Tuesday, November 18, 2014

[Blog Tour] The Tree of Water by Elizabeth Haydon Excerpt + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on Elizabeth Haydon's The Tree of Water blog tour! Today I will be sharing an excerpt from Haydon's 4th installment in The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme, along with a giveaway!

The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme #4 
Publication: October 28, 2014 by Starscape
-Fantasy-Young Adult-

As Royal Reporter of the land of Serendair, it is the duty of young Charles Magnus "Ven" Polypheme to travel the world and seek out magic hiding in plain sight. But Ven needs to escape the clutches of the nefarious Thief Queen, ruler of the Gated City, whose minions are hunting for him. His friend, the, merrow Amariel, has the perfect solution to his dilemma: Ven and Char will join her to explore the world beneath the sea.

As they journey through the sea, Ven finds himself surrounded by wonders greater than he could have ever imagined. But the beauty of the ocean is more than matched by the dangers lurking within its depths, and Ven and his friends soon realize that in order to save thousands of innocent lives, they may have to sacrifice their own. For everything in the ocean needs to eat… 

To Go, or Not to Go

The human boys had an expression back in the faraway city of Vaarn
where I was born. It went like this:

Curiosity killed the cat.
Satisfaction brought him back.
I am a curious person. I was just as curious back in my early days in Vaarn 
as I am now, perhaps even more so, because my curiosity had not yet been given a chance to be satisfied.
The first time I heard this expression, I was very excited. 
I thought it meant that my curiosity could make me feel like I was dying, 
but it would let up if I discovered the answer to whatever was making me curious.
I told my mother about the rhyme. She was not impressed. 
In fact, she looked at me as if I had just set my own hair on fire on purpose. 
She patted my chin, which was woefully free of any sign of the beard that should have been growing there.

“That’s very nice,” she said, returning to her chores.
“But just in case nobody told you, you are not a cat, Ven. Unlike you, cats have whiskers.”
My pride stung for days afterward.

But it didn’t stop my curiosity from growing as fast as my beard should have been.
My name is Charles Magnus Ven Polypheme, Ven for short. 
Unlike the human boys in Vaarn, I am of the race of the Nain.
Nain are somewhat shorter than humans, and grumpier. 
They live almost four times as long as humans, and tend to be much less curious, and much less adventurous. 
They hate to travel, don’t swim, and generally do not like other people. Especially those who are not Nain.
I clearly am not a good example of my race.

First, I am very tall for a Nain, sixty-eight Knuckles high when I was last measured on the morning of my fiftieth birthday. 
I’ve already mentioned my uncontrollable curiosity, which brings along with it a desire for adventure. 
I have been blessed, or cursed, with quite a lot of that recently.
But as for the curiosity, while I’ve had a lot of satisfaction for the questions it has asked me, it doesn’t seem to matter.
 As soon as one burning question is answered, another one springs to mind immediately. As a result, I am frequently in trouble.
So now I am about to lay my head on a chopping block, on purpose, and a man with a very sharp knife is standing over me,
ready to make slashes in my neck.

I’m wondering if in fact instead of being a live Nain, I am about to end up as a dead, formerly curious cat.
Because now I have three whiskers of my own.
Ven Polypheme had two sets of eyes staring at him.
One set was black as coal. The other was green as the sea.

Neither of them looked happy.

The green eyes were floating, along with a nose, forehead, and hair on which a red cap embroidered with pearls sat,
just above the surface of the water beneath the old abandoned dock. The brows above the eyes were drawn together. 
They looked annoyed.
The black ones were in the middle of the face of his best friend, Char, who stood beside him on the dock. 
They looked anxious.
In the distance a bell began to toll. 
Ven looked to his left at the docks of the fishing village to the south of them, where work had begun hours ago. 
Then he looked behind him. The sleepy town of Kingston in the distance was just beginning to wake up.
Ven looked back down into the water.

“Come on, Amariel,” he said to the floating eyes. “I can’t really go off into the sea without him.”
A glorious tail of colorful scales emerged from below the surface, splashing both boys with cold salt water.
“Why not?” a girl’s voice demanded from the waves. “He’s a pest. And he isn’t nice to me.”
Char’s black eyes widened.

