Shatterglass – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, there’s been a lot of contemporary romances lately so it’s good to get back to a fantasy briefly.

The last book in the quartet follows Tris as she makes her mark in a new city. In so many ways this city makes me feel ashamed that I’m human. In a world where slavery is almost gone, this city essentially lives with it as it’s entire eco-system.

Tris’s ability to see past this cities ambivalence and see the people, what they’re going through and how broken the structure is, is amazing. As a teenager reading this for the first time, I was inspired to do better, be better and fight for what’s right.

I can’t say I’m as good as Tris at this. But the inspiration is there, and I’m reminded of it every time I read this book.

Tris goes even further by taking in an orphan, giving a hurt man a new lease on life, fixing a man-made drought, showing people that different is ok and changing a whole cities way of life. How could I ever measure up to that given how much ill will there is in the world? How could I possibly find my way of making a difference like Tris does?

I honestly don’t know any other book that’s touched me in the same way that this book did and continues to touch me. I think this inspiration is something that every young person should read to get, remember and take with them through all their journeys throughout the rest of their lives.

It’s such an important message that everyone needs in their heart to remind them to be better.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Summer in Provence by Lucy Coleman.

2

Cold Fire – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, continuing on with Tamora Pierce’s book’s I’m up to Daja.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Daja because she was ostracised and banished from her culture yet rose above that to make something of herself in a way that goes against her culture’s traditions and beliefs. By staying true to herself and her magic.

What more could you ask of anyone?

The fact that Daja finds not one, but two students with vastly different personalities, skill sets and desires for their lives was great. She finds herself navigating not only the magical world in an unknown city and country, but she also needs to navigate the political and aristocratic marriage mart scenes.

Some of my favourite moments in this book involve Oakborn, the wood master mage, and Potcracker, the cook master mage. Some of Daja’s interactions with them are amusing, even after the 10th or more read of them. How often can you say that about books?

Growing up, I thought Daja was having a bit of a romance situation going on. However, looking back now I can see that it was never going to be a romance. But 16-year-old me didn’t know enough about romance to know this. And I was idealistic that maybe one of them would get lucky.

Whenever I go back to re-read this book I look forward to the balance of humour and action that is woven brilliantly throughout the book.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; tomorrow I’ll be reviewing Game Changer by Lasairiona E. McMaster.

Magic Unleashed – Devri Walls

Welcome back everyone, from a fantasy romance heavily steeped in Greek mythology we’re moving on to a review that is entirely fantasy. Including a whole new world.

This is the first book in a series (there are only 2 books?) about a world that is parallel to our own. There are doorways that connect the two, except these have been cursed to open at random times and there’s no set time the door will be open for. This makes it super hard for anyone to move between the two worlds.

Given all the fantasy creatures like werewolves, dragons, vampires, elves, faeries etc are all in this alternate world and many of them aren’t that friendly that’s probably a good thing! Except the only people capable to enforcing laws in this world are Venators. Bred from humans and modified to be especially invulnerable to the supernatural (for example, a werewolf bite won’t turn them).

Due to their bloodlust and hatred of all things supernatural they got banished from Eon back to Earth. I think, a few hundred years later we get to follow the first two Venators to enter Eon and their struggles as they come to grips with their new lives, roles, powers and their own moral conscience.

Reading the blurb and checking it out on Goodreads I was a little unsure about this because it sounded like it would be a YA novel. After chatting to Dave, he assured me it was closer to a New Adult read than YA, so I agreed to read it. And I’m glad I did.

Contrary to what Goodreads suggests, the writing style to me screams New Adult. The focus is on the world building, one’s conscience, politics and espionage. Those silly niggly things I don’t like about YA novels wasn’t evident in this book at all. The two Venators (both 19) are aware that they don’t know everything, they seek advice and they learn from their mistakes. Something most YA seem to miss out on.

