#2/1 – Tris’s Book – Tamora Pierce

In this book we mostly follow Tris, however that doesn’t mean that the other’s are lost to us. In fact, they all work together to thwart money hungry pirates that attack their new home.

Map of Summersea’s harbour

Key Story Points

All four of our characters are starting to understand their magic and learn how to use it. In this case we’re mostly following Tris as she learns how to master some new and impressive powers.

Unfortunately her favourite cousin is making life difficult for her. He rocks up to Winding Circle and seems to put a few people on edge for a few different reasons. But Tris is happy to see him, and the others just want her to be happy.

Then out of the blue, Winding Circle is attacked by a bunch of pirates. And thanks to Tris’s magic with weather, she’s able to help clean out the pirates from Winding Circle and restore order.

Tris’s Book

My Thoughts

I will admit, parts of this book makes me love it. But as a whole, it’s not my favourite in the quartet.

Overall, I got the feeling that I was being strung along between great moments embedded at JUST the right moment to keep you hooked.

My Fav Part

Honestly, the main points that I remember and that pops into my head sometimes is Daja working on the city’s and Winding Circle’s defences. And Tris learning some cool new magic that allows them to see into the past.

I’m pretty sure this is the book where Daja almost gives her fellow apprentice a heart attack when she handles metal straight out of the forge. It has me chuckling every time I think about it.

Thank you for reading and next week I’ll have the next book (Daja’s Book) up next week!

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#1/1 – Sandry’s Book – Tamora Pierce

The first book in the Circle Universe is Sandry’s Book, and although she is a main character. She isn’t THE main character.

Map of the Pebbled Sea

Writing Style

The way Tamora has written the first two series in the Circle Universe means that each book has a main hero; who the book is typically named after. So with this book being named after Sandry, it means that she will be the main hero.

Since this book is written for the Young Adult audience it’s not as complex or as deep as most of the books I read these days. But I’ve grown up reading Tamora Pierce and I just love how she writes her stories.

In this case I could feel the despair, anger and confusion that Sandry, Daja, Tris and Briar feel as they are found by Niklaren Goldeye. Then as they try to find their places in their new world.

My Thoughts

Since I wasn’t much older (I think a yr or two?) than they were when I first read these books, I could really relate to the emotional turmoil they were going through.

For me, my school friendship group was changing. And since I’m not very good socially (and neither are these 4) this was a bit stressful for me. But with the help of constantly reading Tamora’s books in those few years (see evidence below if you don’t believe me about how many times I read these books) I managed to get through it.

And I even discovered some other people who liked reading, and who even liked Tamora Pierce as well! That was a bit of a turning point for me when I realised I had something else in common with others. Which actually seems hard to believe since I’d already spent the last 6-7 years with most of them by that point in time.

My poor, broken, over-read copy of Sandry’s Book

My Fav Part

So I have a few different fav parts, I mean, these characters and their stories are written in such a great way that you can’t help but have a few parts of the book you just can’t wait to read again!

Ok, so my all time fav is when Sandry pulls rank on some snobby noble girl (Sandry’s family is like upper upper upper echelon of society and only the people actually ruling a few different countries rank higher than her) to get Daja a seat when Daja first arrives and doesn’t know where to sit in the dining hall.

A girl nearby muttered, “If that’s a lady, I’m a cat.”
Reaching out, Sandry lifted the pitcher of milk from the table. Cradling it in both hands, she walked over to the mutterer.
“I am Sandrilene fa Toren, daughter of Count Mattin fer Toren and his countess, Amiliane fa Landreg. I am the great-niece of his grace, Duke Vedris of this realm of Emelan, and cousin of her Imperial Highness, Empress Berenene of the Namorn Empire. You are Esmelle ei Pragin, daughter of Baron Witten en Pragin and his lady Colledia of House Wheelwright, a merchant house. If I tell you my friend is a lady, then you”- carefully she poured milk into Esmelle’s plate-“you had best start lapping, kitty.”
She set the pitcher down and returned to her chair.

When Sandry and Daja first meet

Being someone who HATES bullies and will actively fight back I practically bounce in my seat with glee every time I read that bit. It’s just so hilarious and it just sets the tone for Sandry’s personality in a way no other quote can quite grasp.

I do love a number of other moments throughout the book. Those moments of banter, discovery and amazement are heady feelings. The way Sandry, Daja, Tris and Briar grow, make discoveries and learn about magic together never fail to strike a chord with me and give me a good chuckle and/or smile

Thank you for reading and next week I’ll have the next book (Tris’s Book) up next week!

