Sowing (The Purification Era Book 1): Book Review

Fire

I find it ironic that while trying to deal with my own past of emotional abuse and trauma, I manage to pick up this book Sowing by Angie Grigaliunas. Maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment. Either way, I’m excited to give you the details because this book is dark and fascinating.

Book Blurb

Sowing

They can take your house, your daughter, whatever they want.

For Ariliah, life under the militarized Hulcondans is one of order and safety. Despite the soldiers’ ruthless policies, she trusts their judgment. They alone provide protection from the enemies lurking beyond the city wall.

For her older sister, Rabreah, every glance from a Hulcondan is a threat. Though even a whisper against them is treason worthy of death, Rabreah is determined to end their tyranny. Joining an underground resistance is her only hope – until she realizes she doesn’t know the people she’s aligned herself with at all. Unsure who to trust but unable to back out, she must work alongside the attractive yet infuriating rebel leader who reminds her far too much of the soldiers she hates.

But with subversive posters appearing throughout the city and people dying on the blade of an unknown assailant, the sisters’ world begins to crumble.

And as the line between friend and enemy blurs, both girls must face the truth: everything is about to change.”

The Characters

What can I say about this book? I enjoyed it. I felt for Ariliah on a painfully real level. I’ve experienced very similar circumstances so I understand her timidity and hidden strength, oh so very well. Her forgiving nature, her inner shaming, her confusion, all of the things. Grigaliunas did a fantastic job portraying her and allowing her to grow throughout the story.

I also felt like Rabreah was portrayed well. Quite a few people mention in the reviews for this book, that she doesn’t grow much and shows a lot of anger. I’m going to deviate from the crowd and say, I liked that about her.

*Spoilers* It just makes sense. Her mother is extremely physically and psychologically abusive. The only authority figure she thought she could trust completely blindsides her and betrays her. She’s been freaking sexually assaulted and publicly humiliated. Not to mention, she’s also considered the city whore and has no prospects of being redeemed from this status. Yeah, I’d be pretty pissed off too and it would take A LOT to make me change my emotional state. Her being angry all the time makes perfect sense to me. *Spoilers*

Whatever

Also, the side characters are fascinating and full of depth. Especially Masrekah. I’m really curious how his character will develop in the ensuing books. I also really enjoyed the friendship between Edaliah and Rabreah.

Favorite Scenes

I’m going to be deliberately vague here because I don’t want any spoilers, so I’m going to apologize in advance. When Ariliah snaps. I wanted to cheer. When Ember gets tested. Man, that whole scene, especially after the fact. I was ticked off too. The baby boy and what happens to him. All of these scenes are rough, but they’re powerful.

My Personal Review

I give this book a 7.5/10 stars. Grigaliunas did a good job dealing with dark elements in a tasteful way. Granted, this book isn’t for everyone. It delves into abuse, child marriage, oppression, murder, rape, etc. But I liked the complexities of the world and how the characters interacted with what life threw at them.

I also really enjoyed the language that she used in this story. As a book reviewer and writer, reading her work was very telling of how much effort she put into making her words shine and punch.

Because this is a series, the ending felt more abrupt. I was expecting more of a greater climax, but it sort of ended in a small “uh oh” that didn’t quite do it for me. Also, as much as I enjoyed the characters, I didn’t experience a huge sense of loss from any of them. Pain? Yes. Heartache, frustration? Absolutely. But heart wrenching, tear jerking, loss? Not so much from our two heroines.

I’m going to go off on a tangent for just a sec. Two books that had me in tears. The first Hunger Games and Crown of Midnight. Why? Both stories had tragic character deaths that rip the main heroines to pieces. As a reader, I cared about those losses. I was devastated by their deaths and I cried right along with the protagonists and rooted for them to take things up a notch. Because things just got personal.

