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!

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

Thanks for reading! If you’d like to receive updates, please subscribe below and like this post. For more of my reviews, click here.

Resource:

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