Tag Archives: Fantasy

Top Ten Tuesday #22

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010.

April 25, 2017Top Ten Words/Topics That Make Me NOT Pick Up A Book

Choosing a book is as much about mood as it is about the topic, setting or genre of the book, but there are some books I just know I won’t be interested in.

Top 10 Topics that Make Me NOT Pick Up A Book

  1. Vampires – I have never been into Vampires, especially when they are the “good guys.” The whole idea of them is revolting to me, especially since they are basically cannibals who trade their souls for immortality and then degrade themselves constantly. Just not interested.
  2. Romeo and Juliette – Or “star-crossed lovers” if it’s in a description of a book and that book has not been written by Shakespeare I’m not interested. I think people have vastly misunderstood the message of Romeo and Juliette. “Romeo and Juliet is not a love story. It’s a 3 day relationship between a 13 year old and a 17 year old that caused 6 deaths. Sincerely, everyone who actually read it.” – Anonymous
  3. Horror – I’m not into things that are gruesome. So much of horror seems to be gruesome from gruesome’s sake and shocking for shock sake. I just don’t get it. I don’t get why people enjoy dismemberment, or torture, or cruelty, or anything like that.
  4. Graphic Sex – For the most part it just doesn’t do anything for the story. Why do we need to have all the details when it’s so much classier to allude to it?
  5. Amish Fiction – I don’t know how this genre got to be such a big thing. I understand wanting to read about different cultures and unfamiliar settings, but it just seems like there are too many books in this category. The Amish lifestyle might be interesting, but it’s weird that we have commercialize their lifestyle in such a way.
  6. Urban Fantasy – I have tried to get into Urban Fantasy. I picked up the City of Bones because so many people raved about it, but through out most of the book I kept thinking, “Buffy did it better.” In a lot of Urban Fantasy it seems like I can’t stay in the story, the world building and the characters don’t work for me.
  7. Harlequin Romance – These books just seem to cheapen real romance. For me I’d rather experience the real thing than read about an unreal type of romance. Plus the way these books are published in bulk makes them formulaic.
  8. Rush Limbaugh – I have family members who think he’s great, so they occasionally give me one of his books. I have no interest in reading his inflammatory perspective. (Note: Just the other day my Grandmother tired to get me to read something by Rush.)
  9. Politics – In general I do not enjoy books on political subjects.
  10. Men without their shirts on – When I see this on the cover I just roll my eyes and pass it by. Beside they are always airbrushed abs anyway.

What kinds of things turn you off from choosing a book? Are there topics you just don’t find interesting? Leave me a comment and let me know.

 

Top Ten Tuesday #21

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010.

April 18, 2017: Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book (topic originally done back in 2013 as top ten words/topics that will make me instantly want to read a book) — so yeah basically any topic or theme or ANYTHING (ie if X person recommends it) that will make you instantly want to pick up a book.

My reading habits have been called eclectic before, and that’s because I’m just as likely to have my nose in a Nancy Drew book as I am the Brothers Karamazov. My taste ranges from fantasy to science fiction, from Greek tragedy to modern poetry, and from Christian Fiction to YA Dystopian. That being said, yes there are somethings that will draw me to a book more that other things, and here is an un-ordered list of ten of those.

Top Ten Topics That Make Me Want to Read A Book

    1. Greek Mythology – I love Greek tragedy and try to fit at least 1 Greek play into my reading every year. But I also like to see Greek mythology remixed, retold, twisted or simply alluded to. It’s why I took a chance on Venom & Vanilla, even though I don’t normally like Urban Fantasy. One of my favorites in the category: Nobody’s Princess.

    1. Stephen R Lawhead – Lawhead is my favorite author. I have read every book by him, and own most of them. I especially like his Robin Hood and Arthurian retellings. My favorite book of all time is Dream Thief.

    1. Arthurian Retellings – If it has Merlin, Arthur, or the Knight of the Round Table in it I probably want to read it. I am an Arthur junkie. (Although I admit to not being able to get into the series Merlin, for some reason.) I already mentioned Lawhead’s retelling, an interesting one I read lately was Shadowland: A Tale From The Dark Ages.