Katniss

Now, I’m not saying that Grigaliunas needs to kill off her characters, but I think the story would have benefited from some kind of tremendous loss for our heroines. There were hints of this in Ariliah’s arc, but not quite enough to really grip me.

Other than that, I was very entertained and I’m excited to read the next book in the series!

About the Author

Angie Grigaliunas

This is taken directly from Amazon on her page:

“Angie Grigaliunas (grig-ah-LOO-nahs) is a part-time normal person and full-time author of fantasy/dystopian young adult books. And also some romance. (“She admits it! Murderer!”) She loves Jesus, the woods, and the stars, and has always wanted to be a superhero with a secret identity.

She has completed four books: one about elves that needs a massive revision before it ever sees the light of day, one that is part of her current story but also needs a massive revision to fit a new storyline, and the actual first and second books (Sowing and Quelling) in her dystopian fantasy series (The Purification Era). When she’s not writing, she’s usually Facebooking – ack! – or thinking about story stuff. Or exercising. Or eating ice cream, because life is short and ice cream is delicious. Despite several of her writing friends claiming she’s Canadian, she is not; she lives in Ohio with her dear husband, their goofy dog, and their crazy cats.” You can also find her on Twitter.

Book Specs

Author : Angie Grigaliunas
Series : Sowing (The Purification Era Book 1)
Published By : Self Published
Year Published : August 9, 2016
Genre / Tags : Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
Formats : Paperback, Kindle
# of Pages : (Paperback) 396

Thanks for taking the time to check out this post! Have you read Sowing? What were your thoughts on the book? I’d love to hear it in the comments!

Have an amazing day!

Theft of Swords: Book Review

I just finished the last book of the trilogy Riyria Revelations and I’ve got to say, these books were fun! They’re an epic fantasy centered around two thieves who get mixed into all sorts of trouble.

Meet Royce and Hadrian, two unlikely partners who outwit kings, wizards, and the occasional dwarf. As the famous guild Riyira, they perform tasks impossible for other mortals. However, when their last mission entangles them in a murder, they have to race against the clock to clear their names.

The Characters

Royce and Hadrian

I adore Royce and Hadrian. They are two completely opposite personalities who make the perfect team. I love their humor and teasing and rich history. I love that Hadrian dreams of being a hero while Royce just wants to live a life of peace and luxury.

The other cast of characters grew on me the further I delved into the books. I struggled a little to get through book one. I just wanted to stick with Royce and Hadrian the whole time, but the other characters did grow more interesting over time. By book three, it wasn’t an issue.

Favorite Book Moments

There were a lot of epic moments in these books. Any Myron moment of Myron being his awesome Myron self was wonderful, especially in book three. (Can you tell I love Myron? Lol!)

Every time Royce Melborne said he hated dwarves. (Small spoiler) That moment when Arista’s suitor gave her the gift that meant the most to her in Book Three. When freaking Thrace finally took up the mantel (in book three) and proved what a Bad-A she was. I mean, she’s already proven herself to be a Bad-A in book two, but book three was so awesome. And Gwen. Every scene with Gwen. Every. Scene. (Spoiler: Book three was so heart wrenching!! 😭)

Pretty much everything accumulates and turns awesome by book three, so I definitely recommend reading all three books. Anyways, the list could go on, but those were some of my favorite moments and characters 😄.

My Personal Review

Overall, I give the trilogy 7/10 stars. There were definitely some funny moments and epic scenes. Like Lenore taking on Guy in book 3? Beautiful. But some of the exposition did slow down the plot a little. Also, because there’s a large cast of characters, I did have a hard time keeping track of everyone from time to time.

Other than that, if you’re looking for an adventure with personable characters and fun twists, this trilogy is for you. On a side note, I’ve heard the audio is superb and really brings the story to life.

Book Blurb

Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles-until they are hired to pilfer a famed sword. What appears to be just a simple job finds them framed for the murder of the king and trapped in a conspiracy that uncovers a plot far greater than the mere overthrow of a tiny kingdom.