#01 Trust the Wolf – Zoe Ashwood

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed Monday’s review and the Wrap Up post yesterday. Moving into March I will be winding down on these reviews on Friday’s as I move back into my series reviews.

So, I thought it would be lovely to finish off my string of Friday reviews with one shared to me through the book blogging community.

Writing Style

Zoe’s writing style was really engaging and pretty much had me hooked right from the get go. I don’t know if I was due for a paranormal romance fix or not. But I certainly finished the book needing more.

I wanted to know what happened between Jason and Emilia. I wanted to know if Emilia’s goal was realised. And if it was, how’d it go? How long did it take? What impact did it have?

And I wanted to know the story behind the big secret of the book.

Am I looking forward to reading more of Zoe’s books to get even more drawn in? You betcha!


Initial Thoughts

Initially I was a little confused about what was happening because it’d been a while, with a lot of other books read in between, since reading the blurb. I knew it was a shifter story, with a wolf and a bear. But I couldn’t remember anything more than that.

So, having a girl at a club get practically attacked by some random guy. And then have another hot random guy save her felt weird.

Then to have the hot guy sniff Emilia when she has no idea what he’s talking about when he’s asking for her SANA ID feels weird.

For some reason, going into this I thought Emilia knew she was a shifter. So, her not knowing confused me a bit. How was this going to play out if she didn’t even know she was a shifter?


Final Thoughts

As I got further into the book I enjoyed it more and more. By the time I finished the book, I knew I’d been long overdue for a shifter style romance novel. I actually don’t remember the last time I read a shifter novel which is really sad for me.

One of the things I really enjoyed about Emilia’s character was that she never changed who she was. Throughout everything that happened, she stayed true to herself and showed us that it’s OK not to know what you want to do with your career yet. That it’s OK to know what you want from a relationship.

There are so many dialogues out there saying women should have a career AND a family. But to do that they’re basically saying you need to know what your one and only career will be by the time you’re like 22. And that’s ridiculous.

I’m 28 and I’ve already had like 4 or 5 career changes for various reasons. I love what I’m doing now and I have a pretty solid idea on how to achieve my career and financial goals. But to expect women to have this figured out by 22 (roughly) is just crazy. You just don’t have the life experience to really know for sure by then.

Anyway, back to the story! The fact that Jason supports her, and what she wants to do is awesome. Because she needs his support in more ways than one to achieve what she decides she wants to do.

Her passion takes her down an avenue that I find truly inspiring and I wanted to know how it all played out. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that satisfaction in this book. But I’m hoping to get some in the coming books.

Zoe has also given me the second book, Truth or Bear, to read and review. So expect that to have a review in the next couple of months!


I hope you enjoyed this review, please continue down to find out more about Zoe and you can find her on all her social media pages. I look forward to seeing you again on Monday with Tom Stone Day of the Dead.


Author Bio

Zoe Ashwood is a romance writer with a passion for sweet stories with a sexy twist. While she’s always been a reader, Zoe’s writing used to be limited to diary scribbles and bad (really bad) teenage poetry. Then she participated in NaNoWriMo 2015 and never looked back.

Some 400,000 words later, she’s still in love with the art of making up stories—and making her characters fall in love. Trust the Wolf is her debut novel.

When she’s not writing, Zoe works as a literary translator. She’s happily married to her best friend and has two small boys who are as stubborn as they’re cute.

She’s active on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but her newsletter or Facebook Group are the best way of keeping in touch!

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The Consequence of Loyalty – Trey Stone

Welcome back everyone, this week we have a change of pace from the romances I’ve been reading so far this year. Instead, we have a bit of a complex, suspense/thriller style story.

Writing Style

I found this book an interesting read throughout. Although there were a few cases of typos (I don’t think you can ever get rid of them entirely) that had me pausing to figure out what had been missed so I could understand the meaning of the sentence. Overall, this read as a story that is meant to challenge you and keep you guessing.

What I found quite useful was the date and time stamp at the start of each chapter. Since we were swapping between various characters and went back in time at a couple of points, this made it really easy to see the flow of the story and understand when I was reading about a particular character.

Given how complex this story is, I would’ve been lost without this so I’m super thankful!


Initial Thoughts

When I first started reading this story, I got the feeling I was going to read a book equivalent to “Quantico”. And that was pretty damn complex, so I knew I’d be in for a confusing ride if this was anything like that.

I was a little bit lost to begin with, until I got used to the writing style, when we kept swapping characters. But this quickly settled as you got told pretty much at the start of each change who you were following now based on where they were, what they were feeling and what they were doing.


Final Thoughts

I will admit I powered through this one more because I got my reading mojo back and because I was trying to avoid having to study since I wasn’t feeling 100%.