“I—I’m sorry ’bout that,” he stammered. “When I first met you, Ven didn’t tell me you were a mermaid—” 
He shivered as another splash drenched him again. “Er, I mean merrow. I’m sorry if I made you mad.”


“Please let him come,” Ven said. “Captain Snodgrass gave him orders to keep an eye on me.
 So if I’m going to explore the sea with you, he kinda has to come along.”

Char nodded. “Cap’n’s orders.”

“He’s not my captain,” said the merrow. “I don’t take orders from humans. You know better, Ven. 
My mother will fillet me if she finds out I’m traveling with a human male. Especially if we are going to go exploring. 
There are very clear rules about not showing humans around the wonders of the Deep. And besides, it’s dangerous.
 You have no idea how many sea creatures think humans are tasty. I don’t want to get chomped on by mistake.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Ven watched Char’s face go white.
“We’ll be careful,” he promised. “Char will be on his best behavior.”
“I’ve seen his best behavior. I’m not impressed.”
“Look,” Char said. “If you get sick of me, you can always cover me with fish guts and toss me out as shark bait.”

The merrow stared coldly at him.

“Oh, all right,” she said finally. “But remember, there’s a reason they call bait for sharks chum. 
‘Chum’ is another word for ‘friend.’” Her eyes stayed locked on Char. “And if you make a bunch of sharks angry, Chum—”
“I’ll be chum,” Char said. “Got it.”
“So if you’re coming, we have to find a fisherman named Asa with a red-bottomed boat.
” Amariel pointed south to one of the far docks. “He’ll cut your gills, and we can get going.”
Both boys grabbed their necks.

The merrow rolled her eyes. “Oh, come on. Do you want to be able to breathe underwater or not? 
Gills are the only way I know of to do that. I’m tired of waiting. Decide whether you’re coming or whether I’m leaving.”
“We’re coming,” Ven said as he let go of his neck. “Sorry—it’s just instinct. Let’s go.”
Char nodded, but did not remove his hands.

The merrow disappeared below the surface of the water.
The two boys hurried south over the packed sand along the shore.

“Ya know, it’s not too late to change your mind, Ven,” Char muttered. 
“We could get a boat or somethin’, and follow her out to sea, like we did when we were chasing the Floatin’ Island,
and then dive down to see whatever she wants to show us—”
“You can stay on shore if you want to, Char,” Ven said, trying to see the merrow in between the waves.
“But I promised her a long time ago that I would explore her world with her. It’s now or never.”

“Have it your way,” Char said gloomily. “You always do anyway.”

They followed the pebbly path in the sand south until the fishing village came into sight. 
Several long piers led out into the harbor, with docks along each of them. Small boats lined the docks. 
At each boat fishermen were hauling nets filled with flapping fish and cages with crabs and lobsters onto the piers. 
Seagulls flew in great wide circles above, screeching and crying, then diving for food.

“So how did she happen to find this Asa, and how does she know he won’t just cut our throats?” Char asked as they picked their way among barrels and pieces of rope on the slats of the pier.

Ven shrugged. “No idea. But sailors and merrows have a pretty good connection.”
He pointed about halfway down the pier, where a small green fishing boat with a red bottom bobbed lazily in the morning tide. 
A wrinkled man in a wrinkled hat sat on a barrel at the edge of the dock, cleaning his morning catch of fish. “Could that be him?”
Char squinted. “I guess so.”

“Come on. We may as well ask. If it’s not Asa, he probably knows where to find him. Fishermen all know each other.”
The two boys walked along the pier, stepping out of the way of men dragging lobster traps and heavy netting, until they got to the red-bottomed boat. They stopped behind the elderly fisherman, who did not seem to notice they were there.
Ven coughed politely.

“Excuse me, sir—are you Asa?”

The fisherman looked up from his work, his sky-blue eyes twinkling in the sun.

“Who’s askin’?”