Can a self-serving thief and an idealistic swordsman survive long enough to unravel the first part of an ancient mystery that has toppled kings and destroyed empires?

And so begins the first tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend.

About the Author

Michael J. Sullivan

Michael J. Sullivan began writing as a child when he found an old typewriter and put in the words “It was a dark and stormy night.” From that moment on, he worked to become a published author. After writing 13 books and receiving over 100 rejections, he decided writing wasn’t for him. It took him over a decade to begin writing again with the rule that he wouldn’t seek out publication.

Sullivan’s story is fascinating. His main goal of writing centered around helping his daughter (who is dyslexic) to read. His wife, after reading his third book, decided his novels needed to get out into the world. She also amassed hundreds of rejections until they both decided to aim towards small presses. When that didn’t work, their co-op team decided to self-publish.

After having five books in print, they gained more traction and he and his wife were able to traditionally publish. Overtime, he’s become a New York Times, USA Today, and Washington Post best selling author. You can read more of his story on his website. As an aspiring author, I find their story inspiring.

Everlost Between Life and Death

On my latest quest to the library, I was on the hunt for the book Scythe by Neal Shusterman. However, seeing no copies available, I found the first book of a trilogy by the same author, Everlost (No coinage is made upon the clicking of this link 😉 ). And I’ve got to say, I enjoyed it!

The book takes place in a world called Everlost. A place between life and death where lost souls find themselves when they fail to go beyond. Upon arriving, they find a new world filled with its own set of rules and rulers.

Everlost Summary

Everlost

“IT BEGINS WITH AN ACCIDENT.
Nick and Allie don’t survive the crash, and now their souls are stuck halfway between life and death in a sort of limbo called Everlost. It’s a magical yet dangerous place, where bands of lost souls run wild and anyone who stands in the same spot too long sinks to the center of the Earth. Frightened and determined, Nick and Allie aren’t ready to rest in peace just yet. They want their lives back, and their search for a way home will take them deep into the uncharted areas of Everlost. But the longer they stay, the more they forget about their pasts. And if all memory of home is lost, they may never escape this strange, terrible world.”

Book Review

This book was a delightful surprise for me. I’ve never read any of Shusterman’s books and it made me want to explore more of his writings. I found the rules of Everlost to be intriguing. Lost children have to survive monsters and be careful not to stand in one place too long or they truly sink to the center of the earth. It creates some interesting chase scenes and scenarios that I haven’t seen done anywhere else.

I really enjoyed the dynamics of the characters. You’ll see once you read the book, but I liked how Shusterman portrayed their relationships. It was quirky, but fun!

Favorite Moment

I can’t really say that this is a spoiler, but you’re welcome to skip this section just in case.

Spoilers gif

Throughout the book, the chapter headings will have a short snippet from one of Miss Mary’s many books. Except, when you get further in, you start to find other book quotes. My absolute favorite was this one Everything Mary Says Is Wrong by Allie. When I read that line, I about died with laughter. It was a great character moment for Allie that Shusterman caught because it perfectly captured Allie’s personality as well as captured what a young girl would totally title her own book. It was just beautiful lol!

Book Rating

I give this book a 7/10. (I’m changing my rating system, because 1. rating books is hard. And 2. there are so many nuances to creating a good story. I feel like a score of 1-10 will do more justice for the reviews that I write). It is a book geared towards a younger audience since the main characters are in the range of 11-15.

Even so, I found myself really enjoying it. I liked the characters. I liked the world Everlost and the creative rules it had. It was truly unique and I definitely recommend you check it out!

Book Information

Author : Neal Shusterman
Published By : Simon & Shuster Books For Young Readers
Year Published : June 20, 2008.
Genre / Tags : Teen, Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy
Formats : Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audiobook
# of Pages : 336 pages (Paperback)


Thanks for taking the time to read my review! Have you read Everlost? What were your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments!

