The Silent Beauty by D.G. Driver #bookreview #fairytales #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

Colleeda is a beautiful but wickedly vain young woman. Of all her assets, the one she prizes most is the sound of her voice. Her favorite game is to attract young men and then leave them heartbroken. It’s all fun until she chooses to lure one man away from his fiancée—and that woman is rumored to be a witch bent on revenge. Colleeda is cursed to never speak or sing again, except for a couple minutes in the wee hours of the morning when no one can possibly hear her.

For years, Colleeda mourns the loss of her voice, believing she is no longer beautiful or desirable. She lives in solitude as her house falls into disrepair around her.

Is there any way to break the curse? Does she deserve to have it broken? 

After reading several D.G. Driver books, I know to expect an entertaining read with meticulously developed characters.  I read the first book in this fairy tale series, The Royal Deal, but somehow missed the second, so I was thrilled to come across the newest addition.

Colleeda is despicable, narcissistic, rude – I could go on, but no doubt you get the picture.  She believes the world and everyone in it exist for her pleasure.  Kudos to the author for making her so unlikable.  You’ll spend most of the book yearning for her to get knocked off the pedestal she’s placed herself on.  From the book description, rest assured, it’s a pretty rough fall.  And then, you’ll miraculously find yourself feeling a bit sorry for her.

Although fairly sure I knew how this tale would end, it came as a surprise to me.  The author’s unpredictable path added just a little more oomph to an already compelling read.

If you’re a fan of fairy tales or retellings, D.G. Driver’s delightful, and occasionally dark series checks those boxes quite well, and can be easily read in one sitting.

I received a copy of this novel from the author through Rosie’s Book Review Team.

 

#AmWriting, #BookFestival, #AmWatching

It’s crunch time, guys.  I’ve taken off the next four days from work to finish Book 3 (and maybe even come up with a title), and get it into my beta’s hands by Friday.  Last week, I was writing the ending, and my MC surprised me by changing some things – which really worked better, and were more true to his character.  Whenever that happens, I usually just go with it.  I know there are a couple more scenes that need work, then I’ll be adding in some world-building, and tweaking some of the characters.  If I’m slow to reply to comments or get to your blogs, you’ll know I’m hunkered down working.

Maybe six weeks ago, I mentioned I’d applied for Heartland Book Festival, scheduled for September.  This will be the first year, with Friday being Children’s Day, and Saturday open to the public.  I was thrilled to receive an email accepting me!  It’s only an hour away, and I’m always excited to talk to kids about reading – adults, too, of course.  Heck – I’m excited to talk to anyone about reading and books anytime, anywhere.

Is anyone else excited for NOS4A2?  I recorded it last night, but haven’t watched it yet.  I’ve had the book in my TBR for more years than I care to admit, but – it’s vampires.  I’m so excited to watch vampires again!  Well, I also just finished What We Do in the Shadows, a hilarious take on vampires.  If you missed it, go forth and find it.  Some episodes were better than others, but I had some great laughs.

Wish me luck on finishing.  Have a great week!

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal #bookreview #YA #contemporary

Lena and Campbell aren’t friends.

Lena has her killer style, her awesome boyfriend, and a plan. She knows she’s going to make it big. Campbell, on the other hand, is just trying to keep her head down and get through the year at her new school.

When both girls attend the Friday-night football game, what neither expects is for everything to descend into sudden mass chaos. Chaos born from violence and hate. Chaos that unexpectedly throws them together.

They aren’t friends. They hardly understand the other’s point of view. But none of that matters when the city is up in flames, and they only have each other to rely on if they’re going to survive the night.

This book deals with topics we unfortunately see all too much of in news nearly every day.  Novels such as this are crucial and timely, and when I saw that author Nic Stone blurbed it, I knew I wanted to read it.

The contrasting characters and their viewpoints really make this novel.  Lena is in a familiar environment, but is very much aware of its dangerous undercurrents, much more so than Campbell, new to the neighborhood, and the epitome of a fish out of water.  With alternating chapters, their voices are distinct, and the narrative is well done.  Their conversations, and occasionally clashing opinions, throughout the evening do a good job at shedding light on the reality of their lives, and shattering stereotypes they hold of each other.