“Er, my name is Ven, sir. I was told I might find a fisherman at this dock who could, uh, cut gills.”

The wrinkly man nodded. “Well, Ven, you’ve found ’im. But I can’t say as I’ve heard of any recent wrecks.”

Ven blinked. “Pardon?”

“Shipwrecks,” said the fisherman.
 “That’s the only reason I know of for a man to risk a slice in his neck—to salvage the treasure from the bones of a shipwreck.”

“Oh.” Ven and Char exchanged a glance, then looked off the edge of the dock.
In the water behind the boat, the beautiful tail of multicolored scales was waving at them from beneath the surface.
“Uh, we weren’t really planning to dive for treasure,” Ven continued, trying to block the sight of the merrow’s tail. 
“We just want to do some exploring.”

The fisherman’s eyebrows arched.

“The sea’s no place to explore without a good reason, lads,” he said seriously. 
“Lots of bad stuff down there—believe you me. The only reason a man takes his life into his hands on a daily basis by going out there is to make a living for his family. Otherwise, we’d farm the land.” The blue eyes twinkled. “If we knew how.”

“Well, we’d really like to have gills, nonetheless,” Ven said. “We’ve been told you know how to, er, cut them without too much pain—and safely. Is that true?”

Asa exhaled, then nodded.

“I suppose that depends on how much is too much where pain is concerned,” he said. 
“That’s really up to you. It’s not my business what you’re doing. We mind our own business on the sea. 
If you want gills, and you’re willing to take the risk, I can cut ’em for you right quick.” 
He held up a thin silver filleting knife. 
“Then I have to get back to cleaning my catch. So, what’ll it be? Make haste, now.”
Char and Ven looked at each other once more, then nodded at the same time.

“We’re in,” said Char.
“All right then,” said Asa. He reached into the boat and took hold of the top of a small sea chest that held his tackle.
 He slammed it closed and put it on the dock in front of them. “Kneel down and put your heads on this chest, your left ears down.”

The boys obeyed.

“Well, ’s been good to know you,” Char whispered as they positioned their heads on the chest.
“Shhh,” Ven whispered back. “We’re not being executed, for pity’s sake.”
“You hope we’re not. You never know.”

Asa wiped the filleting knife on his trousers, then came and stood over Ven.

“Hold very still, now.”

Char winced and put his hand over his eyes.
Ven started to close his eyes as well.
Suddenly, from the end of the dock near town, a bright flash of rainbow-colored light blinded him.
And the world seemed to stop around him.

Copyright © 2014 by Elizabeth Haydon
Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Brandon Dorman 

 Thanks to PR By The Book and Tor Books, I have a copy of The Tree of Water by Elizabeth Haydon to give away! To enter please fill out the Rafflecopter below!

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Gratitude Giveaway Hop [INT]

Welcome to my stop on the hop! I would like to thank the lovely hostess, I am a Reader, Not a Writer for putting this hop together. 

The Gratitude Giveaway hop runs from November 15 - 30

I can't believe it's been three years since I started this blog! Boy, does time flies. I just want to say thank you to all the wonderful readers that has supported the blog over the years. I love and appreciate all the times you've stopped by and commented on my post/reviews. I still get that happy-surprise feeling like the first days of blogging when I see a comment!

This blog would be nothing without you guys, the authors and publishers.
I am grateful for each and every one of you.

One (1) winner
Choice of $15 (USD) Amazon GC or $15 (USD) worth of books from the Book Depository.

INTERNATIONAL, open to anywhere The Book Depository ships.

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Click here to see all the blogs that are participating in this hop!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray [Excerpt + Giveaway]

Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

For a history lesson, this is almost interesting. Maybe it’s the way he talks with his hands, like an excited kid. But right when I might actually get drawn in, I see Paul walking swiftly up the side aisle to the exit.

Theo’s hand closes over my forearm, tightly, in warning. He whispers, “You see him too?”

I nod. He rises from his seat—crouching low so we don’t block anyone’s view and create a disturbance—and I do the same as we slip out to the side of the auditorium.