Have a beautiful day!

When Gattaca meets Hunger Games and has Tea with Dracula

The Hunt Trilogy (I do not get commissions for links) is an exciting YA series filled with tension, suspense, and romance.

Have you ever read that one book that, upon finishing, made you throw it across the room? I never have. Until I read The Hunt.

The Hunt Trilogy

I have never read a book that had me cringing and panicking every time the main character fell asleep! Snoozing in this world could mean instant death. Actually, any sign of emotion, movement, or scent means extermination.

The Characters

Meet Gene. A human surviving in a city filled with vampire like creatures. His whole life, he has lived among them. Fighting to keep himself hidden from their sharp senses. If any beings from the night sense who and what he is, he’ll be on the menu.

This trilogy honestly surprised me by how much I enjoyed it. There were a whole host of events that I didn’t predict and I loved it! I really liked how each of the characters have adapted to this frightening world and struggled to understand their humanness or embraced what they are with their whole beings. (Depending on which characters 😉).

And trust me, you don’t want to get too attached to any of them. Andrew Fukuda did not hold back on character deaths. (Which, for me, I felt like some of the characters I didn’t have enough time to get to know before they got killed off. I wish he would have spent a little more time building a relationship with some of them so their deaths would have had more impact, but that was a minor issue.)

My Book Review

I give these books 4.5/5 stars. Like I said, the series genuinely surprised me by how much I enjoyed it. And the books only get more interesting after the first. I read them a month ago and it has literally been on my mind ever since. You might first believe it’s Dystopian, but, oh boy, wait until you get to the end lol! It just really made me stop and smile.

Book Blurb

The Hunt

Don’t Sweat. Don’t Laugh. Don’t draw attention to yourself. And most of all, whatever you do, do not fall in love with one of them.

Gene is different from everyone else around him. He can’t run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn’t hurt him and he doesn’t have an unquenchable lust for blood. Gene is a human, and he knows the rules. Keep the truth a secret. It’s the only way to stay alive in a world of night—a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood.

When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him. He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity?

About the Author

Andrew Fukuda

Andrew Fukuda worked as a criminal prosecutor in New York and studied history at Cornell. His first novel, Crossing, was selected by Booklist in 2010 as a Top Ten First Novel and Editor’s Choice for Best Adult Book for Young Adults. He now writes full-time on Long Island…” (Back cover of The Hunt).

Book Specs

The Hunt

Author : Andrew Fukuda
Published By : St. Martin’s Griffin
Year Published : 2012
Genre / Tags : Teen & Young Adult, Dystopian, Thriller, Suspense, Vampires
Formats : Kindle, Audiobook, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio cd
# of Pages : 304 pages (Hardcover)


Have you read The Hunt Trilogy? What were your thoughts on it? Please mention down below in the comments. 😊

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Have a beautiful day! 😊

Be Careful What You Wish For…

Sisters

Separated

  • Author: Renee Marski
  • Published by: Renee Marski
  • Year Published: 2019
  • Genre / Tags: Fiction, YA, Coming of Age
  • Moods: Light and cheerful
  • Formats: Paperback, eBook
  • Number of Pages: 248 pages, (Paperback)

Book Summary

Two sisters make a wish one fateful night, only to discover the next morning that the wish has come true. Now separated, they struggle to learn where they fit in this new life, with each other and with the lives they thought they wanted. Will they accept their new lives as they had wished for, or will they realize that they had exactly what they needed all along?

Separated

Review

Full disclaimer: I actually won this book in a giveaway and got a copy for free. So, I decided to do a review for it as thanks.

I really enjoyed this book lol! I honestly wasn’t sure if I would, but I finished it in two days and loved the ending. It left me smiling and cheerful for several hours! The two sisters Taylor and Adele felt real to me and I loved watching their character development throughout the story. They reminded me of many of the close friendships I’ve had in the past with my girlfriends and the kind of relationship I’ve always wanted to have with my own sister.

