Book Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

22544764Title:  Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher: Del Rey
Length: 435 pages
Format: Hardcover
Publication Date:  May 19, 2015
Rating – 5/5

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

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This book has been on my TBR list for a few months and it was one of the few new releases that I have been flirting with buying and reading. Needless to say I was super excited when both Vaginal Fantasy and Sword and Laser book clubs chose Uprooted for their reading picks this month. While I am anxiously waiting for the Vaginal Fantasy Google hangout I decided to go ahead and post my review on this book!

As you already know, I love me some Fantasy whether it’s childrens, YA or adult. I just love it all and want to read every fantasy novel ever…I have a long way to go! Reading Uprooted was definitely a reminder of some of the things I love about Fantasy books. The plot itself was interesting with the corrupted wood bordering the villages and threatening to overtake them and the mysterious wizard taking a girl from the villages every ten years to help in his fight to keep the wood at bay. I thought it was fairly obvious who would actually be chosen to go live with the wizard but that didn’t make it any less interesting or scary because at that point we are still unsure of the specifics of why he chooses a girl to live in the tower with him every ten years.

I really loved alot of the characters especially Agnieszka and Kasia. I was also intrigued by the Dragon although I wish I could get more in depth into his psyche and his background, that would be an interesting book! I also really craved more of a romance than we were given but I do appreciate the reasons behind it not playing such a huge part in this book. I love Agnieszka’s strong will and independence. I love her stubbornness and her growth from a child to a powerful woman of basically her own making.

It took me awhile to read this book, not for lack of interest or time, but mostly because I was trying to savor my reading of this book. This book has the kind of writing that you want to just live in and soak up every single word, it was beautiful. It was dense which I have come to expect in most fantasy books (and which I absolutely love) but it wasn’t too dense, if that makes any sense. It felt just right. It was a complicated story with maybe one or two predictable things but the rest of it was definitely unexpected and wholly original. It has magic, intrigue, conflict and a bit of romance. I loved this book and gave it a five star rating.

Let’s talk about the cover. Is this not one of the most beautiful covers you have ever seen, I promise you that this book is more beautiful in person. Now that I have read it I love the cover even more as it is wholly fitting for the story. Just beautiful. I’m not usually a fan of yellowish book covers but this one is gorgeous, even more so in person and I, of course, love books with deckle edge pages.

I think that this book is definitely a read that fans of epic fantasy won’t want to miss!

Book Review: Eternal Craving (Gods of the Night #2) by Nina Bangs

5961342Title: Eternal Craving (Gods of the Night #2) by Nina Bangs
Genre:  Romance – Paranormal
Publisher: Leisure Books
Page count: 308 pages
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: May 1, 2009
Rating – 4/5

He’s been promised a new life as the hunter he once was. But Al soon learns that all the rules have changed. Now he must control his most basic urges: the need to kill, to feed, to mate. And the woman he wants looks at him with both heat and fear in her eyes. Jenna Maloy doesn’t buy this story that he’s come to Philadelphia to save souls. She seems to see through the layers of deception to the primitive heart of him. With her beside him, Al stalks the dark forces that crouch in the city’s night shadows. But the real battle rages in his heart. Love is a formidable opponent. How can he ask her to stay with him after she’s seen the savagery of his beast? He only knows that if she turns from him he’ll be cursed with an eternal craving.

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Eternal Craving is the main pick of this month for Vaginal Fantasy Book Club over on Goodreads. I hadn’t read a Vag Fan pick in awhile and decided to get back into reading the picks and watching the hangouts. This month’s theme was dinosaur fiction!

Eternal Craving is about a pack of immortals trying to save humanity from the events of the Mayan doomsday prophecy. Immortals along with demons, werewolves and vampires are planning to bring about humanity’s fall but the eleven have vowed to wipe out the troublemakers one by one. The eleven, although they appear human, have the souls of dinosaurs trapped within them and they are able to release their dinosaur souls to get their jobs done. They are rage filled and primal with all of their primal instincts to lead them. One in particular, Al, finds himself in turmoil over a beautiful woman named Jenna whom is also a key to humanity’s survival. Little does he know how much she is going to impact his soul.