A few people give us annoyed looks, but the only sound in the room remains Conley’s voice. “For generations now, people have dreaded World War Three. But they’re making a huge mistake. They’re expecting war to look the way it looked before.”

Nobody much is milling around in the corridors outside, except for a few harried assistants trying to prep for some kind of follow-up reception. So Theo and I go unnoticed as we try to figure out where, exactly, Paul might have gone. In a building this old, nothing is laid out quite like you’d expect.

“Through here, maybe?” Theo opens a door that leads into a darkened room, one empty of chairs or tables.

I follow him inside; as the door swings shut behind us, darkness seals us in, except for the faint glow of the tech we wear—our holoclips, or my security bracelet. We can hear Conley’s speech again, but muffled. “The next challenges humanity will face are going to be fundamentally different from any we’ve faced before. New threats, yes—but new opportunities, too.”

Then we hear something else. Footsteps.

Theo’s arm catches me across the belly as he pulls us both backward, until we’re standing against the wall, hiding in the most absolute darkness. Adrenaline rushes through me; my hair prickles on my scalp, and I can hardly catch my breath.

The steps come closer. Theo and I look over at each other, side by side in the dark, his hand firm against my stomach. It’s too dark for me to understand the expression in his eyes.

Then he whispers, “The far corner. Go.”

We break apart. I rush into the corner, like he said, while Theo walks straight toward the steps . . . which turn out to belong to a tall man in a uniform who doesn’t have a sense of humor.

I knew somebody like Wyatt Conley would have security.

“I only wanted to get an autograph afterward,” Theo says as he keeps going, leading the guard farther from me. “Do you think he’d sign my arm? I could tattoo the autograph on there forever!”

Probably Theo meant for me to get out of here while he distracts the guard. Instead I creep around closer to the stage, and to Paul.

From onstage, Conley says, “The dangers we have to fear aren’t the ones we’re used to. They’re coming from directions we never imagined.”

Theo protests as the guard backs him out of the room, “Oh, come on, no need to overreact—” The door swings shut again, and I can’t hear his voice any longer. I glance over my shoulder, as though looking for Theo would bring him back again—

—which is when Paul Markov’s hand clamps down over my mouth.

My father’s killer whispers, “Don’t scream.”

Due to shipping errors I ended up receiving two duplicate copies of A Thousand Pieces of You. And with permission from the publicist, I am giving these copies away to two lucky readers! To enter please fill out the Rafflecopter below!


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Saturday, November 08, 2014

[Review] A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Title: A Thousand Pieces of You
Author: Claudia Gray
Genre: Sci-fi, Young Adult/NA
Series:  Firebird #1

Hardcover, 368 pages
Publication: November 4, 2014 by Harper Teen

Source: I received a review copy from the publisher and Kaye Publicity in exchange for a honest review.

Buy|Amazon|Book Depo|

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

There’s been a lot of alternate/parallel books cropping up, many with intriguing synopsis but the few that I’ve read fell into two categories: good or bad. None of them had that ‘wow’ factor that blew me away…till I read A Thousand Pieces of You. Most alternate/parallel books play with the idea of another world, one other world to be exact. But A Thousand Pieces of You exceeds that idea by exploring multiple worlds, where the worlds are either freakishly similar to our own just somehow slightly tweaked or extremely different, advance (or behind in terms of technology).

Marguerite,Theo and Paul are constantly jumping dimensions, thanks to a nifty invention called Firebird, a device (necklace) that Marguerite parents’ created. The Firebird enables the wearer to jump to parallel dimensions and temporary inhabit their ‘other self’ for a short duration. Gray’s world building was incredible and the concept for this book extremely unique. I don’t think there’s any book like this, nor as well done. The science behind the idea of alternate/parallel multiverse was very in-depth; the information was explained in a way that’s easy to understand and made the idea/story believable. I loved all the different dimensions that the characters ended up in. Each dimensions had its own elements that made them standout which also made it easy to differentiate one from another. My favorite, like the cover is alternate Russia; which happens to be where Maguerite and Paul were at the longest. I thought the incorporation of the Tsar family and Maguerite as a princess during the second imperial dynasty was a fun play on the Romanov family history.