That’s not to say that the story wasn’t intriguing. It was!

It just wasn’t the whole reason I read this one in like 2 days.

Anyway, as I worked through the story, I found I couldn’t figure out what direction I was meant to be heading in. Was I meant to be seeing clues as to who was behind everything? Was I just meant to be along for the ride?

If I wasn’t meant to be seeing any clues as to who the mastermind behind the shooting was, then congrats! Coz I certainly didn’t pick up on anything. But if I was meant to see clues and start to figure out (even just vaguely) who was responsible. Well, you missed the mark there.

It kinda felt like when you’re near your word limit for a uni report or essay, but you don’t wana cut out anything you’ve done so far. So you just cram the last bit of the report into the fewest possible words without actually explaining yourself properly. It honestly was like a hail Mary as to who the evil mastermind was that I didn’t pick up on until they walked into the kitchen to arrest them.

Surely, I should have had at least SOME inkling by this stage as to who needed to be arrested? I’m not saying I’m always right with these things. But normally afterwards once you know who the bad guy is you see all the clues fall into place.

And I didn’t get that with this one. Which was a shame since the rest of it was well written and kept me engaged throughout the whole story.


Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Trust the Wolf by Zoe Ashwood.


Author Bio

Trey Stone is an author, reader, and reviewer. His first book, The Consequence of Loyalty, a crime thriller set in Columbus, Ohio was published in 2017. When he’s not working on his second novel, he enjoys reading, playing the guitar, and his day job as an archaeologist.

          

Tamora Pierce – The Circle Universe

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Hi all, welcome back to a new series of series reviews! Woohoo!

My mum bought me the first book in this world’s series when I was like 9 or something when I was in the city with her one day. I distinctly remember hating her in that moment for forcing me to read something outside of my normal genres.

In my first attempt of fantasy I really hated it. But luckily a few years later I rediscovered Tamora Pierce through a friend and ended up falling in love with all of her books and went back to reread this one.

To give you an overview, this series follows 4 main characters in the original Circle of Magic series when they are first brought together.

Tris, Briar, Sandry and Daja in The Circle of Magic Source

Over the course of the Circle of Magic, The Circle Opens and The Circle Reforged we see them grow up and into their powers in ways that keep you engaged, interested and riveted.

Sandry, Daja, Briar and Tris all grown up Source

Across all three series we travel across various regions countries, so you may find the below map helpful as I review the series.

The Circle Universe world map Source

I look forward to exploring this series with you and hearing what you think of these reviews!

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An Unconventional Affair: A Risk Worth Taking – Mollie Blake

Welcome back everyone, I know it’s been a busy week for reviews but I’m hoping you’ve been looking forward to this one if you read the review of the first book. For those of you who have been following since August 2018 you’d be familiar with the first book in this series and that I quite liked it.

So naturally, when I was offered a place in this tour since I’d read the first book, I figured I had to know what happened next. Who wouldn’t want to do that?

Book One Review

If you need a refresher on what I thought of Book 1 click the banner to head on over to it to get your reminder!

Link to Book 1 review


Story Overview

In this book, we go back to where we left off the first books; and work our way forwards with a few skips between locations and times to begin with. Barrington is still in Australia and ends up staying MUCH longer than initially planned.

Meanwhile, Tee remained in England having to repair the ruin of her life after she was almost killed in her own home. Luckily, an old friend was happy to help her regain a semblance of control and normalcy.

Once we see how they each fared in their first year apart, we skip forward 8 years briefly before skipping ahead another 2 years. This means that there are often gaps in how relationships have formed, developed and changed between the various characters.


Initial Thoughts

Initially I was a little bit confused because we kept jumping between a few different times during the first year of Barrington’s stay in Australia. There weren’t any dates, so you just had to kind of guess how far back or forward you had moved.

I was also a little bit confused by one of Barrington’s relationships. Was this done as a way to be more inclusive?

I just felt like it’s something that most people wouldn’t do. Why would they suddenly change who they are and what they are ok with, with no previous indication that they felt this way? Like, not even any internal thoughts, lusts or whatever that they then try to suppress?

It just felt awkward until I read about another character and then I guessed what the outcome of the story was going to be (to a point).


Final Thoughts

I did change my mind on Barrington’s odd relationship choice by the end of the book. Rather than it being weird. It felt like a total set up that ruined the final relationship formation for me. I literally knew exactly when and how it would get together which ruined any surprise I might have otherwise felt.

I liked the excitement towards the end of the story. It created a tension that was unexpected (although looking back I probably should have expected it) in more ways than one. We saw relationships tested, people broken and the effort it takes to heal after an event like that. To a point.