    1. Dreams – I enjoy stories where the main character is drawn into their dreams, or lives another life in their dreams, or just where dreams play a major part in the real world. I’ve already mentioned how much I love Dream Thief, another one you may want to check out is Dreamlander

    1. Good Fantasy World Building – I don’t look for just any fantasy story, I want one I can loose myself in. Which is why The Lord of the Rings is awesome. Nothing takes me out of the story faster than a world in which the characters don’t seem to fit. But if I hear from other reviewers that the world building really drew them in, it’s a bet that the book is going into my TBR. Check out the The Midnight Sea(The Fourth Element, #1) for some great world building.

    1. Newbery – One of my major reading goals is to read through all the Newbery books. I fell really behind on this last year, but am hoping to get up to speed again this year. One of the best of the titles I’ve read so far is Holes.

    1. Archers – This one is especially true of comics, but two of my childhood heroes where Robin Hood and William Tell (thanks to two BBC series on PBS.) So when Lawhead came out with his Hood series I was tickled pink. And I also loved The Hunger Games.

    1. Philip K. Dick – Is another author I love and will read pretty much anything I can get my hands on. It’s crazy with the amount of books he’s written how hard it is to come across them second hand. Second Variety, is a short story of his that I am still thinking about (and creeped out by) years after reading it. My favorite novel of his is Deus Irae, which I’ve read at least twice.

    1. Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys 1st Edition – This one may sounds a little weird, but I look for and collect the original Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books, it’s doesn’t have to really be 1st edition just the original copyright before they were changed. That’s right, the stories have been updated several times to change jargon and make them more modern. I recently picked up the original The Secret of Red Gate Farm.

Origndtsorgf.jpg
By Source, Fair use, Link

    1. Finished Series – I kinda hate having to wait for the next book to come out. So if I stumbled on an already finished series that sparks my interest I’d much rather read that. And if I can pick up the whole thing for Kindle at a good price that helps too. It’s why I read the Chronicles of the Nameless Dwarf, which was a total hoot. I also really enjoyed The Five Kingdoms series.

Runner up: Dystopian – I used to love dystopian fiction and this had been a reason to pick up a book, but now the market is SO flooded. It’s like everything has to have a dystopian setting.

Do you related to any of these? What is something make make you instantly want to pick up a book? Leave me a comment below.

March 2017 Book Pick Ups

The Deliberate ReaderI am so far behind in my book pick up posts that I couldn’t hope to catch up, so I just decided to start fresh by posting just last months books.

Since our move I kinda settled down on picking up anything but kindle titles and kids books. We just have less space, and I have less time for personal reading right now. Hopefully as we get more settled in and use to our new routine that will change.

For Kindle:

The Daemoniac (Dominion Mysteries Book 1)
Why I got it: Because Kat Ross is an awesome author and I want to read more of her books. Go follow her on twitter and then check out my reviews for her other books Blood of the Prophet and Queen of Chaos.

Ella Dethroned
Why I got it: You know I forgot I had picked this one up, I’m assuming it was from Instafreebie or Book Bub. It’s the prequel to a fantasy series, and has mostly 4 and 5 star reviews. It sounds exciting so I’ll give it a shot.

The Silver Skull Preview
Why I got it: This one is going up to the front of my TBR list because it sounds so intriguing. Add Steampunk, plus spies, plus a dash of fantasy and I’m am in. (I believe this copy is just a sample though, and I will probably end up buying the full book.)

ARC:

Who Counts?: 100 Sheep, 10 Coins, and 2 Sons
Why I got it: I got this children’s book through the LibraryThing early readers program. I requested it because it looked like a good childrens book about some of the parables of Jesus. However I had mixed feeling about it. Read my review here.

eARC:

The Waterfall Traveler
Why I got it: I am going to review this book for Xpresso Book Tour in May. It sounds like a good fantasy story, with rouges, fugitives, conspiracies and someone the power to travel through water. Also, the cover is just amazing.

