Fiction – Young Adult –  Fantasy
Length: 329 pages
Format: Ebook
Publication Date: September 10, 2015
Publisher:  Howling Wolf, an imprint of Ravenswood Publishing
Rating – 3/5 – I liked it

At five, her presence alone could transform lions into human-like beings. At nine, she could manipulate everything inanimate, in turn, creating her surroundings to her liking. She is their Saqui, a precious child with awesome power.

Now, if she could only remember.

A 12-year-old girl awakens after a long sleep and, mysteriously, has no recollection of her past. Upon the insistence of four, who claim to be her guardians and friends, Kayla begins to read from a bizarre diary, hoping to gain her memories before she loses her kingdom. A journey of self-discovery, wonder and adventure begins when she opens the covers made of crystal.

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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Wielder Diaries: My Crystal! I want to thank the author and Ravenswood Publishing for giving me the chance to read and review this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Wielder Diaries: My Crystal is about a young girl named Kayla who wakes up in a strange place with no memory of who she is or how she got there. The people in this place are basically shape shifting animals that are separated into tribes that peacefully coexist with each other like zebras, birds and lions. Kayla looks completely different from them and her presence caused them to change. Over time she changes as well.

This story is a fantasy story so I was excited to read it. I was intrigued by the prospect of reading about shapeshifting animals and magic. I want to make sure to mention the gorgeous cover of this book. Isn’t it beautiful? I have fallen in love with and just love looking at it.

I definitely thought that the story itself was promising. The issues I had with it were mostly editing issues but I think maybe it just wasn’t entirely for me, although like I said I did like it. There were a lot of characters which was a good thing. Each chapter was told from alternating perspectives which I typically fall head over heels in love with but it alternated between a lot of different characters at different timeframes. The narrative switched from like past to present and back again and that for me was a little bit confusing. I don’t know if I’ve read a book like that yet so it was interesting to experience but hard to get used to.

I can’t decide on my favorite character because there were quite a few that I liked and enjoyed. One thing about the alternating perspectives that I mentioned above that I loved was getting to know many of the individual characters and then seeing their thoughts about the other people and events in the story.

I ended up giving this book three stars because I liked it and found it to be pretty enjoyable. It is the first book in a series. I would definitely give the second book a read to see where this goes as it does end on a good cliffhanger. I think younger fantasy fans may enjoy this book as some of the characters are younger and grow in the story.

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About the Author

asAshley Scheller has always liked creating. Currently residing in Omaha with her family, if she isn’t sewing costumes inspired from medieval times or anime characters she is writing. Passionate about both hobbies, she loves to connect with fellow costumers and writers through social media. The Wielder Diaries: My Crystal is her first book and has planned an exciting trilogy for the title.

AUTHOR LINKS:
https://twitter.com/AshleyScribe
https://www.facebook.com/Joharicosplay?ref=bookmarks
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14226852.Ashley_Scheller

 Currently Available at
THE WIELDER DIARIES: MY CRYSTAL
AMAZON US
AMAZON UK
BARNES & NOBLE
KOBO
GOOGLE PLAY
SMASHWORDS
iBOOKS
PAPERBACK
CREATESPACE

 

 

Book Review: Scrap (The Grimmic Chronicles #1) by Emory Sharplin

17790521Title: Scrap (The Grimmic Chronicles #1) by Emory Sharplin
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Publisher: River Grove Books
Page count: 343 pages
Format: Ebook ARC
Rating – 5/5!!

On the brutal streets of Hellip, a village in the vast empire of the cruel King Ibis, you either become good at running from the king’s Blackcoats or you die. This is the lesson that twelve-year-old Tucker Scrap, abandoned as an infant among the orphans of Hellip, learned early. Along with her friends Ash and Kally, Tucker spends her time keeping one step ahead of the unjust laws, stealing what she needs to survive, and pondering her own unknown origins—and those of the enchanted bracelet with which she was found.

Now, both Ash and Kally have vanished from the orphanage, perhaps headed for the faraway city where Ibis still rules. When a mysterious girl named Vivian arrives in Hellip with a strange invitation to Tucker, the leader of the orphans decides that this may be her opportunity to find her missing friends. But more than this: it may become an opportunity to recover her hidden inheritance, and to change the fate of an entire kingdom.

The introduction to a fantasy world rich with ancient magic, enigmatic gypsies, palace labyrinths, and deep woods haunted by strange and forbidding creatures, Emory Sharplin’s debut novel tells the story of Tucker Scrap: a bold, memorable heroine at the center of a centuries-old mystery, stepping into her destiny at last.

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Full disclosure, I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am really happy that I decided to request this galley because it was awesome, I loved it. It has been awhile since I stayed up with a book as late as I did with this one. I’m talking 4 am guys. I did not want to put this book down and I just had to see where the story was going and what was going to happen with the characters. This is book one of a series so after having read this book, I’m itching to read the next one. When, when when are we getting another book?!

There was a very interesting cast of characters that I can’t wait to learn more about and I am mostly looking forward to just seeing their interactions with each other. Especially with Napier, Colt, Kally and Tucker. I feel like there is going to be alot of drama there in book two, not to mention the drama with Tucker, Vivian, the rebellion and the King. When I started the book I thought it was going to be a much darker story than it turned out to be and I think I would have liked that but I still really loved the story and enjoyed it so much. It was very entertaining and fun to read. I definitely lost myself in this story and loved the writing style. I loved Tucker as our main character, she’s definitely tough and scrappy but also surprisingly feminine, I loved that balance. One of my most favorite aspects of the story are the gypsies and I am hoping that they play a larger role in book two, which I’m assuming they will because of what happened at end.

This was a great YA fantasy read and I cannot wait to continue this story. I give this story five stars and a recommend!