I am really surprised at how much I ended up enjoying this book. I really went into it not expecting it to be great but I thought it was really entertaining and fun to read. I thought that some parts of the story and specific lines were really cheesy and made me chuckle to myself but that just made it even more fun to read. I thought that the story itself was pretty interesting and really different from anything I’ve read to date. The pacing was really good as well. I’ve definitely never read, nor thought I would ever read a romance novel that featured a dinosaur as a main love interest. Interesting right? It sounds outlandish but it was rather interesting and fun. This happens to be book two in the series and I can say for sure that I would definitely be willing to read the other books in this series. It was pleasantly steamy in some parts and the steamy scenes weren’t cheesy so I was happy about that. It wasn’t a complex book but it was a good little read…light, entertaining and unique. Definitely a guilty pleasure read and I’m one hundred percent sure it can be read in one sitting. I do recommend it to paranormal romance fans looking for an entertaining book to read!

Book Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance Series #1) by N.K. Jemisin

The Hundred Thousand KingdomsTitle: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance Series #1) written by N.K. Jemisin
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Orbit (imprint of Hatchette Book Group)
Page count: 395
Format: Paperback
Rating: 5/5

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle with cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother’s death and her family’s bloody history.

With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Yeine will learn how perilous it can be when love and hate – and gods and mortals – are bound inseparably together. (Goodreads)

I read this book as part of Vaginal Fantasy Book Club’s main pick for this month (if you don’t know about Vaginal Fantasy cruise on over to the Goodreads club or click on the name above). I was excited to read this book because the cover is so gorgeous and the description screams at me as something that I would love to read, since as you know I am a fantasy fiend.

Right off the bat I didn’t fall in love the story. I actually found it to be a little confusing at first and for some reason I couldn’t really get a grip on the perspective of the story because, although the perspective is always Yeine’s perspective, it confused me on how the story was being delivered to us through Yeine. It switches from sounding like we’re observing the story from her perspective to her telling us the story but she’s actually talking to the entity residing in her body so that sort of got confusing for me at first. Aside from that, once I was able to wrap my head around that I became so engrossed in the story that I couldn’t put it down.

I feel like Yeine is such a strong female character, albeit she has her moments, but it was great to read a story where the female lead is just ballsy and powerful even though she doesn’t necessarily start off that way. I also thought that the matriarchal society she grew up in, the Darr, was really interesting I would love to learn more about that and I’m hoping that the rest of the series will satisfy that want for me. I really enjoyed the world building in this book, it’s definitely a book in which the detailed history of the peoples and the Gods interested me and I found myself wanting to learn more about it all. I got a great deal of information about the world and the people/entities that populate it from this book and I’m just looking forward to building on that in the subsequent books. I did go through a large part of the book in which I was just sad for Yeine because of her situation in the book regarding her life but this gets turned around in a way that I would never have expected and this part of the story was just so awesome and fulfilling.

Towards the middle of the story I really had no sense of where the story was going to go which was awesome. It ended going in a direction that I could never have guessed and even though I didn’t love the story at first when I closed the pages of this book I was in love with it. The conclusion of this book just totally did it for me, it was entirely satisfying but it also ended in possibility and I’m happy to see that this is the first book in a series because I will happily crack open the next book soon. Ahhh! I’ve been reading some wonderful books lately!!!

Book Review: Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner

61SFC+IyI8LTitle: Swordspoint written by Ellen Kushner
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Bantam Dell
Page count: 286
Format: Paperback
Rating: 3/5
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #39

In a city ruled by the nobility and their whims, swordsmen, men who earn their living fighting for the honor of the nobles, are in high demand. These men are contracted (sometimes) by the nobles to challenge other men who have dishonored them and fight them…sometimes to the death. Although rules based in honor exist in such a profession, the lines can far too easily become blurred. Richard St. Viere, the best swordsman alive at this point as well as the most sought after, finds himself tangled in a web spun by members of the nobility and his honor.

I read this book for the Vaginal Fantasy Book Club July alternate pick! I liked this book, I thought it was an interesting story and a rather light, entertaining read.

I especially liked the way this story starts. I think it’s really great and valuable when an author can capture your attention from the opening paragraph. That in itself makes me want to read the whole book. I wouldn’t say I devoured this book even though it was a light read…after I initially got into the story, it lost me but then captured me again.