I really liked all the characters. For one thing, they’re older. Early twenties I believe, which makes this book more NA than YA in my opinion. Marguerite is an artist living among a family of scientists, trying to carve a different path from her physicist family. For the most part Marguerite is a strong, smart, and likeable heroine. I liked that she always listened to her gut, and never let what others say influence her thoughts/feelings. Then there are the two men vying for her heart, Theo and Paul who is both her parent’s assistant. Both men are also likeable and wholly different. Theo is more laid back, always making jokes, and has this confidence that borderlines being cocky. And there is Paul who is quiet, shy, extremely smart but isn’t so great on being social or expressing his feelings. And the thing they have in common is how much they love-care for Marguerite. With that said, there is a love-triangle in this book (not my favorite) but it doesn’t last long thankfully. Marguerite does make a definite choice midway and I was glad to see she didn’t flip-flop back and forth between guys or lead anyone on.

Like many reviewers stated, A Thousand Pieces of You is heavy on the romance. As someone who isn’t all that crazy about romance (I’m more of an action kinda girl), I actually loved the romance aspect of the novel. LOVED it! It might have overshadowed the importance of Marguerite finding her father’s killer but I mean once readers get to the end, and find out the truth…no one can really get mad lol. The love story was so sweet, it literally made me feel all mushy inside (and again, I never get all swoony about this stuff!). While the book explores multiverse dimensions, it also explores the topic of destiny/fate (which is what one of the character proposes, that there IS a scientific explanation behind the idea, and that it’s real). And readers will get to see that idea in play throughout the book, as two characters find themselves together regardless of time, space or dimensions.

A Thousand Pieces of You
is hands down the best young adult sci-fi book I’ve read all year. I’m a big fan of Gray’s Evernight series, but I gotta say I love this book more and am excited to see where it go. I highly, highly recommend this book; words aren’t enough to express how much I enjoyed it. There’s a little something for everyone, mystery, action, romance, historical, and sci-fi. Pick up your copy of A Thousand Pieces of You NOW, you will not regret it!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Review: Bloodsick by Melissa F. Olson + Promo

Title: Bloodsick
Author: Melissa F. Olson
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: An Old World Novella #2

E-book, 175 pages
Publication: October 27th 2014 by SMP via Shifters After Dark Anthology. Available as a stand-alone December 26, 2014

Source: I received a review copy from the author in exchange for a honest review.

Buy Shifters After Dark here!

All her life, Sashi’s mother warned her not to get involved with werewolf problems. But Sashi, a witch who uses healing magic on sick and injured bodies, has never made a habit of ignoring trauma. When she meets an abused shapeshifter that no one else seems willing to help, Sashi will risk everything –including her fledgling relationship – to save a woman who can’t save herself.

Bloodsick is Will Carling’s origin story, a character that readers met in the Scarlett Bernard series. Bloodsick is narrated by Sashi Noring, a twenty-something Thaumaturge witch (healing magic) living in Minnesota and occasionally Astrid, a female werewolf recently traded to the Minnesota pack to mate with their alpha Luke. There are two stories occurring simultaneously, one with Sashi discovering her place in the world, who wants to make her own path rather than follow in her mom’s footsteps using her magic as an oncologist; and Astrid a new werewolf and member to the Minnesota pack, being mistreated by her Alpha Luke who is determined to bond/mate their wolves together…regardless of their mutual dislike for one another.

I never read a short-story with duo narration, nor is it a preference of mine but I found myself wrapped up in both of these strong women voices and really enjoyed it. Sashi’s mother, Stephanie Noring is Luke’s go-to healer every time he or his wolves get injured. A few days before the full moon, Luke brings Astrid to Stephanie to heal a broken leg and this is where Sashi first meets Astrid and eventually discovers that Luke is not only physically and mentally abusing Astrid but he’s also forcing himself on her in hopes that their wolves bond, and that he will be cured of his madness. Sashi knows she shouldn't meddle in pack affairs, but she's not one to stand by and see another woman go through what Astrid is going through. Sashi's involvement has a snowball effect not only in her Old World business life but also her personal life. While this is supposed to be a story of Will’s origins, the two women are the ones mostly in the spotlight. However, the story still did a great job in painting an image of Will prior to his werewolf transformation and a life before he became the Alpha of the L.A. pack. It was interesting to see all the events that lead up to Will’s transformation, especially when he never had a say in it.

