Roar: A Review

Aurora Pavan looks the part of a powerful princess from one of the oldest Stormling family lines. Everyone expects Rora to soon take up her mother’s mantle as queen using her abilities to control and dispel dangerous storms that plague all of Caelira to protect their kingdom. It has been this way since the first storms appeared generations ago.

No one knows the dangerous secret Roar and her mother have been keeping. Rora has no storm magic.

An arranged marriage to a ruthless Stormling prince from a neighboring kingdom can help Rora keep her secret and her kingdom safe. But Cassius Locke is dangerous and the more Rora learns about him the more she fears marrying him on any terms.

Legends tell of how the first Stormlings claimed their magic by facing storms and stealing their hearts–something she learns may still be possible from a storm hunter who reveals that he too was born without magic but has it now.

Determined to finally choose her own fate, Rora sets out to face a storm–and her future–on her own terms in Roar (2017) by Cora Carmack.

Roar alternates close third person point of view between key characters including Rora and Cassius among others. Quotes from Caeliran legends and songs help to expand the world. Carmack’s fantasy debut begins with a fascinating premise where storms plague the kingdoms of Caelira and only a select few can control them. Unfortunately the full potential of this premise is never quite realized.

You can see Carmack’s roots in contemporary romance here with Roar’s focus on interpersonal relationships over external details that would help to clarify the setting and magic system. Centering relationships from the beginning of the novel also leads to a slow start as Rora builds up to her storm hunting adventure.

Roar is a sexy, dramatic high fantasy that will appeal to readers who prefer character-driven books. Readers looking for a sweeping romance and adventure will be eagerly waiting for the sequel.

Possible Pairings:  Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken, Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst, Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas, Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

*A title of this copy was provided by the publisher for review consideration*

Week in Review: August 5

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

I’m never sure if anyone reads these posts because I don’t get a lot of comments but whatever. Real talk: July was a bookish mess for me. Nothing held my attention. Tons of books I was excited to read ended up being total letdowns. I ordered a Bookish Bundle from Uppercase and though I liked some items, it was also a bust and not something I should have spent money on (oh cruel hindsight). I read about twenty books last month and got about fifteen books off my shelves permanently though so that was good.

I am over the heat and humidity. I invested in a lot of summer dresses this year and they have been saving me but it’s been so hot that even my contacts feel dried out. Not cool (like literally but also figuratively). Pokemon Go has also been consuming my life in an essentially futile hunt for the Legendary Birds. Despite some successful raids and gaming the system by pooling with my guybrarian coworkers I am still 0 for 0 in terms of catching any of them.

I am loving my new iPhone 7 Plus. It was pricey but I am so happy with the upgrade and have sold off my old phone and ipod to offset the costs. The camera is amazing! Portrait mode always looks cool in the commercials but it’s even better in real life. It’s just the best.

Here’s my latest from Instagram:

It was really windy on Friday. #windy #wind #trees #plants #garden

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Obligatory haircut selfie from earlier this week. #selfie #haircut #shorthair #pixiecut

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This month's @uppercasebox includes a book I've never heard of before. That never happens! I am also very excited about the prints–especially the card from Words in Deep Blue which is a favorite book by a favorite author. The July Uppercase included: -Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton -I Love Books cat sticker -Alice in Wonderland socks -Words in Deep Blue quote card -"Books are uniquely portable magic." embossed print I'm excited to get a completely new to me book and can't wait to read it with the included reading experience bookmark. I always need socks and I love the prints. Have you seen or read this book yet? What mail got you excited this week? #bookstagram #goodreads #instabook #instareads #bibliophile #books #reading #currentlyreading #amreading #bookworm #bookish #bookgram #booktography #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookphotography #books #bookstagramit #yalit #subscriptionbox #subscriptionaddiction #uppercasebox #wordsonbathroomwalls #wordsindeepblue #socks #juliawalton #bookbox

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If you you want to see how my month in reading is shaking out be sure to check out my August Reading Tracker.

How was your week? What are you reading?

Let’s talk in the comments.

Bearly a Lady: A Novella Review

Zelda had made peace (mostly) with transforming into a werebear once a month. Luckily she has her amazing vampire roommate and her dream job at a fashion magazine to balance that out. Then, of course, there’s her excellent wardrobe–if only more of it was werebear sized!

Things get complicated when Zelda has to juggle a date with with her high school crush Jake (alpha werewolf of Kensington) and the charms of Benedict the fae nobleman (and nephew of her boss) that she’s been assigned to bodyguard for two whole weeks. Then there’s Janine, Zelda’s longtime crush at work and maybe the one who could take Zelda’s almost perfect life to completely excellent in Bearly a Lady (2017) by Cassandra Khaw.