Kids Books:

The Little Grumpy Cat that Wouldn’t (Little Golden Book)
Why I got it: I picked this up from my Goddaughter’s school book fair, partly because she loves Grumpy Cat and partly because this year is Little Golden Books 75th anniversary. And the thought of Grumpy cat in a Little golden Book is hilarious.

Happy Birthday, Bad Kitty
Why I got it: It was .99 cents at St. Vinny’s and I am a big sucker for collecting all the books in a series. Plus this gives me more to read than Bad Kitty vs. Uncle Murray: The Uproar at the front door, which is her favorite bad kitty book and therefore I have read it about 4,00 times.

Bad Kitty Goes to the Vet
Why I got it: Same reasons as above, but this one we got from the book fair.

Mary Poppins
Why I got it: .99 cent at St. Vinny’s and it a book I’ve always wanted to read. Now that my goddaughter is a little older I’ve started reading chapter books to her, like Winnie-the-Pooh and I think we’ll try Mary Poppins too.

The Shy Little Kitten (Step into Reading)
Why I got it: I remember reading this book as a Little Golden book when I was a kid. The step into reading version is just right for my goddaughter to practice her reading aloud.

Cinderella (Step into Reading)
Why I got it: A cheap thrift store pick up. And like I said before I like to collect books in a series, and we already have a bunch of Disney princess Step Into Reading titles.

The Sweetest Spring (Step into Reading)
Why I got it: Ditto what I just said, but even more so because this one is part of a series-within-a-series of Disney princess seasonal books.

Tink’s Treasure Hunt (Step into Reading)
Why I got it: Another Thrift store find, and who doesn’t love Tink?

Misc:

National Geographic Inside the Medieval World 2017
Why I got it: This is actually what I’m reading right now. I saw it on a supermarket newsstand and picked it up because I’m intrigued by the Medieval World and a century-by-century guide is a great tool for understand the pieces of history.

 

Review: Queen of Chaos

By Kat Ross
Pages: 374
Date Finished: Jan 15, 2017

LoBook Reviews - Loved Itved It

Synopsis:

Persepolae has fallen.

Karnopolis has burned.

As the dark forces of the Undead sweep across what remains of the empire, Nazafareen must obey the summons of a demon queen to save Darius’s father, Victor. Burdened with a power she doesn’t understand and can barely control, Nazafareen embarks on a perilous journey through the shadowlands to the House-Behind-the-Veil. But what awaits her there is worse than she ever imagined…

A thousand leagues away, Tijah leads a group of children on a desperate mission to rescue the prisoners at Gorgon-e Gaz, the stronghold where the oldest daēvas are kept. To get there, they must cross the Great Salt Plain, a parched ruin occupied by the armies of the night. A chance encounter adds a ghost from the past to their number. But will they arrive in time to avert a massacre?

And in the House-Behind-the-Veil, Balthazar and the Prophet Zarathustra discover that they have more in common than meets the eye. But is it enough to redeem the necromancer’s bloodstained soul and thwart his mistress’s plans?

As a final showdown looms with Queen Neblis, the truth of the daēvas’ origins is revealed and three worlds collide in this thrilling conclusion to the Fourth Element series.

Review:

I reviewed the first two books in this series, The Midnight Sea and the Blood of the Prophet last year – read that review here.

Queen of Chaos picks up right where Blood of the Prophet left off (These books are so fast paced and each picks up where the previous left off and I recommend reading them all back-to-back.) Our hero’s are scattered after the fall of Xeros’ empire to Alexander. Tijan and a group of daēvas children travel across a barren landscape ravaged by the hordes of undead from Bactria. Nazafareen and Darius travel into the dominion searching after Victor, and eventually they get separated too. The tight group of former Water Dogs is no more, and each must find there own way in a world in chaos.