The title page states that the story is a “Melodrama of Manners” which after reading the story is easy to see. It’s always interesting to read stories like this where there are different aspects of society (i.e. social status) that have their own specific “understood” set of rules by which people must conduct themselves in situations and in their interactions with people of different as well as the same social standing as themselves. A lot of the time in these types of books, as is very much part of the conflict in this book…misunderstanding the way a person acts or what they say or misunderstanding the rules of society is a key driving force. Pride and Prejudice, although of a different genre, comes to mind when I think of a book where manners and misunderstandings are key driving forces in the plot of the story. I love books like that.

Although I didn’t LOVE this book I did like it, I would entertain reading the next one. I would like to know more about the characters and the world as I did not think they were particularly “well-built” for me. I don’t feel like I had a great sense of who these characters were, even St. Vier although I am familiar with his values I was left with questions on things that had happened in his past that weren’t resolved by explanation in the story and whatnot. Since this isn’t the only book I’m optimistic that these things will be cleared up for me when I do read the next book so needless to say, I must read it. Also because this was a Vaginal Fantasy read I must say that there is what I would deem a strong lack of sexy times in this book. Although there are some mentions of sexy times, they are definitely weak in description and not at all interesting. They really are just mentions.

This book is really not the type of fantasy book that features dragons and magic…but focuses more on swordplay and honor. The swordplay itself is breathtaking and exciting. I think fantasy fans may enjoy this book!

Book Review: Lord of the Fading Lands (Tairen Soul#1) by C.L. Wilson

book cover Lord of the Fading Lands by C_ L_ WilsonTitle: Lord of the Fading Lands (Tairen Soul #1) written by C.L. Wilson
Genre: Fantasy – Romance
Published by Harper Collins
Page count: 355
Format: Ebook (read on Barnes and Nobles HD+)
Rating: 5/5
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #34

After a thousand years of living a bitter, lonely life, Rain, the lord of the Fey and the last Tairen Soul finally feels the call of his truemate’s soul. He travels to the distant city of Celieria to find her and it is Ellysetta Baristani, the eldest (adopted) daughter of a woodcarver and his wife whose soul calls out to meet his. Rain begins to court her to win her heart as is custom through Fay tradition and Ellysetta, despite her fear of magic and the Fay, finds herself bewitched by Rain and the seemingly endless amount of love he has for her. But these are dangerous times for Ellysetta and even more dangerous times for the Fay. Rumors of murders performed by the Deilreisen, members of the Fay who have been outcast, echo along the borders of the mortal world and through the cities causing the people of the cities to fear and curse the Fay…the very people whom Ellysetta will soon be part of as their Queen. Tensions abound and danger lurks around every corner as the Lord of the Fay tries to win Ellie’s heart…little do they know that an age old enemy of the Fay has plans of its own.

This book was the June Alternate pick for Vaginal Fantasy Book Club! I read and reviewed the main pick “The Fire Lord’s Lover” early on in June and loved it. This book was no different, I absolutely loved this book as well, I just thought they were really fun books to read.

I gave this book a full 5 out of 5 stars. I thought it was wonderful. I thought the storytelling was wonderful, I thought the story was magnificent.

The story takes place in a fantasy setting where we have Fay, Magic and Mages but even though it’s a fantasy novel there is a very big, romance plot in this book. I feel as though the Romance plot (the Tairen Soul and his mate) overshadows the fantasy plot (the Fay and the Mages) a bit… I’m not sure if this was the aim of the book to be more Romance rather than epic fantasy…I really liked it though. I thought the Romance was fantastic and just wonderfully romantic so if you’re in that sort of romantic mood and you like fantasy novels, you would probably like reading this book. Once I got into this book I had a hard time putting it down, I just really wish that we saw a lot more of the fantasy plot, I really liked seeing the bits and pieces of fighting that we get to see…I wanted more swordfighting and wanted to see more magic and more of the elven vs. mage storyline. I also wanted to know about the Tairen’s and see more of the Tairens. Also we hear a lot about the Fading Lands and it’s really a place I would like to see but we don’t get to go to the Fading Lands in this book so I’m assuming that we may see it in the future books since this is a series.

I will definitely be reading more of this series  (lately I’ve been reading some great books that are the first in a series so I have a kabillion books on my reading list!). I loved seeing the relationship blossom between Ellie and Rain and although we see a pretty big shift in their relationship in this book we don’t see any resolution in their relationship, we see the beginnings of what is supposed to be this unbreakable, magical, ultimate bond and it’s clear that the bond between them will grow into something much stronger. The ending was pretty abrupt so books that end that way just really make me think that I HAVE to read the next one. I am really interested in how they grow with each other, I’m interested in seeing what becomes of this whole Fey/Mage dynamic, I’m interested to see what is in store for the Queen because I hate her lol and I’m interested to see the Fading Lands and learn more about life there and about the Tairens. Yes…I will definitely be reading the next one.