Separated had a few twists that I saw coming a mile away, and a couple that honestly surprised me. (Especially how the “separation” between the two sisters worked out. I didn’t expect that at all or Adele’s history). You might be able to predict most of the story and the ending, but I found myself wanting to dig deeper into the adventure and seeing how everything turns out.

I give this book 4/5 stars. For me, it was a fast and easy read. A fun summer adventure you can enjoy while chilling on the beach. If you like reading about sisterhood, teenage drama, fashion, and girl talk then this book is for you!

About thE Author

Renee Marski

Renee Marski is an American writer currently living in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and dogs. She works full time and writes on her spare time, when she can get a few moments to herself. She grew up on Sci-Fi, Luke Skywalker being her first love. She currently has several books in the works. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Fun Fact: The book Separated is dedicated to her sister, who also happens to be the inspiration behind the relationship between the two sisters in the story.

As always, thank you for reading 😊 If our have any book recommendations please let me know! Have a beautiful day ☺️

A Debut Intergalactic Adventure

Alpha Dawn, a high flying epic Sci-Fi with some “Firefly” vibes (And no, I don’t get any commissions for the links 😊).

Hello friends! I apologize for being absent the past couple of weeks. My life decided to turn into a big thunderstorm of stress and rain on my emotional stability. But all is well! I’m back in the blogging game with this debut self-published novel Alpha Dawn by Morgan R. R. Haze.

Alpha Dawn

Now, I’m going to be real with you. There were some things that I loved about this book and some things that I did not love so much. So, let’s start at the best point.

Alpha Dawn: The Beginning

The beginning of Alpha Dawn hooked me right into its universe centered around Teragene. Whole worlds could be formed by this substance, space ships fueled by it, and people mutated by it. It’s some crazy stuff!

That's crazy

(And invited clever world building especially with the planet Wyatt).

A downside to this vast new galaxy was the need to explain the rules and systems about how it worked (a plague shared by all epics with complex universes). I often felt like the characters explaining their place in the world and the world’s mechanics often slowed down the action. But notwithstanding, I loved the galaxy in this book.

The Characters

I loved the relationship between Jason and Ell. The idea of a man literally falling in love with his ship and people believing him to be off his rocker drew me in. I really enjoyed his and Ell’s history together (so much so, I wish the writers would write a prequel of how the Waylay got her crew together).

hint, hint

I also really enjoyed the history of the crew and how diverse they were. Yet, they worked together towards a common goal. There were a couple of things that did catch me off guard though and not in a good way. The next two paragraphs are spoilers, just a heads up. If you don’t want to be spoiled on the fun, just skip 🙂

Conflict, Conflict, Conflict

When Ell and Jason meet for the first time, I was sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting for drama to be thrown between them. They’ve never seen or touched each other. Ell was described as an awkward human being who’s never been good with people. So, if that’s the case, why was their first kiss so easy? I understand they love each other, but they’ve never even touched! If I was her, I’d have a horrible time sitting next to this attractive man and realizing that I’m married to him. I don’t think I’d be able to kiss him so easily. (Which brings up another question, has she ever kissed anyone before? A first kiss can be SUPER weird!) So, I just had a hard time with that.

Kissing fail

Also, Jason and Peter. The conflict between them was excellent, but I felt like it was resolved too soon! They haven’t really spoken or seen each other in years and suddenly Jason is married with his own family/crew? I’d definitely be thrown for a loop and it would not be so easy for me to get over in just one tussle. It would take weeks if not months for me to think about and come to terms with my relationship with my brother, if ever. Maybe that’s just me, but I felt like that drama could have added more tension throughout the entire book.

Spoiler over 😛

I just felt like there were some great opportunities for page turning, enticing conflict, and it wasn’t explored as much as I would have liked. It sometimes felt too easy. (Another example being the convict they had to turn in who got bloodied up. What if he’d managed to escape?)