You really need to read the first two books to be invested enough in this world to understand all the thread and currents in The Queen of Chaos. The story is complicated without being convoluted, and I think that’s really an accomplishment. Too many modern fantasy stories think they have to be so expansive, with so many characters, and so much  going on that the reader can easily loose some of the threads or become disinterested. (I’m reading another series right now and the final book it giving me this exact problem, there is so much going on I can hardly keep it all straight and it spends a lot of time on story lines that don’t seem to be moving the plot forward.) Ross keeps this the book balanced while moving the action forward.

There are several character development twist that came to me a quite a pleasant surprise. Without giving away any spoilers, the way things work out between Nazafareen and Neblis really caught my interest. It could have easily fallen into a fantasy troupe, but not only did it get turned on it’s head, the whole way things worked out for the bad guys was atypical, and I enjoyed that.

Of course, there are new monsters, big battles, and plenty of action in the book too.

Bottom Line:

Wow! Kat Ross knows how to write an epic.

The twists and turns the books takes as it leads up to the final conflicts swept me along. The world of the Forth Element yielded up some more of it’s secrets, but not all. It left me wanting more. Wanting to dig deeper and spend more time in the fantasy version of Persia that Ross built up. (In fact, over on my Tumblr I am doing an Owl-A-Day doodle and dedicated one day to owls inspired by ancient Persian art.)

I highly recommend this series. And right now the first book, The Midnight Sea is free for Kindle.

Purchase:
Amazon

 

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December 2016 Book Pick-Ups

December 2016 Pick-UpsThe Deliberate Reader

Christmas is always a great time for new books. Most of the year I get books through Kindle deals, and thrift stores. But December is a time where I can count on getting a few new physical books. The last couple of years this means coloring books too. Although, it’s a big fad now and every publisher is trying to get one out for all their IP’s, I never gave up on coloring and have enjoyed it as a hobby since I was a child.

For Kindle:

The Destroyer
Why I got it: I’m on the author’s email list and he said the book was being offered for free so I thought I would check it out. Sounds like it has a lot of graphic sex in it though, and I may decide to abandon it, because that’s not really something I like in books.

The Missing
Why I got it: My Kindle First selection for the month. Which I now regret because most of the reviews are bad, and a mystery without a likable lead is not my cup of tea.

Ocean’s Justice: The Little Mermaid Retold
Why I got it: The Little Mermaid retold sounds awesome, and it was free.

Ocean’s Trial
Why I got it: The follow-up to Ocean’s Justice, it was also free. I found out about both through the author’s newsletter.

eARCs:

Mirain
Why I got it: This sentence “The princess drags her unwilling guards to investigate the reports of monsters in the far off corners of the realm.” That and it’s from Ravenswood Publishing and I have really enjoyed the experience of being part of their reviewer team.

Queen of Chaos
Why I got it: The 3rd book in the Forth Element Series. I read books 1 and 2 earlier in the year (read my review), and was offered the third as an ARC. I can’t wait to finish this exciting series.

ARC:

A Morning with Grandpa
Why I got it: I won it in the November batch of Early Reviewers books from LibraryThing.com. It’s a children’s book from a publisher that specializes in multicultural books for children. I haven’t had a chance to look it over, but it sounds interesting.

Book Fair:

I bought several of these book as gifts.
I bought several of these book as gifts.

A Bad Kitty Christmas
Why I got it: We love Bad Kitty, maybe a little too much. But well the book fair was right before Christmas, so we had to get it. Right?

Avatar The Last Airbender: Smoke and Shadow Part One
Why I got it: We also love Avatar, and I enjoy a graphic novel from time to time. But seriously if you haven’t watched Avatar the Last Airbender you are missing out.

 

Coloring Books:

Serenity Adult Coloring Book
Why I got it: A gift from my sister. 🙂 Was the only Firefly themed gift I got this year, despite having the card game and Yatzee on my wishlist.

Dot-to-Dot for Grown-Ups
Why I got it: A gift from my mother-in-law. While Dot-to-Dots aren’t really my thing this was it pretty interesting.