Book Review: Ghost Planet by Sharon Lynn Fisher

Title: Ghost Planet written by Sharon Lynn Fisher
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Published by Tom Doherty Associates LLC (Tor Science Fiction)
Page count: 257
Format: Ebook (read on Barnes and Nobles Nook HD+)
Rating: 4/5
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #23

Needing an escape, Elizabeth has accepted a new position on the planet, Ardagh 1. Ardagh 1, whose atmosphere models itself after Earth is inhabited by the colonists and their “ghosts”. The colonists are human immigrants from Earth that are trying to populate Ardagh 1 and the ghosts are the alien natives of the planet whom have attached to humans which has in turn weakened them so that they are dependent on us. Much research is being put into the relationship between the humans and the ghosts but research that is mostly in favor of humans taking over the planet and ridding themselves of the ghosts. Under the “Ghost Protocol” which was pioneered by Elizabeth’s new boss, Murphy, the colonists are forbidden to interact with the Ghosts that basically shadow them throughout their daily lives. The ghosts cannot travel past a certain distance of their host without experiencing some pretty painful repercussions.

At Elizabeth’s first meeting with her new boss she is immediately drawn to him and his intriguing blue eyes…a sense of familiarity overwhelming her. As they become acquainted and shamelessly flirt each other up, Elizabeth and Murphy discover something about her that changes their work and personal relationship, as well as ultimately culminating in their efforts to amend the rift between humans and the ghosts.

This was an interesting book!

I actually read this book because it was the April pick for the Vaginal Fantasy Book Club (which I have discovered fairly recently!) This is a book club ran by Felicia Day, Bonnie Burton, Kiala Kazabee, and Veronica Belmont who are all just super awesome. Needless to say I am super addicted to all things Vaginal Fantasy Book Club related at the moment and the next hang out is on April 30th (I believe!) so I wanted to read the book they were reading and be prepared. The books being read in this book club are romance books but romance books that have strong stories to them as well which I really really like…so far I’ve seen them read Historical Romances, Paranormal Romances, Erotica, etc. Anyway check it out! Sorry about that sidebar!

I have to say that I really like the cover to this book. I love that it’s this very ethereal color green which seems sort of like an alien like color and it also fits in nicely with the story and the plants in the story (I will say no more on that!) I really like how it shows Murphy on the top of the cover and then Elizabeth on the lower part of the cover in what looks like a reflection of him…except its her. I think this fits so perfectly to the whole colonist/ghost relationship we have going on in this book.

I really liked the world the author has built for us in this book. I think the story itself is really interesting and creative. I love the sci-fi feel of this book. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. In the past I haven’t read a lot of romance books but I am really trying to fit some into my reading list this year. What I really liked about this book is that it certainly does have its pretty strong romantic element to it but it has this really strong sci-fi story that is really just a treat to read, it really is. I loved the romantic story of this book too. They are like the two most unlikely people to fall for each other and when things are just stacking up against them I just found myself just wanting them to be together. It was frustrating for Elizabeth and also frustrating for me lol. There is quite a bit of storybuilding in this book so if you’re looking for a romance, it takes a bit for the romance to actually build up. I felt a personal connection with the character and I think this may be from the way the story was written or just because I really liked Elizabeth’s character. As I was reading it I was thinking that the story was paced pretty slow but looking back and putting the book and the story back into perspective I really like the way the story  unfolded.

I definitely could not put this book down…my poor husband would try to talk to me sometimes and I was just too engrossed in this book to listen most of the time lol but he understood, when my nose is in a book there’s pretty much no getting it out until I’ve at least finished the chapter I’m reading. I loved this book and I really wanted to give it five stars but the only reason I didn’t is because the book did leave me with questions that were unanswered, which would make sense to me if it was a series but I don’t believe it is going to be. I wish it were though because I would totally read the next one lol. I can’t wait to read more of the author’s books though. I cruised on over to her website and it looks like she is sticking to the sci-fi genre which is fine by me!