Khaw offers a frothy homage to chick lit and fantasy in this charmingly cute novella (part of the Book Smugglers Novella Initiative). Zelda’s first person narration is breezy, fun, and just the slightest bit madcap as her life goes from fairly mundane (for a werebear) to bearly (pun intended!) under control. Set over the course of a tumultuous week for Zelda Bearly a Lady offers a contained story with some fascinating world building.

I won’t give away too much about the OTP here but Zelda’s chemistry with her love interests throughout this novella is off the charts. After you finish the story, be sure to read Khaw’s short essay on her inspiration and influences. It’s a great take on how this author, previously known more for her horror efforts, turned her attention to chick lit and something a bit lighter.

Bearly a Lady is a lighthearted novella filled with an inclusive cast of characters, comedy and romance–highly recommended for anyone seeking a much-needed dose of escapism in these trying times.

I have been promised cuteness and werebears and vampires in this novella by Cassandra Khaw (from Book Smugglers Publishing). Based on the cover I am not disappointed! Excited to have this as my next read. 💗 Zelda had made peace (mostly) with transforming into a werebear once a month. Luckily she has her amazing vampire roommate and her dream job at a fashion magazine to balance that out. 💗 Things get complicated when Zelda is juggling a date with with her high school crush Jake (alpha werewolf of Kensington) and the charms of Benedict the fae nobleman (and nephew of her boss) that she's been assigned to bodyguard for two whole weeks. Then there's Janine, Zelda's longtime crush at work and maybe the one who could take Zelda's almost perfect life to completely excellent. 💗 #bookstagram #goodreads #instabook #instareads #bibliophile #books #reading #currentlyreading #amreading #bookworm #bookish #bookgram #booktography #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookphotography #books #bookstagramit #bspnovella #novella #werebear #fantasy #cassandrakhaw

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*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*

Chime: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

“I know you believe you’re giving me a chance–or, rather, it’s the Chime Child giving me the chance. She’s desperate, of course, not to hang an innocent girl again, but please believe me: Nothing in my story will absolve me of guilt. It will only prove what I’ve already told you, which is that I’m wicked.”

Chime by Franny BillingsleyBriony knows in her heart that every bad thing that has happened to her family is decidedly her fault. She looks sweet and innocent, the way her identical twin sister Rose looks when she isn’t screaming. But Briony knows that she is a blight on her family and probably on Swampsea as a whole–her stepmother made sure she knew.

Now Briony’s stepmother is dead and Briony is waiting to be hanged for her misdeeds. There are several places her story could start but it seems fitting, in its own way, to start with Eldric’s arrival because doesn’t every story truly begin when a good looking young man appears? Didn’t Briony’s fragile grasp on her life begin to crumble the moment she first saw his sunshine smile and his lion hair? in Chime (2011) by Franny Billingsley.

Chime was a finalist for the 2011 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

Chime is a circuitous and layered novel written in Briony’s complicated first person narration. Long, winding sentences filled with tangents and asides lend this book the feel of a stream of consciousness and creates a strong textuality to the book.

Briony is a complex character. The loops and whorls of her consciousness are dense and exhausting to read. Just keeping up with Briony’s narration is a feat let alone penetrating it enough to get at what she is sharing and, often more importantly, what she is not sharing as she relates her story.

Chime takes place in an alternate historical England. Magic and magical creatures still flourish but industrialization is beginning to take hold in the form of electric lights and other technical wonders like metal paperclips. The contrasts between the fantastical and the technological are further emphasized in the dichotomy between Briony and Eldric as they try to make sense of each other.

Because of the peculiarities of the narrative and Briony’s initially cutting personality, Chime isn’t a book for everyone. Although it is a fantasy first and foremost, it is also a thoughtful romance and a bit of a mystery as readers unravel what brought Briony to the point of requesting she be hanged posthaste. Readers who can engage with the text and adjust to the writing style will enjoy the world building, the stories within stories, and the twists to be found.

Briony’s story is all about self-care and self love. Along the way, thanks to the vagaries of life and the calculated moves of certain characters, Briony loses sight of who she used to be and who she can become. Chime is about Briony’s journey to rediscover that lost girl of her youth and also to redeem herself–not in the eyes of others but simply for herself.

Best suited to readers who appreciate acerbic wit, rich fantasies, and multifaceted tales.

Possible Pairings: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce, Wildthorn by Jane Eagland, I, Coriander by Sally Gardner, The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge, Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, The Hunter’s Moon by O. R. Melling, The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope, The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding

August 2017 Reading Tracker

You can also see what I read in July.