Misc:

Thou Spleeny Swag-Bellied Miscreant: Create Your Own Shakespearean Insults
Just a couple of the Shakespearean Insults.

Heart and Brain: An Awkward Yeti Collection
Why I got it: I love Heart and Brain, and my husband knows what I love, so he got it for me as a Christmas Present.

Thou Spleeny Swag-Bellied Miscreant: Create Your Own Shakespearean Insults
Why I got it: Actually this was a present for my husband, but he’s doesn’t really enjoy Shakespeare the way I do.

The Wise Man’s Fear
Why I got it: Because I needed it… I have been waiting to read this book for an eternity, and finally just decided to buy it for myself.

2017 Inspire Daily Desktop Calendar
Why I got it: My MIL gave it to us for Christmas.

Review: The Breedling and The City in the Garden

the-breedling-and-the-city-in-the-gardenby Kimberlee Ann Bastian
Pages:  280
Date Finished: Oct 31, 2016
Book Reviews - Liked ItLiked It

Synopsis:

Absolute obedience, servitude, neutrality.

These were the laws that once governed Bartholomew, an immortal soulcatcher, until one ill-fated night when he was forced to make a choice: rebel against his masters or reveal an ancient, dangerous secret.

He chose defiance.

Imprisoned for centuries as punishment for his decision, Bartholomew wastes away—until he creates an opportunity to escape. By a stroke of chance, Bartholomew finds himself in the human world and soon learns that breaking his bonds does not come without a price. Cut off from the grace that once ruled him, he must discover a new magic in 1930s Chicago.

Armed with only a cryptic message to give him direction, Bartholomew desperately tries to resume the mission he had started so long ago. Relying on the unlikely guidance of the streetwise orphan Charlie Reese, Bartholomew must navigate the depressed streets of the City in the Garden. But in order to solve this riddle, he must first discover if choice and fate are one in the same.

Review:

Not so much a fantasy story as a tour of 1930’s Chicago with a little bit of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” type mythology mixed in.

The Breedling and The City in the Garden, has a really warm narrative that slowly unfolds the mystery surrounding the character of Bartholomew as it takes you on a tour of depression era Chicago. The depth of the depression history draws you in and makes the unraveling bits of mythology that much more believable.

The characters and their discoveries and struggles are really what makes the story. Charlie the street smart orphan who has lost everything and is struggling to still be the man his mother wanted him to be. Bartholomew/Buck the otherwordly Breedling, who is trying to overcome centuries of grief and guilt and to finish his mission. The Devil, who Buck can’t shake and who has a too keen interest in Charlie. The mysterious and benevolent Father Van Lewen, and the brief glimpses we get of the characters from the world of Buck’s origin and the hints they give us of the true puzzle being unraveled.

Inter-playing ideas of destiny, free will, servitude and muniplation this story asked some big questions but leave them unanswered for the next story.

Bottom Line:

I’m unsure what to think of this book. I enjoyed reading it, but it wasn’t at all what I expected from the book description. This isn’t really a book for fantasy lovers, and those who regularly read heavily supernatural themed books (Like my Kindle First pick of this month Venom and Vanilla.) This is much more a book for fans of historical/period fiction who want to dip their toes into fantasy.

Purchase:
Amazon

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Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Party! (The Source of Magic: Excerpt)

I’m participating in the genreCRAVE Science Fiction and Fantasy $1200 Giveaway! They are having a party and have something really exciting things going on. First, some great Science Fiction and Fantasy books are on sale at bargain prices, and after that, a chance to enter our $1200 Gift Card Giveaway! (Plus bonus giveaway on the Facebook Event Page.) Read on for more information, but first, check out the books from our sponsors at the link below!

VIEW BOOKS FROM THE SPONSORS HERE!

The Source of Magic: A Fantasy Romance

by Cate Rowan (Excerpt)

the-source-of-magic-200x300For a moment there was quiet, and peace. Jilian couldn’t hear or move, but she could see Alvarr’s eyes, gray and deep. Then, with a tremendous roar and a jolt through every nerve, the world reappeared.