The first couple of chapters were a little boring, but they are necessary to set the scene and the Venators personalities. Once Tate join’s them though, everything changes. It becomes full of action, so full that the whole 416 pages only spans like 3 days. There’s so much depth to each character, the locations, the sights and the politics that it’s impossible to be bored.

By the time you get towards the end you feel like you’re exhausted from all the adrenaline pumping through your body. Every description had me on edge and feeling like I was there right with the characters, experiencing both physically and emotionally what they were going through.

And then I was suckered in by people’s motives so much that when the book ended on a short chapter from one of the side characters where you get a hint of those motives. All I could think was “No! Why is he thinking that? What does that mean? What is he? What’s he mean to this world? Why did you have to end like THAT?!”

Suffice it to say, I’m going to need to get the second book to find out what happens coz I need more.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll be reviewing Cold Fire by Tamora Pierce. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Devri Walls is a US and international bestselling author. Having released five novels to date, she specialises in all things fantasy and paranormal. She is best known for her uncanny world-building skills and her intricate stroylines, and her ability to present this all in an easy-to-digest voice.

Now gearing up for her first national release, Devri is excited to introduce her sixth novel, book one in the Venators series. She loves to engage with her loyal following through social media and online sessions she organises for her readers.

Devri lives in Meridian, Idaho with her husband and two kids. When not writing she can be found teaching voice lessons, reading, cooking or binge watching whatever show catches her fancy.

Street Magic – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, I’m picking up where I left off with Tamora Pierce’s books. Today we get to see how Briar goes as an adult.

Briar is probably my favourite of the four so I was always going to have a soft spot for his books, but Tamora write his books in a way that I just can’t resist. Like with his book in the first series, The Healing in the Vine from The Circle of Magic, Briar’s story revolves around those in the slums. Specifically, those in gangs.

The way Briar has really accepted his magic, and his connection to plants is amazing. Every time I read this, I have certain moments, like the jasmine vine, that I just smile at. I can’t help it! It’s so sweet and touching to see a manly man so in touch with his green thumb.

However, the growth we see in his maturity as he accepts that he needs to teach Evvy about her magic, how to control it and even how to use it for good, is amazing. He’s only just finding his own place in the world, yet he accepts (grudgingly, like any teenager) his responsibility as a qualified mage and takes Evvy under his wing.

The fact that he cares for her in more ways than his magical responsibility is amazing. He fights for her in ways I feel like he’d only fight for his sisters. As a young teenager when I first read this when I didn’t have many close friends, this was amazing, and I wished I had someone who’d fight for me like this.

The lengths he goes to protecting Evvy is amazing. He doesn’t seem to care about his own health or life so long as he can save his student and friend. The fact that they have a friendship is easy to see, even if it took a while to get there.

When I’m re-reading Tamora’s books, this is one I always look forward to reading. It gives me the warm and fuzzies every time.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Breathe of Passion by Lisa Kessler.

Magic Steps – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, I’m finally back to Tamora Pierce’s books! YAY!

I ended her books on the final book of the Circle of Magic quartet and I’m picking it back up with the first book in the Circle Opens quartet.

We left off with our four main characters roughly one year after arriving at Winding Circle at the age of roughly 14. We’re now 4 years later, they’ve achieved their Medallions (which signify they can practice magic without supervision) and have gone off on adventures. That is, all except for Sandry.

Instead, she stays home with her uncle to help him run his kingdom and in doing so discovers a new type of magic and an extremely old and rare type of magic. I love that she uses her powers to help her new student in the best possible way.

The fact that she waited for him to come to her rather than forcing her tutelage on him was so important to me growing up. I’ve always believed that if you have a reason to learn something you’ll enjoy it and become better at it. When I first read this book, I was thinking of my maths classes, how much I hated them and how much I sucked at it.

16 years later, now that I’m a learning and development professional I still believe this wholeheartedly. Creating that motivation and need to learn something is such a great driver, and studies have shown is much more effective for long term retention than being forced to learn something.