Books Read:

  1. In A Perfect World by Trish Doller
  2. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
  3. Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton
  4. The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel
  5. All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
  6. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
  7. The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones
  8. Nothing by Annie Barrows

Books On Deck:

  1. Berserker by Emmy Laybourne (Oct.)

Books Bought: 0!

ARCs Received: 0!

August 1, 2017: July was kind of a mess book wise. Nothing held my attention and I burned through a lot of books. That is good because my owned books are slowly but surely getting read and also by to read list is shrinking. It’s bad because I read a lot of books that were annoying for various reasons. So it goes. I’m really hoping to keep my books bought at zero for this month. I have no control over ARCs but not getting any of those would be good too.

The Storyspinner: A Review

The Storyspinner by Becky WallaceThe Keepers have been searching for the long-missing princess for years. They have used their magic and more traditional skills but the princess, long rumored dead, has proven elusive leaving room for rival dukes to compete and connive as they struggle to claim her throne for themselves.

Johanna–a Performer left without a troupe after her father’s grisly demise–thinks such matters are far above her station in life. Until murdered girls begin turning up across the kingdom bearing a striking resemblance to Johanna.

Desperate to support her family and a victim of circumstance Johanna is soon forced to work with Lord Rafael DeSilva. Unfortunately for her, Rafi is boorish and insufferable. Not to mention he shares an equally low opinion of Johanna.

When her path aligns with the hunt for the princess, Johanna finds herself at the center of a dangerous web of secrets that could cost Johanna her life in The Storyspinner (2015) by Becky Wallace.

The Storyspinner is Wallace’s debut novel and part of a duology that concludes in The Skylighter.

This novel is written in close third person and alternates between seven points of view including Johanna and Rafi. This multitude of main characters allows Wallace to balance two narrative threads that eventually converge and maintain some surprise although transitions between chapters and characters are often abrupt. Making so many characters into “main” characters leaves little room to develop any of them. Instead of a multi-faceted ensemble cast, The Storyspinner feels like it is populated by one note characters including from the sage wielder of magic, the resentful sister trying to prove herself, and more.

Wallace situates her fantasy in a fictional world that borrows heavily from Portuguese culture with language, food, and more. While this adds flair to the story, it seems out of place with an explanation for where these elements come from.

The Storyspinner starts strong with an intriguing premise that fails to get very far before it is mired in an overly large cast of characters. Recommended for readers looking for a plot driven story that is light on the world building and heavy on the action.

Possible Pairings: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows, The Keeper of the Mist by Rachel Neumeier, Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch, The Shadow Queen by C. J. Redwine, The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

Week in Review: July 29

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

I can’t believe it’s almost August. How?!

I dedicated this week to one of my favorite books of the year: The Reluctant Queen. Go check out this series ASAP. Do you ever have a week that feels like it’s never going to end? That was me this week. And I am working today so it kind of is never ending . . .

Anyway.

Here’s my latest from Instagram:

This month's @uppercasebox includes a book I've never heard of before. That never happens! I am also very excited about the prints–especially the card from Words in Deep Blue which is a favorite book by a favorite author. The July Uppercase included: -Words on Bathroom Walls by Julia Walton -I Love Books cat sticker -Alice in Wonderland socks -Words in Deep Blue quote card -"Books are uniquely portable magic." embossed print I'm excited to get a completely new to me book and can't wait to read it with the included reading experience bookmark. I always need socks and I love the prints. Have you seen or read this book yet? What mail got you excited this week? #bookstagram #goodreads #instabook #instareads #bibliophile #books #reading #currentlyreading #amreading #bookworm #bookish #bookgram #booktography #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookphotography #books #bookstagramit #yalit #subscriptionbox #subscriptionaddiction #uppercasebox #wordsonbathroomwalls #wordsindeepblue #socks #juliawalton #bookbox

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I'm pretty excited about my new sale finds from Alex and Ani. The first picture is my new scarab spoon ring which symbolizes protection, destiny and emerging. It's totally adjustable and a great match for the scarab necklace and bracelet I already have. Also super happy with how well these Sally Hansen nail polish strips are holding up. I've gotten so many compliments and talked the nail polish strips up so much that I'm tempted to ask for a commission! If you swipe over you can see my amazing raven key necklace which is even nicer than I expected from the photos. I have a pretty substantial collection of key necklaces and am happy to add this one to the group! #jewelry #ring #necklace #manicure #nails #alexandani #sallyhansen #scarab #raven #key #nailpolish #nofilter #latergram #treatyoself

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If you you want to see how my month in reading is shaking out be sure to check out my July Reading Tracker.

How was your week? What are you reading?

Let’s talk in the comments.