I loved Sashi and Astrid, they were very likeable leads. They are two very different woman but have the same qualities that make them the perfect heroines; both of them are strong, independent, smart, brave and headstrong. I also loved learning all about the witches and wolfs dynamic as well as more of the old world (term used when referring to all the hidden supernaturals). The two supernaturals are very complex in their rules and it was interesting to see how much they differ yet one thing is for certain; the sects cannot stand one another nor do they interact with each other much, which is exactly the way everyone wants it to be kept.

Another great novella from Olson! Bloodsick has all the elements that I love and come to associate with the Scarlett Bernard series packed into this short-story. Bloodsick clocks out at 175 pages, but it was jammed packed with action, a well-written plot, awesome characters and an intriguing world. Bloodsick is a great introduction to Olson’s writing style/story telling; fans of the Scarlett Bernard series will be delighted to jump back into the Old World, while new fans…let me just say ‘get ready to be hooked’! I absolutely loved Bloodsick and was so sad when it ended...I just didn’t want to leave Sashi, Astrid, Will, and the wolf pack! The ending/Epilogue was just crazy and bittersweet! I hope we find out what happens next for Sashi! I highly recommend Bloodsick, Olson’s spin on the supernaturals (Witches, Vamps, and Weres) is a breath of fresh air. Read it, you won’t be disappointed!

Bloodsick is available now in the Shifters After Dark Anthology!
Six authors, six books for only .99! For a limited time only! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp

Title: The Accidental Highwayman
Author: Ben Tripp
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fantasy
Series: The Accidental Highwayman #1

Hardcover, 304 pages
Publication: October 14, 2014 by Tor Teen 

Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

Buy|Amazon|Book Depo|

In eighteenth-century England, young Christopher “Kit” Bristol is the unwitting servant of notorious highwayman Whistling Jack. One dark night, Kit finds his master bleeding from a mortal wound, dons the man’s riding cloak to seek help, and changes the course of his life forever. Mistaken for Whistling Jack and on the run from redcoats, Kit is catapulted into a world of magic and wonders he thought the stuff of fairy tales.

Bound by magical law, Kit takes up his master’s quest to rescue a rebellious fairy princess from an arranged marriage to King George III of England. But his task is not an easy one, for Kit must contend with the feisty Princess Morgana, gobling attacks, and a magical map that portends his destiny: as a hanged man upon the gallows….
This is the most fun I had reading a historical fantasy young adult in a long time! The Accidental Highwayman is compared to be in the same vein as Star Dust and The Princess Bride and while I haven’t read either book I did see the movie, Star Dust; and I can definitely see some comparisons. The book is set in 18th Century England, and the dialogue/writing definitely reflects the time-period perfectly. The lingo might take a while to get used to, but I don’t think it detracts from the story. It instead gives an authentic feel to the characters and the setting. Tripp inhabits his world with fantastical creatures and beings that just leap off the pages, and enthralls the reader into a feel-good adventure with Kit and his misfit crew. What makes this book more charming is Tripp’s use of illustrations (full page and small pictures) throughout the book, I absolutely love it. 