Throughout the book we see examples of how Sandry tries to create a comfortable environment where Pascal can feel comfortable. Rather than bring him to the palace she finds quiet places that he’s familiar with, and is comfortable in.

Even when everything was going wrong, murders were happening left and right, magic was all over the place and Pascal just wanted to do his own thing, she was able to stay calm. This kind of approach to life’s problems is something I strive towards, but can honestly say, I final really difficult to execute.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week’s series review will be the second last book in the Time for Alexander series, Soul of Time. And on Monday I’ll be reviewing The Bachelor by Sabrina Jeffries.

Rise of Gaia – Kristin Ward

Welcome back everyone, to give you a break from all the romance tours Rachel lured me into, I have a YA fantasy book on tour with The Write Reads.

As some of you may know, I’m not really a fan of YA since most of them have these annoying teenagerish things that just annoy me in my old age. Kristin’s first two books had me hooked and broke the mould of YA books.

Because of that I thought I’d really enjoy Rise of Gaia. And for most of the book I did.

Yet I found that with roughly a quarter of the book left I was getting those typical YA feels.

This isn’t a bad thing! Not by any means! It’s just not my cup of tea.

We have, what sounds like, a small town in Oregon where a 17-year-old starts experiencing unknown hallucinations and begins her quest to find out what is happening to her. As we go through this process of discovery, expansion and growth and making new relationships everything feels quite mature and well thought out.

Terran feels like a very mature 17-year-old, in that she seeks out help, she seeks out support and she doesn’t isolate herself when things start going weird. While she’s doing this, we learn more about the poison mankind has been spreading through the earth.

The way Kristin describes this sickness and it’s spread is amazing. It captures your attention and makes your heart bleed for what our one and one planet is going through. So much so that when I went to my local shopping centre and found they’d cut down one of the only trees in the car park my first thought was “Why would you cut down one of the only bit of greenery? Don’t you know how much we need that!”

For a YA book that weaves in fantasy and a strong message of the impact to the environment we’ve had, it’s amazing! I just found myself getting lost in the last part of the book coz of the typical YA feels that I personally don’t like. Any fans of YA and fantasy will LOVE this!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; I might not be releasing a review on Monday, but I will be reviewing Erotic Fiction? by Hannah Lynn on Wednesday. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Kristin Ward has loved writing since middle school but took thirty years to do something serious about it. The result is her Best Indie Book Award-winning novel, After the Green Withered, followed by the sequel, Burden of Truth. She lives in a small town in Connecticut with her husband, three sons, and many furry and feathered friends. A SciFi geek to the core, she is fueled by dark chocolate and coffee and can be heard quoting eighties movies on a regular basis.

Storms over Babylon – Jennifer Macaire

Welcome back everyone, we’re back to Ashley and Alexander in the Time for Alexander series. I swear I become more and more obsessed with this series with every book I read. Please hurry up and let me read the next three!

I chose to stay up on my flight to Brisbane to read this one instead of sleeping. To put this into context, I normally go to bed about 9pm and my flight took off at 9.30pm. To say I was dead tired when we arrived in Brisbane a couple of hours later is an understatement.

But I did smash out like 90% of the book in that couple of hours on the plane. And man was it good! I actually checked how long I had left to finish the book because I didn’t want to have to stop to get off the plane. Luckily, I finished the book with 5 minutes of my flight to spare.

If you’re familiar with the previous books (not just my reviews of them) then you might remember that Plexis was told all his questions about Ashley would be answered on his death bed. Well, Ashley is faced with the knowledge of when he’s meant to die alongside Alexander being adamant, he doesn’t want her to save him.

Well in this book we get to discover how Plexis dies, along with Alexander a few months later. Knowing that there’s a fantasy element to this story and just loving Ashley’s relationships with Alexander and Plexis and that this is only the 4th of (currently) 7 books, I was left wondering when this book would end.