Over all I was a little bit underwhelmed compared to the first book. I’m not sure if I built up the first book in my head or not. But I felt like it just didn’t quite live up to the hope I had considering how much I enjoyed the first book.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Monday I will be reviewing At the End of Summer by June Moonbridge.

Author Bio

Mollie Blake is a published author of contemporary romance. A lover of reading sexy stories, Mollie decided to go one step further and write her own. Her romances are filled with danger and peppered with hot sexy scenes. She is a member of International Thriller Writers and UK Romantic Novelists Association.

Check out the other reviews on this blog tour

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Giveaway – Win a signed copy of An Unconventional Affair Book 2, and some lip and hand gifts (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


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Love Heart Lane – Christie Barlow

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed my review of Second Chance at the Ranch as much as I enjoyed reading it.

I chose to participate in today’s Book Tour because it sounded like such a sweet and sad story that I just wanted to know what happened!

Story overview

Felicity starts this story waiting to speak to her manager to get some time off just after the new year. Given that she works in a department store, this is when sales are rife and it’s super busy.

Felicity’s dreading having to ask for time off since the new management isn’t people focused. Surprisingly, she manages to get time off, but only because her grandmother had just passed away.

Meanwhile, as the day continues we learn about her now ex-boyfriend. She’s kicked him out of her apartment and is mentally preparing for the trip to her Scottish hometown of Heartcross.

While Felicity travels home she’s wracked with heartache on account of Fergus, her childhood sweetheart. However, we don’t have long to wait to see what kid of reception she gets from him. Since she unexpectedly runs into him within hours of getting home in the middle of a blizzard.

Their greeting is even colder than Felicity imagined it might be. But then again, she did run away more than 8 years previously. And this it the first time they are seeing each other since then.


My thoughts

At this point, reading about how cold Fergus is towards Felicity. It had me wondering what she could possibly have done to him that was so awful that he held onto his grudge that long. Throughout the book I was wracking my brain to try and figure it out. In response to my patience I was slowly drip fed the answers I was starving for. And boy was I surprised!

I was treated to a lot of heartache, quite a few arguments, tension between friends, a runaway child, disaster and a community spirit that left me emotionally exhausted. With an ending that felt like it really brought the story together.

At times you can reach the end of a story and it feels like the author has rushed a relationship, just to get the happily ever after. But this one didn’t feel like that, which is great.

Instead, it felt like the natural progression of friendships that finished things off in the perfect way. Without being over the top JUST to get that happily every after. Because of this I’m super eager for the sequel Foxglove Farm to come out!


Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Friday I will be reviewing The Earl’s Irresistible Challenge by Lara Temple.

Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author info

Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty’s Countryside Dream, Lizzie’s Christmas Escape, Evie’s Year of Taking Chances, The Cosy Canal Boat Dream, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Love Heart Lane. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA & Australia. 

Christie is an ambassador for @ZuriProject raising money/awareness and engaging with impoverished people in Uganda through organisations to improve their well-being as well as Literary Editor for www.mamalifemagazine.co.uk bringing you all the latest news and reviews from the book world.

          

Check out the other views on this Blog Tour

Miao-Shan: The Awakening – Gary Morris

Welcome back everyone, this weeks book is another author request. This time from an author who only has one other published book, so you might not have heard of him.

But if you haven’t, you should give him a go because this is a book unlike any I’ve ever read before. It’s based in Hong Kong and includes a fair bit about the Chinese culture and history which is fairly new to me.

Story overview

The story begins at the end of the 19th Century in Hong Kong with a small and happy family. Only to have the parents murdered in the first chapter and a rampant display of racism between the local Chinese people and the “Gweilo”, or English, people.

Typically both races believe the other to be savages purely because they do things differently. Of course, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is the main theme of the book. However, it’s not the key theme so I’m going to leave that there.

Lei’s need for revenge against the Triads as the long survivor of her family is what we learn to be, the key theme of the story. As such, she learn’s Kung Fu to become calmer and to learn empathy.

However, her thirst to hurt “bad people” means she never quite reaches that goal. Instead, she ends up accepting her fate and became an almost merciless killer in her quest for vengeance.


My thoughts

Throughout the story Lei chooses to fight back against those that want to oppress others. And this, I believe, is something many people don’t have the courage, and or, the skills to do. So good on her for standing up for what she believes in!

However, the examples we see of Lei’s excessive force does scare me a little. But only because that lack of compassion or regard for human life is what typically forms the basis for a sociopath’s personality.