No doubt the girls’ situation is intense and precarious, and this is communicated well.  That being said, I questioned some of their actions.  Lena leads them toward her boyfriend, who is supposed to take them to safety, but he’s in the direction of the rioting.  It’s mentioned early on that Campbell’s house is a twenty minute walk from the stadium, where it all began, so I wondered why they didn’t go there to begin with.  Maybe a map at the front of the book would have been helpful?  Their reasoning wasn’t made clear, especially when Campbell had a phone, and there must have been other friends or people at the stadium who could have given them a ride.  I also thought a peaceful protest in the city at such a late hour was odd.

This is a compelling book with strong characterization, but parts of it seemed random, and I would have liked more information on the characters’ reasoning, and more of an overview of the rioting.  This book is scheduled for publication October 1st, 2019.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

The Red Labyrinth by Meredith Tate #bookreview #YA #fantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

The massive labyrinth was built to protect Zadie Kalver’s isolated desert town. Unfortunately, living in the maze’s shadow makes her feel anything but safe. Even without its enchanted deathtraps and illusions, a mysterious killer named Dex lurks in its corridors, terrorizing anyone in his path.

But when Zadie’s best friend vanishes into the labyrinth-and everyone mysteriously forgets he exists- completing the maze becomes her only hope of saving him. In desperation, Zadie bribes the only person who knows the safe path through-Dex-into forming a tenuous alliance.

Navigating a deadly garden, a lethal blood-filled hourglass, and other traps-with an untrustworthy murderer for her guide-Zadie’s one wrong step from certain death. But with time running out before her friend (and secret crush) is lost forever, Zadie must reach the exit and find him. If Dex and the labyrinth don’t kill her first. 

This book description reminded me of The Maze Runner, a novel I fell head over heels for and kept me guessing, and the cover really grabbed me.

The world-building is creative, detailed, and pulled me in almost immediately.  The Skilled, the Blanks, and the labyrinth housing the monster, Dex, and separating the town folk from the Creator held me spellbound.  The author does a magnificent job explaining Zadie’s world without an info dump.  Zadie is also very likable, and has survived tragic circumstances in her past.  I cringed more than once when reading about her interactions with the Warden.  Landon is the stereotypical hero, and plays the role of rescuer and town hero very well.  But by far, Dex is the most compelling, and multi-layered character.  Honestly, if the author wrote a spin-off focusing on Dex’s backstory, I’d snatch it up immediately.  The story is well-paced, and the obstacles Zadie and Dex face in the labyrinth are dangerous, challenging, and, at times, heart-breaking.

Everything was going smoothly – awesome world-building, life and death circumstances, intense action – until it became very obvious that one character isn’t what the reader is led to believe.  That’s nothing new – it goes along with good storytelling.  But the revelation is meant to be a twist towards the end, and some things just didn’t ring true for me with this character early in the story.  In scanning other reviewer comments, it didn’t seem to come as a shock to them, either.

If you’re looking for an original YA dystopian/fantasy, The Red Labyrinth fits the bill nicely.  Although the ending includes a cliffhanger, it wraps rather suddenly, and I’ll definitely be adding the next book to my TBR.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

#Bookreview – The Gemini Connection by Teri Polen

A 5 star review for The Gemini Connection from Robbie Cheadle! You’ve probably seen Robbie’s drool-inducing baking creations, poetry, and Sir Chocolate series co-written with her son, Michael, but did you know Robbie will be releasing a new young adult book in the near future? Stay tuned!

Roberta Writes

book reviews

What Amazon says

Teen twin brothers Evan and Simon Resnik are fiercely loyal to each other and share an unusual bond—they experience each other’s emotions as their own and can sense where the other is.

On their dying planet of Tage, scientists work tirelessly on its survival. Like the twins’ parents, Simon is a science prodigy, recruited at a young age to work with the brilliant creator of Scientific Innovations. To the bitter disappointment of their parents, Evan shows no aptitude or interest in science. As a Mindbender, he travels into the minds of scientists to locate buried memories, connect ideas and concepts, and battle recurring nightmares.