Well, spoiler alert! (not really) It ends When Alexander dies, and his kingdom begins to crumble with Ashley and her family fleeing the violence. As soon as I was finished, I was like “NOOOO!!!! I want more!” So rest assured, once the 5th book comes on tour I’ll be jumping for a spot to give you more deets!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, tomorrow
(yes you read that right!) I will be reviewing The Determined Lord Hadleigh by Virginia Heath. Continue to read
further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.


Author Bio

Jennifer Macaire lives with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She loves cooking, eating chocolate, growing herbs and flowering plants on her balcony, and playing golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modeled for five years for Elite. She met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.

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Heart of Stone – Ben Galley

Welcome back everyone, after a disappointing romance last week I moved onto a war novel. And this isn’t any old war novel. This is a fantasy war novel!

I hadn’t looked this book up before agreeing to review it, so other than the blurb I really didn’t know anything about it. All I’d really gleaned from the blurb was that there was going to be a war and a golem. Past that I didn’t know what to expect.

What I discovered is a story that follows three sides of a war with the golem, who is strangely human like, stuck in the middle. As it was quite heavy on the war and spy aspects, I did find myself at about half-way through needing to stop and read a couple of feel good romances. I think if the book had been split over a duo or trilogy, I wouldn’t have needed to do that.

But when the book is three times longer than most of the books, I read these days I did feel that I was getting emotionally drained. If you love war type books you probably won’t find that you’ll need something lighter. But since this was the first war novel I read with no romance, or anything else light, in it I did need that break.

From about ¾ of the way through the book I realised how all the pieces would fit together and some of how it would all play out. That doesn’t mean that I was able to predict the ending. With this being a fantasy novel, you never know what can be possible making guessing endings extremely difficult.

I would have loved a little bit more at the end to really wrap it up. Maybe a few years later? I found myself feeling like I was missing some small detail about the story when I was reflecting on what I’d read to be able to write this review for you.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing the fourth instalment of the Time for Alexander series, Storms over Babylon by Jennifer Macaire. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Don't forget to check out the other bloggers reviewing Heart of Stone!

Author Bio

Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone. He is also the author of the brand new Chasing Graves Trilogy.

Check out Ben's other books also on tour for the next 10 days

#4/1 – Briar’s Book – Tamora Pierce

Welcome back everyone, this week we have Briar’s book!

I found this book to be the saddest in the whole series across all three quartets (I know the last one isn’t finished yet).

Reading about Briar being forced to work in a civilian “hospital” managing a massive outbreak that is killing people, is highly contagious and resistant to all treatment is awful. Especially because they discovered it because his mate Flick caught it and was one of the first to die from it.

Map of Summersea Harbour during the outbreak

Reading about how oppressive that environment is gave me a whole new appreciation for our doctors and nurses who work tirelessly to help those in need. Poor Briar and Rosethorn worked from the moment they woke up to the moment they passed out caring for those around them and having their own life and energy sucked from them was almost heartbreaking.

I’m pretty sure if I was to read this now, I would end up in tears because of how sad the whole situation is.

And poor, sweet and considerate Briar was the one to realise that they needed their living plants around them to perk them back up. Unfortunately, it was too little too late and Rosethorn got sick.

Briar’s attachment to Rosethorn was so strong that he leaped after her into the world of death to bring her back because he wasn’t ready to lose her. To make sure they didn’t lose him, all three of the girls jumped after him to hold him secure to the world of the living.

Briar's Book

That whole ordeal was tragic. If it wasn’t for the fact that I knew The Circle Opens was out, I’d have wondered if all four of them and Rosethorn were going to die trying to save her. Luckily, they were able to bring Rosethorn back with them and save her life.

But her speech and mobility were impacted because she was technically dead for a few minutes and so parts of her brain died. But we don’t really see too much of this in this book.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Magic Steps, the first book in The Circle Opens quartet.