I’m just going to add one more pet peeve. I don’t want to thrash the book, because there were some genuine moments that I enjoyed! But I want my reviews to be honest, and I hope, helpful.

If I see the same word used as a descriptor or noun on one page, I get tired of that word. “It was monolithic, comprised of three obelisks, two being smaller than the one located in the middle. The obelisks were long and rectangular, ending in sharp points at either end. On each of the obelisks there were four docking ports which protruded like spikes, one on each side of each obelisk” (280). The word obelisk is repeated a couple more times on that page, but you get the idea. There was a trend in this and it sometimes made it difficult for me to read.

I could go on, but like I said, I don’t want to completely trash the book. I loved the idea of it and there were a few moments that made me chuckle and get excited for what was to come.

Overall Book Rating

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars. I’ll let you decide on whether you’d like to read it or not, but I am hopeful to see improvements in book two and where the story leads. Alpha Dawn has a great premise and imaginative world building with some fun characters and lots of potential.

Book Blurb:

Galaxy
Photo Credit: Alexander Andrews

“In the far future humanity is in a paradox. The discovery of a dynamic ore has allowed humans to prevent their own extinction by saving their dying world. However, Terra Prime is ultimately consigned to oblivion in an unforeseen cataclysm. A cataclysm which has created the Void. Rather than be curious or fearful of unexplored space, most humans simply perceive the Void at the center of the known universe as the single greatest mystery of the cosmos…”

About the Authors

“Morgan R. R. Haze was born in the Mojave Desert. In such a barren landscape, it’s no wonder imagination to write this story was born. Yet, there is a twist… Morgan R.R. Haze is not one, but three siblings who use their penned name to write novels together.

While they were raised by the same parents, their life experiences have been vastly different: Love, extreme loss, being a wife, a husband, a mother, and a widower; being a manager, a government employee, a pharmaceutical technician, a caregiver, a teacher, a college student, and a humble janitor; all while experiencing or observing the kindness, the prejudice, the generosity, the egotism, the thoughtfulness, or the shallowness which humans are capable of, has brought a diverse perspective to this collective authorship.

Though their preferred genre to write in is Sci-Fi, they like to dabble in mystery and exploring the human condition, all told through the multi-perspective-first-person experience. Hearing the internal thoughts or conflicts within a character during their journey can help someone to empathize with them. Morgan R. R. Haze hopes you will enjoy getting to know the characters of the Teragene Universe as much as they did.” (Excerpt taken from back of Alpha Dawn).

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog! If you have any book recommendations please say so in the comments! Or if you’d like me to review your own book, please see my Review Policy and Review Request Pages. For more of my reviews, click here.

Source:

Haze, Morgan R. R. Alpha Dawn: Book one of the Teragene Chronicles. Copy edited by Timothy A. Martinez, Alpha Dawn Copyright. 2018. https://www.amazon.com/Alpha-Dawn-Book-Teragene-Chronicles/dp/1522074325

The Last Apprentice – Revenge of the Witch: Book Review

Haunted Forest

The Last Apprentice – Revenge of the Witch reminded me of my childhood. A time when I’d pick up a Goosebumps or Animorphs book and get lost in the chilling adventures of aliens, ghosts, monsters, and ghouls.

The Last Apprentice Cover

While prancing through the stacks at the library, (because who really just walks through a library? I mean, honestly) my eyes fell on this gem of a book. Not only did the cover art draw me in, but the caution on the back made it impossible for me to head home without it. “WARNING: NOT TO BE READ AFTER DARK–ESPECIALLY PAGE 148.”

First thought? That’s gutsy. Second thought: I need to find out what’s on page 148. (Clever, very clever.)