The Accidental Highwayman is narrated in first person by 16-year-old Kit who is such an adorable and likeable character. Kit use to be part of a traveling circus before he was employed by Master Rattle as the sole servant of the manor. He lived quite a simple life and is very content with how things are but on one of Master Rattle’s usual nights, Kit finds his employer chased by bandits and injured at home. Kit dons his Master’s clothes to misdirect the intruders but instead he finds himself picking up Rattle’s task by a witch to save a lady who is none other then the Fairy King’s daughter and only heir. Kit is suddenly thrust into this magical world that he never knew existed and he took everything in better than I expected. Of course he was freaked out when he found out he had to complete his Master’s task, but I think how he handled it was very realistic…obviously scared and in awe at the same time. It was great to see Kit learn as he goes, and hilarious how he unintentionally out smart all his chasers from goblings, pixies, gryphons, Red Coats, The Rea Sea Duchess and even the Fairy King himself! Along his journey Kit picks up all sorts of wonderful unique friends such as the half human fairy princess who has unlimited powers yet to be discovered, tight-roper Lily (an old acquaintances when he was a kid), Lily’s eccentric Uncle Cornelius, a smart/ (non-talking?) baboon and two tiny fairies that pack a whole lot of attitude.

I love, love, love The Accidental Highwayman! It has everything one looks for in a book; great world building, likeable characters and an action-packed plot. In my opinion, It embodies everything that makes a classic fairy tale-fantasy adventure story. The book is geared toward the young ddult audience, but I think even a younger audience such as middle-grade or older audience (like myself lol) will very much enjoy this book as it offers a little something for everyone. I highly recommend The Accidental Highwayman, and think readers will have as much fun reading it as I did. I can’t wait for the sequel, The Accidental Giant! Be sure to check the Editor’s Note on how the author came up with the story from using old documents he found in his ancestor’s sea chest. How cool is that?!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Rooms by Lauren Oliver

Title: Rooms
Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: Paranormal Fiction
Series: N/A

Hardcover, 320 pages
Publication: September 23, 2014 by Ecco

Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

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Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.
Rooms is the most unusual yet fascinating ghost story I’ve ever read. I have never read any of Ms. Oliver’s books, but I can see why she’s a bestseller; her writing is impeccable drawing me into the story right from the first page.
Rooms is a story about the Walker family returning to their father’s estate after his death to go over his belongings, the will, and his funeral and the two ghosts that still resides within the walls. Sandra and Alice are previous occupants of the house, but now in death they are trapped within the house bickering amongst themselves. The book explores the family’s past, their ups and down and how they’re coping with the lost of their father.

Rooms may be a ghost story but not in the sense of what most people refer to as ‘ghost stories’. It’s not scary, gruesome, nor spine-chilling. It’s a story about the living and the dead but mostly the living, exploring the lives of the Walker family. Rooms is narrated by six characters; The Walkers: Caroline (Mother, Ex-Wife), Minna (Daughter, Single mother), Trenton (Son) and Amy (Minna’s six-year-old daughter) and two ghosts: Alice and Sandra. The book alternates between all six characters, narrated in third-person with the Walkers and first-person with the ghosts.

I’m not usually a big fan of multiple narrations. Usually with this many narratives, authors sometimes lose some of the characters’ individuality/ uniqueness in trying to balance everything out. However, Oliver made it work and exceeded this challenge. She created a distinct voice for each of her characters. All of the characters were very realistic, beyond flawed but it was what made them and the story that much more riveting. It was very easy to follow each of the character’s story/narrative, even the two ghosts who at first seemed similar but as I got into the story it was easier to see that Sandra is more cynical and vulgar while Alice is laid back and conservative.

Rooms is a pretty dark and bleak book. The characters are all troubled, guilt-ridden and full of despair. And while these types of characters can usually be off-putting, Oliver writes tragic characters well…making readers want to get to know the characters and their history/past. I loved the ending, it was very bitter-sweet and Oliver wrapped up all the loose ends perfectly.

There are many negative reviews of this book. Many of them from readers following the author from her YA series to her new adult book…and while I haven’t read her YA series/book this is definitely not YA. Rooms deals with a lot of adult issues and has a lot of adult content that isn’t suitable for anyone under seventeen. With that being said, I really enjoyed Rooms and highly recommend it. Don’t let all the negative reviews dissuade you from reading this one; there is a lot to like. I’m really glad I read this book. Rooms is a beautifully written novel with unique and distinct characters and an engaging plot that will be with me long after I read it. Read it, you won’t be disappointed!