Cries of struggle buffeted her ears. She twisted toward them and Alvarr set her down, but kept her corralled in his arms, her back to his chest.

They stood in a round room of mortared stone and blazing torches, and they weren’t alone. Two men and a woman in sapphire-blue cloaks battled soldiers in black tunics slashed with red belts. Three soldiers attacked each person in blue. The blues fought awkwardly, as if unused to combat.

Jilian jerked back, knocking her spine against Alvarr’s solid form. Where am I?
The heat of his broad chest seeped through her nightgown. He leaned down to be heard above the clamor, his lips brushing her ear. “Please, send me your kyrra!”

Kyrra? Her brain scrambled for a meaning.

His left hand gripped her ribcage and he reached for her right hand.

“What are you DOING?” No, this is only a bad dream. And I’ll end it. Just as she was preparing to ram her elbow into Alvarr’s ribs and wake up in her study, a soldier hurtled toward them swinging a wooden quarterstaff.

She recoiled, slamming against Alvarr.

“Takerran!” Alvarr shouted. Green fire streaked from his raised palm to his opponent’s chest. The soldier sank in a heap and his staff clattered to the ground.

The world thinned and condensed into the soldier’s murderous sneer, frozen at the moment of the fire’s impact. The glare in his eyes iced her gut.

A dream! Wake up!

But his cruel gaze was too real—as were the frantic shouts, the acrid burn of torch-lit air, and the strong hand on her hip.

A familiar ring of light encircled their feet, and from it Alvarr yanked up a crackling wall of jade fire. It surrounded them and he twisted to his right, hauling her with him. “Rokad, look out!” he yelled to one of the cloaked men.

Jilian shoved against Alvarr’s grip, unable to budge even one powerful finger. She saw the dark-haired Rokad vault to the side, panic flooding his face. A glinting spear whistled through the air but caught only the edge of his cloak. He spun and lobbed a green fireball at his attacker, who crumpled to the ground. But he didn’t escape the second soldier, or the rope in the enemy’s hands that cut off his breath.

“Rokad!” Alvarr started toward him, dragging Jilian with him once more. The wall of fire flickered erratically.

“No, the FireRing—keep her safe!” Rokad gasped, clawing at the rope around his throat.
Jilian flinched as the butt of a sword crashed into Rokad’s temple.

Alvarr grabbed her hands. “The kyrra—hurry, send me your power!”

WHAT power? A scream pounded on her tongue, but the consequences it might bring clamped her teeth.

Within moments, the soldiers knocked out the three figures in cloaks and the sapphire mantles pooled on the stone floor. A brawny man with a red circular badge stepped forward, pulling a clear cylinder from a pouch at his waist.

A scarlet glow flared within the cylinder and the officer aimed it at Rokad. Rokad’s body paled. Even the sapphire of his cloak faded to a dull slate gray. Alvarr’s furious breath rushed across Jilian’s cheek.

Through the wall of fire, she stared in horror at Rokad’s ashen face.

Get the book!

GIVEAWAY!

Entering is easy! Directions are on the Rafflecopter, but as an overview:

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NOTE: THIS GIVEAWAY IS FOR SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY FANS ONLY. IF YOU ARE NOT AN AVID READER OF THOSE GENRES, YOUR ENTRY WILL BE DISQUALIFIED. Please do not try to find a way around this. There will be other giveaways, Enter this one if you love SCIENCE FICTION and FANTASY! Thank you!

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Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Party!

I’m participating in the genreCRAVE Science Fiction and Fantasy $1200 Giveaway! They are having a party and have something really exciting things going on. First, some great Science Fiction and Fantasy books are on sale at bargain prices, and after that, a chance to enter our $1200 Gift Card Giveaway! (Plus bonus giveaway on the Facebook Event Page.) Read on for more information, but first, check out the books from our sponsors at the link below!

VIEW BOOKS FROM THE SPONSORS HERE!