And typically speaking sociopaths can’t change who they are or how they react to things. They can learn to mimic emotions, but they can’t feel them the same way most people can. So how can Lei truly learn and display compassion if she’s unable to truly feel it?

Surprisingly enough, she does find the ability to be compassionate. And the time she finds this ability is what truly surprises me. It’s at this moment that we really get to explore the difference between revenge, and justice. Can she live with the knowledge that she caused destruction and the loss of hundreds of lives.

That’s a lot for anyone to bear, let alone someone who’s only about 18-20 years old. I can’t imagine the guilt gnawing at her conscious and how difficult it would be to get to sleep each night knowing that she cut those lives short.

So knowing that she had to live with that for eternity I can sympathise with her need to leave China and be somewhere else. Somewhere different where she can come to terms with everything she’s done.

Gary has told me since reading Miao-Shan that there is a second book for me to look forward to. And I will, because I want to know what she does next!


Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review. On Friday I will be reviewing Second Chance at the Ranch by Maxine Morrey.

Yes you read that right! This Friday! I look forward to seeing you again then. But don’t forget to read a little bit about this week’s author Gary Morris below.

Author info

Gary Morris

For most of my working life, I was in the collectables field. First dealing in stamps and then in antiques. I have always had a love for Asian art and history. Particularly Chinese and Japanese. I have also directed and produced a computer game.

I started writing fiction professionally in 2010, during which time I wrote two complete novels, of which Miao-Shan is the second one. At the end of 2010, I returned to the property industry, without having acquired an agent. For the next six years, I wrote part-time.

I currently have two other books completed (one an unusual spy thriller, and the other a time-travelling paranormal fantasy), but neither is ready for publication yet.

          

#27 Stygian – Sherrilyn Kenyon

Welcome back all, I thought we’d close out the year with a Sherrilyn Kenyon review. In reading this book I felt like I’ve missed a few of her books from the Dark Hunter world. If you’re interested in me reading these and reviewing them comment below with the title’s I haven’t reviewed and I will try and get to them to read and review them.

This book is following Urian right from before he was even born (from the time of Acheron’s death when Apollymi went nuts on the world) right up to the end of 2017. I wasn’t too sure how this was going to play out since Phoebe had died way back when. But I was really interested to see where this was going to go.

I felt like the first kinda part of this book was a bit repetitive since it was taken pretty much directly from Acheron’s book from just after his death. And there were a few other sections that felt like this as well. Which can’t really be helped given how long Urian has been alive, and how much he’s been involved in other books. But what I didn’t like about how Sherrilyn did it is that she didn’t even try to re-write the scenes that Urian was in from his perspective. It felt more like a copy and paste from previous books.

However we did spend quite some time with the first few (thousand) years of his life mostly stuck in Kalosis. On his few forays into the human world we see him cross paths with a few different Dark Hunters, Were Hunters and even Acheron and Savitar. Because of this we see a different side to Urian than we’ve seen in the past. Which was pretty cool.

We also got to know his brothers and one sister. We learnt about the various relationships and I really felt like I got a sense of Urian and why he was like he was like. To find out how close he was to Apollymi was strange. We knew from a previous book that he’s actually Bethany and Styxx’s child. And we know that Apollymi hated Styxx with a massive passion. So why would she be close to their son? Why train him to be amazing? Why be ok with him having Styxx’s emblem on his shield? Her love of him just felt so strange to me but at the same time so nice.

The biggest thing that was strange to me was Urian’s first love. And that it was to a dragon. From everything we knew about Urian until this point in time he has never ONCE mentioned loving anyone other than Phoebe. So to hear that he loved Xyn, and had a relationship with her over a span of hundreds of years. He loved her so much that he was devastated when she didn’t meet him and went back to her cave to check on her and found it abandoned and her long gone.

So my problem then became a matter of. Was Phoebe or Xyn his true love? Or is there someone new who has entered his life? Well after a whole lot of drama, adventure and tension it turns out Xyn was alive and locked as a statue all this time. Cue a bit more drama coz turns out Phoebe is alive as well and he ends up going back to Xyn and leaving Phoebe to try and enjoy what remains of her life.

Just like with Styxx’s book I was grabbed in, sucked in emotionally and really felt like I was there with Urian. The loneliness he’s experienced his whole life, as if he’s not like everyone else? It’s a feeling I’ve felt most of my life and its something that can isolate someone further than they already feel.

I hope everyone has a great end of the year and welcomes in 2019 safely, but with a lot of fun!

PS. I will be welcoming in the new year with a new look, fingers crossed I will have finished it (you may have already noticed some changes…) by the time the first review of the new year is released!