I see what you did there

So, I grabbed the first and second book in the series. And I was not disappointed 😀

The Last Apprentice opens to the Spook, Mr. Gregory, investigating his new potential apprentice, Tom Ward. As the seventh son of a seventh son, Tom has a lot of potential to be the next great Spook, but he is everything except excited for his new adventures. The prospect of being the #1 most hated individual in all the land certainly doesn’t sound appealing, nor does the idea of being completely friendless.

Not only that, but the Spook seems determined to kill Tom. Taking him to Hangman’s Hill, having him sleep over in a haunted house, and dealing with real life witches? This new apprenticeship sure seems dangerous.

And when Tom makes a deal with a girl who wears pointy shoes, his new life takes a spin for the worst.

My Rating

I give this book a solid 4/5 stars. The eerie scratch board art made me anticipate every chapter and Joseph Delaney has a great way of creating a sense of dread as you dig deeper into the story.

As a middle grade/young adult book, it had quite a few creepy moments. Not nightmare inducing:

Scared

But enough to catch my breath and feel my heart rate skyrocket. All in all, I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to reading the second book 🙂

If you’re interested in a fun adventure with a twist of the macabre thrown in, I highly recommend it!

Book Blurb

Capturing Witches

Binding Boggarts

Driving Away Ghosts

For years, Old Gregory has been the Spook for the county, ridding the local villages of evil. Now, his time is coming to an end. But who will take over for him? Twenty-nine apprentices have tried – some floundered, some fled, some failed to stay alive.

Only Thomas Ward is left. He’s the last hope; the last apprentice.

Can Thomas succeed? Will he learn the difference between a benign witch and a malevolent one? Does the Spook’s warning against girls with pointy shoes include Alice? And what will happen if Thomas accidentally frees Mother Malkin, the most evil witch in the county…?

About the Author

Joseph Delaney

Joseph Delaney formerly taught media and film studies at a high school in Blackpool, England. He lives with his family in Lancashire, in the middle of boggart territory. Much of what he wrote in The Spook’s Series is influenced by Lancashire folk tales and places of local interest.

And fun fact, apparently the haunted house where the Spook takes Tom Ward is where Joseph Delaney lived until he was 11 years old.

About The Artists:

I’d also like to give a special shout out to the artist Patrick Arrasmith for the amazing artwork that he did for this book. When I picked up The Last Apprentice, the cover design blew me away and made me realize I had to take it home. You should definitely check out his website, he’s got a lot of stunning and unique pieces on there.

Also, for the U.K. editions, David Wyatt definitely deserves a mention for his stunning cover art on the originals! I tried finding a picture of him, but could only locate his artwork. So here’s a picture of the original cover art.

The Spook's Apprentice

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Resource:

Delaney, Joseph. The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch. Great Britain, The Bodley Head, 2004.

Queen’s Own Fool: Book Review

Queen's Own Fool

A delightful spin on the historical account of Mary, Queen of Scots and her fool.

As I was perusing the book stacks last early Saturday morning, I discovered a novel I’d never heard of before: Queen’s Own Fool. Excited by the cover and description, I added it to my stack of library books and hurried home to begin reading.

Queen's Own Fool

If you haven’t already finished this book, I highly recommend doing so, before reading this post. There will definitely be spoilers. Consider yourself warned 😉

What are my thoughts on the book? Charming. Delightful. Refreshing.

The story opens with our protagonist Nicola performing in a downpour with other members of Troupe Brufort. Unlike any sane individual, her uncle Armand insists that they stand in the cold rain and continue to act despite being the only people on the streets. Cue the inciting incident of a carriage pulling up. A man named Jacques steps out and speaks with Nicola’s uncle. To everyone’s shock, he invites them to perform before the king.

The Intelligent Jardinière

The Intelligent Fool
Photo Credit: Randy Fath

Several things become apparent at once about our heroine in this opening scene. She’s quick witted, willful, stubborn, honest, and comedic. Her sharp tongue gives her a barrage of beatings from her uncle, who orders her, whenever possible, to keep her mouth shut. But it is also her quick wit that saves their troupe from embarrassment as she is the only one able to get a real laugh from the noble audience. A fact that maddens her uncle to no end. And it is also her quick wit that entices Queen Mary to employ Nicola in her services.