Here are a couple of sneak peeks! (Click on a cover to read an excerpt)

rebels-honor-188x300   lord-of-the-black-land-200x300   shadows-for-princess-194x300

GIVEAWAY!

Entering is easy! Directions are on the Rafflecopter, but as an overview:

  1. Subscribe to genreCRAVE and confirm your subscription when you receive the confirmation. You must confirm via the confirmation email to get entry for the $1200!
  2. Select what other newsletters you would like to join. Each newsletter = 1 entry. Enter your email to confirm. This email must match the email you used for confirmation in step 1!
  3. You may unsubscribe at any time, but reporting as Spam will get you disqualified from all future giveaways.
  4. Winner will be announced at our Facebook Party and contacted via Email. We will have other prizes at the Facebook Party as well!

NOTE: THIS GIVEAWAY IS FOR SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY FANS ONLY. IF YOU ARE NOT AN AVID READER OF THOSE GENRES, YOUR ENTRY WILL BE DISQUALIFIED. Please do not try to find a way around this. There will be other giveaways, Enter this one if you love SCIENCE FICTION and FANTASY! Thank you!

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Review: Blood of the Prophet

bloodprophetThe Midnight Sea and The Blood of the Prophet 
by Kat Ross
Pages: 326 and 337
Date Finished:  Aug 24, 2016 and Sep 04, 2016

LoBook Reviews - Loved Itved It

  • I received this book free from the Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for my honest option.

Synopsis:

Visionary. Alchemist. Savior. Saint.

The Prophet Zarathustra has been called many things. Now he spends his time drawing pictures of weird-looking goats. That’s what happens when you’ve been stuck in a prison cell for two hundred years. But the man who might be mad, and is definitely supposed to be dead, has suddenly become very valuable again…

It’s only been a few weeks since Nazafareen escaped the King’s dungeons with her daēva, Darius. She hoped never to set foot in the empire again, but the search for the Prophet has led them to the ancient city of Karnopolis. They have to find him before Alexander of Macydon burns Persepolae, and Darius’s mother with it. But they’re not the only ones looking.

The necromancer Balthazar has his own plans for the Prophet, and so does the sinister spymaster of the Numerators. As Nazafareen is drawn in to a dangerous game of cat and mouse, her newfound powers take a decidedly dark turn. Only the Prophet understands the secret of her gift, but the price of that knowledge may turn out to be more than Nazafareen is willing to pay…

Review:

I loved both of these books. Because I read them back-to-back so I’m going to review them as one here.

The Forth Element Series is a great example of a fantasy series that uses existing mythology to build its fantasy world, but does it in a really exciting new way. I don’t believe I’ve read another fantasy book set in the ancient empire of Persia, using some of the mythology of the area and weaving in the origins of Zoroastrianism. The setting alone is something to love!

I recently read the Greek play The Persians, and that perhaps was the perfect build up for a fantasy story set in the same empire. (Although the author does make note that the story is not an alternative history, it just borrows heavily from history.)

The stories center on Nazafareen, the The Midnight Sea starts out being a fish-out-of-water story about her leaving her nomadic tribe and coming to live in the palace of a Satrap while learning how to be a Water Dog (a warrior bonded to a deava, a being who can control the 3 elements of water, air and earth.) Each Water Dog is able through their bond to control the deava, so that they only use their powers when needed to fight demon called the Druj.

When the old deava’s break out of their prison Nazafareen, her bonded Darius, and their squad are sent after them turning the story into a fantasy quest that continues into Blood of the Prohpet. Things are not as they seem however and as the world around her begins to unravel Nazafereen experiences betrayal, love, loss, and finds in herself an inner magic she never imagined.

Between the two books there are lots of twists and turns and mysteries that lead into deeper mysteries as the lies that held the empire together unravel and enemies close in on every side.

Bottom Line:

It’s EPIC! I can’t wait to see what the next book brings. I love the rich and exotic world and characters. I am very excited to learn more about Bactra and the origins of the daevas. If you want a great original epic fantasy read pick up The Forth Element Series.

