The Tethered Mage

I’m a sucker for a fantasy novel involving magic and a strong female character. The Tethered Mage is absolutely perfect for anyone who enjoys the same.

img-0778Welcome to the Serene Empire. Where children with the mage-mark are taken to the Mews to become Falcons, an elite group of magic-wielders who are at the mercy of the Empire’s political schemes. Lady Amalia Cornaro, the daughter of a well-respected Council member, has just found herself a Falconer and in the middle of a political battle she has no interest in waging. But family duty calls and she must find a way to save her beloved home from those who would destroy while also navigating the struggles of having a Falcon who despises everything they stand for.

The Tethered Mage had me staying up late simply to finish “just one more chapter”. Caruso does an incredible job of creating a system of magic, politics, and even a bit of romance that work so well together. This book managed to anger me, bring me laughter, and intrigue me beyond measure. I didn’t want it to end! Thankfully, this is just book one of her trilogy and I can’t wait to get my hands on book two and see what else happens in Eruvia.

#FictionFriday: The Sight

It’s Friday!!! *cue happy dance* I don’t know about y’all but it’s supposed to be gorgeous today and I intend to enjoy every bit of this weather. Anyone else happy to have those winter blues melt away?

This #FictionFriday I’d like to introduce you to The Sight. I read this book a few years back and absolutely fell in love with David Clement-Davies’s work. I even went out and bought another of his books because I loved the stories he was telling.

51WsYOlYyFLIn the middle of a Transylvanian winter, a wolf pack seeks shelter. As they are stalked by a lone wolf, Morgra, possessed by a terrifying power known as the sight. Because of this mysterious curse, Morgra knows there is a wolf pup in the pack that has power even greater than her own. The pack will do anything to protect the pup, even as far as starting a war involving all of nature.

When I first heard about The Sight, I was afraid it was going to be another White Fang but Clement-Davies does a wonderful job of creating his own story. I love a good animal story (although Watership Down tore me up) and this is one of the best. If you like stories like the ones mentioned above, I highly recommend picking up The Sight or Fire Bringer. Both are solid works and will leave you wanting more!

Carry On

I love books that dabble with magic. Seriously, you wanna be my friend? Suggest a good fantasy novel to read (bonus points if it’s a series). So obviously, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. Ask my husband. I made him watch the movies and he kept asking questions. All I could tell him is he needs to read the books. (He still hasn’t read them.) So I was excited to pick up Carry On. I’d only read one other Rainbow Rowell book and was in love with her writing style.

IMG-2291Simon Snow has been raised in the Normal world most of his life, hopping from orphanage to foster home, never really knowing where he belongs. Until The Mage comes for him and opens his eyes to the World of Mages and the magic within. But most of the time Simon can’t get a spell out correctly and the rest of the time he’s sitting something on fire. Now it’s his final year at Watford, the wizarding school, and he must face a multitude of troubles, including a magic-eating monster that is terrorizing this place he has come to call “home”.

Sounds very similar to a certain other magic-wielding orphan, right? That’s what I thought too when I started Carry On. It put a bad taste in my mouth because it seemed like Rowell was trying to rewrite the Harry Potter story. While there are some strong similarities between the two, Carry On definitely stands apart. With some intricacies not shown in Harry Potter and an ending that left me unsettled, I was sucked in. Rainbow Rowell is a phenomenal author. Once again I was blown away by her story-weaving abilities. In the end, I absolutely loved reading Simon Snow’s story. If I had to complain about anything, it’s that I wish she had turned it into a series if only so I could stay in that world a little longer.

Lily and the Octopus

IMG-1522For those who don’t know me, I’m a huge animal lover. I currently own (or am owned by) 4 cats and 3 dogs. But one is particularly close to me. My German Shepherd, Shyera, is my furbaby. She’s my best friend and an amazing dog. I honestly can’t imagine my life without her. So when Lily and the Octopus popped up on my book club list, I knew it was going to hit me hard. In fact, I’ve never had a book affect me so much.

In Lily and the Octopus, we’re introduced to Ted and his dachshund Lily. They have a routine and a close relationship. They even carry on conversations with one another. But in the midst of their day-to-day life, Ted notices an octopus on Lily’s head. How it suddenly came to be there, he doesn’t know but it’s there now and he must do something about it. Steven Rowley does an amazing job of bringing the reader into the struggles of trying to save the one you love from something that’s so hard to fight. How do you decide between what your heart wants and what is right? And how do you handle the consequences of your decision?

I’m not kidding guys. You will need boxes upon boxes of tissues. Lily and the Octopus explores all that it means to fall in love with a four-legged friend, to have them integrate themselves so completely into your life, and the trials and tribulations that come when an octopus decides to visit. I highly recommend picking this book up the next chance you get!

DSC_3157My puppy, Shyera

Futura: a novella

21jVaTxwrHL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Paris. The future. Things have changed. Technology has advanced. Nature has receded. Except in Paris, where they have managed to integrate both nature and technology to create a haven for all.

In Jordan Phillips’ fiction novella, we explore Paris as it could be in the future. There middle class is now successful and known as Basics. You are not required to work. In fact, cooking has even become a hobby as AI units known as the Invisibles take care of pretty much everything humans may need.

In the midst of all this technology, Ruby yearns for a baby. But after a failed relationship, how is she to get what she wants? Sure, the Invisibles can help but she prefers a bit of nostalgia in this. As Ruby wrestles with being happy in her life and wanting a little one to love, we see her day-to-day interactions in this new Paris.