I got to say, literary fools and jesters have a special place in my heart. I love the character who can step outside the games and call people out for their stupidity, pride, or ignorance. Their difficult task requires them to have courage and be bold in the face of lies and deceit. It’s their job to hold nothing back and I love how their comments make me think.

Nicola, the queen’s Jardinière, is no different. A few of her bold comebacks to the noble lords and ladies had me laughing out loud. (Seriously, my roommates probably thought I was crazy).

“‘Pardon me, my lord,’ I apologized. ‘Everything you say is very serious, so I am certain you always have a care before you say anything at all. But as I am just a poor fool, nothing I say matters in the least, so I might as well just say the very first thing that comes into my head'” (67). There were so many moments I was delightfully appalled by her tongue in cheek quips. Her words had the ability to cut through the masks of those around her and truly see into their souls.

For example, upon having her first real conversation with Queen Mary, her majesty offers the young girl a common, well known riddle about someone that walks on four legs, then two, then three. The normal answer is man, but Nicola offers a splendid rebuttal, “You are a dog who dances badly before a king” (36). Nicola’s bold response and explanation baffles and humors Queen Mary proving the woman to be honest and open minded.

A poor example comes from Queen Mary’s second husband, Lord Darnley. Upon meeting the man, her witty responses disarms and infuriates him. When he’s near to lashing out, she smooths things over, turning him into a man sweet as honey. The distinct opposite responses sets off alarm bells in Nicola’s mind, especially when the noble then proceeds to flirt with her. This first poor encounter, foreshadows many ills to come.

Queen’s Own Fool: Final Thoughts

Unlike many of the YA novels I’ve read, this book does NOT revolve around a central female character debating between the two men she should spend her forever with. Hallelujah.

Instead, Queen’s Own Fool delves into deep topics of corruption, war, abuse, power, loyalty, and so many more interesting subjects. Though the ending follows along events in history(at least where Queen Mary is concerned with her beheading) I never found myself becoming depressed or overly saddened by the circumstances.

I think this had to do with the strong attitude of Nicola. The girl struggled and went through a lot, but never so deep that she fell into a catatonic state (looking at you Katniss). I smiled and laughed more while reading this book than I have in a while. The queen’s end is disappointing, but accurate. You can’t change the past, no matter how much you might want to. But bonus: I actually did a little bit of historical research on the subject since the characters intrigued me so much!

If you get the chance to pick up this book, I highly recommend it. And if you have read it, what were some of your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading 🙂

resources

Yolen, Jane, and Harris, Robert J. Queen’s Own Fool. New York, Penguin Group,     2000.

A New Chapter

Starting a new chapter

Day One…

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”

— Eleanor Roosevelt.

I feel like I should start singing “It’s the start of something new” from High School Musical to kick off the beginning of my brand new blog! Hello world! Thank you for checking in on my first post 😊

A little background on me: I am a reader. Lol simple as that. Stories have been a major part of my life for longer than I can remember and as soon as I learned how to read, I devoured books like there was no tomorrow. My mom soon discovered my need for a library card when I’d finish a brand new novel in a day 😅

My love for reading as only continued to grow alongside my library as I’ve discovered fantastical worlds and creatures I’d never experience in real life. Which brings me to this blog! Since reading and writing are two of my biggest passions, I thought I’d go ahead and create a book review blog.

I’m always looking for a great story to read, and I love recommending books for my friends. My goal is to join or even create a community of book lovers who enjoy getting together and talking about stories that make them laugh, cry, and learn.

Stay tuned for more updates and sign up below to stay posted on what’s in store! Also, if you have any book recommendations, please send me a message! Thanks!