When Simon mysteriously disappears, Evan is plunged into a world of loss and unbearable guilt. For the first time, he can’t ‘feel’ Simon—it’s like he no longer exists. Evan blames himself. No one knows that he ignored his brother’s pleas for help on…

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#NewRelease: The Tower in the Mist (Minstrels of Skaythe #1) by Deby Fredericks #sorcery #fantasy

If you’ve visited Deby’s blog, you know she loves dragons – and I mean, who wouldn’t?  Because – dragons, right?  Deby has also published several fantasy books, and is here today with her new release, the first book in a series.  Isn’t that cover awesome?  Beautiful colors.  Welcome, Deby!

Mages vs. Amazons vs. Giant Badgers vs. Tyranny!

Zathi’s job is to capture renegade mages, but Keilos isn’t like any other mage she’s dealt with. Her drive to bring him in only leads them deeper into a cursed forest. Together, warrior and mage will face deadly beasts and grapple with decisions that compromise every principle. Until they stumble upon a place of ancient, forgotten magic. Zathi must choose — allow Keilos to claim it, or kill him once and for all.

Buy Links:
Amazon

For other formats:

Draft2Digital link: https://books2read.com/u/3nK1Mo/div>

Author Bio
Deby Fredericks has been a writer all her life, but thought of it as just a fun hobby until the late 1990s. She made her first sale, a children’s poem, in 2000.

Fredericks has six fantasy novels out through two small presses. More recently, she self-publishes her fantasy novellas and novelettes. In addition, she writes for children as Lucy D. Ford. Her children’s stories and poems have appeared in magazines such as Boys’ Life, Babybug, Ladybug, and a few anthologies. In the past, she served as Regional Advisor for the Inland Northwest Region of the Society of  Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, International  (SCBWI).

Fantasy and Children’s Writer
Find out more at my website or my blog
or join my mailing list.

WWW Wednesday: What Am I Reading? #amreading

WWW Wednesday is a meme from Sam at Taking On A World Of Words

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading Five Midnights by Ann Davila Cardinal.  I literally just started this, so I don’t have a feel for it yet.  But strange things are afoot, and I’m intrigued.

Five friends cursed. Five deadly fates. Five nights of retribución.

If Lupe Dávila and Javier Utierre can survive each other’s company, together they can solve a series of grisly murders sweeping though Puerto Rico. But the clues lead them out of the real world and into the realm of myths and legends. And if they want to catch the killer, they’ll have to step into the shadows to see what’s lurking there—murderer, or monster?

 

I finished two books on Sunday  The first was an ARC of DEV1AT3 by Jay Kristoff.  The first book in this series, LIFEL1K3, was a mindblower, and I was keeping my fingers crossed I’d receive an ARC for the second.  Although there weren’t quite as many twists in this second book, it was an action-packed thrill of a ride.

Lemon Fresh has seen better days.

After the climactic battle in Babel, she finds herself separated from Ezekiel and Cricket in the wastelands. Lemon’s abilities to manipulate electricity mark her as a deviate, and deadly corporate operatives are hunting her to use as a weapon in the war between BioMaas Incorporated and Daedelus Technologies. Instead, Lemon finds herself falling in with a group of fellow deviates—a band of teenagers with astonishing abilities, led by an enigmatic figure known as the Major, who may hold the secrets to Lemon’s past.

Meanwhile, Cricket finds himself in possession of the puritanical Brotherhood, a religious cult set for a head-on collision with the Major and his band. Searching for Lemon, Ezekiel finds a strange ally in an old enemy, and uncovers a plot that may see him reunited with his beloved Ana.

And inside Babel, a remade Eve hatches a plan to bring an end to the world. 

The second book I finished was the audio book of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi for my book club.  It’s been in my TBR for too long, and with over 15K reviews and an average of over 4 stars on Goodreads, I couldn’t wait to read it.  And that cover – gorgeous!  Richly detailed world-building, and characters you’ll love.

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy. 

Next up is Recursion by Blake Crouch.  I’ve liked everything I’d read by this author, so I have no reason to think this novel will break that streak.

Memory makes reality. 

That’s what NYC cop Barry Sutton is learning, as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

That’s what neuroscientist Helena Smith believes. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious memories. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent. 

As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face to face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds, but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.

But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?

At once a relentless pageturner and an intricate science-fiction puzzlebox about time, identity, and memory, Recursion is a thriller as only Blake Crouch could imagine it—and his most ambitious, mind-boggling, irresistible work to date.