While I enjoyed Phillips’ story, I was left disappointed. I wanted more. I wanted to see more of Paris in the new era, more of how things had changed. I feel Phillips simply skimmed the surface of this world she has created. I hope she one day decides to flesh this story out so we can go deeper into Futura.

Time’s a Thief

512g7Rgn-sL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_B.G. Firmani’s Time’s a Thief takes place in 1980s New York, and early 2000s New York. We follow Francesca “Chess” Varani through her years at Barnard. Coincidentally also where Firmani attended. Immediately we meet Kendra Marr-Lowenstein, a wild child from a high class family.  Chess is instantly taken with Kendra and her crazy ways. Throughout Firmani’s novel, we follow the ups and downs of Chess and Kendra’s friendship as well as just how deeply Chess finds herself in the Marr-Lowenstein family and the number they do on her.

While Time’s a Thief was easy to fall into and very easy to read, I found myself annoyed with the incessant lists of poets, composers, and literaries that seemed to add nothing to the story other than to flaunt Firmani’s knowledge. Beyond that, the novel read like a stream of consciousness writing. Very Bohemian and Kerouac-esque. I didn’t love the book but I didn’t hate it. I won’t give anything away but the ending seemed very bland to me as if nothing had actually happened through the entire story.

Still, if you’re looking for a novel to kill the time then Time’s a Thief is a good choice. As Firmani’s first novel it could use some work.

I received a copy of Time’s a Thief from NetGalley for review.

The Children

20170804_105908This book was difficult for me to get through. Not so much that it was a heavy read but more that it didn’t hold my interest. For those that know me, I’m a completionist, which comes in handy when I need to finish a book but just can’t find anything to keep me hooked.

The Children tells the story of a jigsaw family, one that has been split up and put back together but not quite correctly. The pieces sort of fit but there’s still some dissonance amongst them. Especially when Spin brings home his new fiance Laurel. In a family where no one talks about anything and secrets are being kept, how can a family move on from the past?

Ann Leary gives a cast of characters not quite unique and a story that for the first fourteen chapters doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Nothing seems to really happen until the last four chapters of the book. By that point, I had kind of given up hope on the story. I was never quite sure where Mrs. Leary was going with this family or what the endgame was. In the end, it was a mediocre story with an ending that seemed to be rushed and half-hearted.

A Study in Charlotte

51Kt7MWjz2L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I picked up A Study in Charlotte a while back and have been looking forward to reading for quite some time. I’m a huge Sherlock fan and this book lived up to the legend, but don’t be confused. It can easily stand on its own as a whole new take on the Holmes-Watson relationship.

Brittany Cavallaro brings her own spin on the history of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson with all new characters to love. Even though it’s a retake on a classic, Cavallaro doesn’t leave out the wit and mystery that we’re so fond of from previous Holmes stories.

A Study in Charlotte brings to life Charlotte Holmes, the great-great-great-granddaughter of the famous Sherlock Holmes. Studying in Connecticut at a boarding school, she meets her counterpart James Watson (yes, that Watson). It isn’t long before the two have found themselves in the midst of a murder case and they are the key suspects. In true Holmes fashion, Charlotte takes the lead in trying to get to the bottom of things while James becomes her sidekick. While Cavallaro borrows some stories from the original adventures, she manages to write her own version and the twist of a possible romance between Watson and Holmes adds a whole other layer to this novel.

Lovers of the original Holmes stories would do well to pick this one up! A Study in Charlotte is the first of a planned trilogy. I can’t wait to pick up the second installment to see what Cavallaro has planned for our tag team.

 

The Handmaid’s Tale

9780525435006_p0_v1_s192x300I’ve wanted to read this book for quite some time. And with the release of the Hulu series, my desire to read it increased. So when my friend and I were putting together our book club list, we both had it at the top of our choices. I can see why it has taken the world by storm and especially in light of recent political events.

The Handmaid’s Tale drops you into a world where things have drastically changed. The Constitution is no longer in effect and religion rules. We follow a woman, a Handmaid, named Offred. Although that’s not her real name, but women now are called by their “owner’s” name. Women are no longer allowed to read, or write, or even form friendships. The Handmaids are even more strict about what women can and can’t do because the Handmaids have the important task of procreation.

It’s hard not to read this novel and see how the world could come to this point. Margaret Atwood wrote The Handmaid’s Tale in 1986 and it holds lessons that are true even now. The characters are unique and it’s quite easy to become attached to our main character. While Atwood does a wonderful job portraying “what could be”, my one complaint is that the ending is too sudden. Understandably so, but I wish we had more to go on. I wish that at least a good majority of the loose-ends were tied up. While I would have prefered a more solid ending, I can’t ignore how timeless this story is.

The Thirteenth Tale

81KOIdTwCVLWhen I picked up The Thirteenth Tale, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. The blurb on the back doesn’t give much for a reader to go on which I suppose adds to the mystery of the book itself. I’d never read any of Diane Setterfield’s work and was curious as to her writing style and storytelling abilities. Honestly, I’m so glad that this is the first of her books that I picked up.

The Thirteenth Tale is an intriguing novel of twins. We’re introduced to Margaret Lea, a young woman who works in her father’s antique bookshop as well as being an amateur biographer. One day she is contacted by the elusive Vida Winter, the world’s most prolific storyteller. Miss Winter has also never told her true story to anyone. But suddenly, she’s decided to tell everything to Margaret. As her story unfolds, Margaret finds that amidst the mystery of this author, they have something in common.

Setterfield manages to create a web of intrigue among all of the characters. She picks at your brain and carries you through this mystery until the very end. All in all, a very unique story and one I would highly recommend, especially to book lovers.