Purchase:

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Top Ten Tuesday #14

top-10-fantasy

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010.

September 13: Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books Of X Genre

I’m running a little late on everything these days, while I am moving my office out to my grandparents farm. Worst of all the internet there has a data-cap and it gets throttled to almost dial-up speeds when you hit the limit, so I’ve been trying to find a better internet solution that reaches out to the rural area they live in.

So I am a day late, but I just couldn’t miss this one since I am a big genre reader. In fact, just choosing one genre is not easy. (And these are not in any particular order.) Also, I’ll try not to make the whole list about Stephen R. Lawhead. 😉

Top Ten Fantasy Books & Series…

  1. Books of the Infinite – Book two Judge was by book of the year in 2015. I had read Prophet a couple of years ago, but when I got Judge I decided to read through the whole series back-to-back and it blew me away. The Books of the Infinite are a Biblical/Historical/Fantasy series set in a fantasy realm. It’s hard to wrap your head around the whole idea of it, but the books are so well written you’ll forgive the genre criss-crossing right away.
  2. Lord of the Rings – Might as well just get it out of the way. The grand-daddy of fantasy series. Of course, I have a special affinity for the series I was named after. My parents read the books together when my mom was pregnant and yes they named me Arwen, it’s my real name.
  3. The Pendragon Cycle – This is where I would tell you to start with Stephen R Lawhead. The first three books of this series are absolutely fantastic. Taliesin begins with the fall of Atlantis, Merlin is the story of the young Merlin and his early life, and Arthur is about King Arthur (who else?). It’s the best Arthurian re-telling I’ve ever read.
  4. The Song of Albion Collection – Another Stephen R Lawhead series. This one is full of Celtic mythology and lore. The main character crosses over into an ancient other-world and in drawn into the fight between good and evil with both worlds at stake. For me these books are a great, quick read, the kind you can’t put down.
  5. Stardust – An absolutely fabulous book by Neil Gaiman. Weaving fantasy and fairy tales and history together in a unique story with a world all of it’s own. If you like Neil Gaiman and haven’t read this book yet add it to the top of your TBR.
  6. The Saga of the Trillium – I great collaboration between fantasy authors. Triplet princesses each have separate, yet connected destinies to fulfill in this series that weaves in and out of each of their stories.  The alien world they live on is full of mystery (and I still occasionally ponder over it years after I’ve finished the series.) It’s a world that once abounded in scientific marvels and in magic, but now much of the knowledge of both has been forgotten. The world building is excellent, and the characters strong. A great fantasy series!
  7. Myst: The Book of Atrus and other Myst books by Rand Miller – I don’t even know what to say about this book that wouldn’t be a spoiler. I feel like these books are one of the best kept secrets of fantasy. You’ve probably heard of the game Myst, and if you’re like me were completely baffled by it. But these books unpack the mysteries of the world and of the time leading up to the beginning of the game.
  8. The Seventh Tower Collection – World building is so important in fantasy stories, and Garth Nix does a fantastic job of creating a world unlike any other. It drew me in and I binge read all 6 books. The sun is blocked by a magical veil and the world split into two factions. The Icelcarls who have learned to eek out an existence in the harsh world of ice that the perpetual darkness has caused and the Chosen who live in a tower and have “tamed” the shadow creature who had at one time threaten their world.
  9. The Chronicles of Prydain – Mostly know for being the source for Disney’s “The Black Cauldron” these book tell the story of Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper and his friends. This series is high fantasy and very deep thinking in a very approachable story.
  10. The Name of the Wind – It was so hard to pick a 10th book! I kept thinking of possibilities (this list could have been 25, not 10.) But I picked this one because it is sooo strong and because I am really looking forward to the next books (once I have time to read them.) This first person narrative is told in parts, building the biography of a wizard (who at the time of the telling is really more of a bartender.) But the mystery between who he was and who he is, is what it’s all about, and what has me interested in the next installments.

I know I left a lot of great fantasy off of my list. Tell me some of your favorites in the comments below.