Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Review: The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibuishi

Title: The Cloud Searchers 
Series: Amulet #1
Author: Kazu Kibuishi  
Publication Date: January 1, 2008
Publisher: Graphix 
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback 
Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy 

Emily, Navin, and their crew of resistance fighters charter an airship and set off in search of the lost city of Cielis. There they hope to find help from the Guardian Council's powerful Stonekeepers. It's a mission that Alledia's survival depends on, and time is running out--Emily's got to find Cielis before the Elf King finds her.

I swear I am on a role with this series. I feel that what I write is not good enough to describe the story, the world, the characters, or even why you are here reading my review and not the series if you have not read it yet. Just kidding...not really. 

We continue the adventure with Em, her family, her friends, and some new people who are on a mission to help get her to the lost city of Cielis. However, as the search becomes more and more dangerous so are enemies. The Elf King is sending his best men out to find and the clock has now begun to click and Emily's only hope to possibly defeating the Elf King might lie with the help of the guardian circle but with all light a shadow lies bidding its time to strike. 

Each book just keeps better and better. The story expands. More and more information is released, secrets are being set free, and unexpected bonds are forming. I am not sure who to trust anymore and I kind of like it. It is becoming a little harder for me to guess at what could possibly happen next. 

Emily is growing into a powerful female protagonist. However, the stone is still playing a big part in her life and her judgement changes a little here or now. There is a great burden she must deal with when it comes to the power of the stone and the darkness it contains and she be able to control it before she loses herself. 

I am eager to stop writing and continue with the series. This series is the perfect one to read when in a slump or need a day to kill with reading. I am more than positive I could read everything in one day but I am at this point where I want to savor what I read. So my advice, pick up this and see where it takes you. 

I give this book 5 souls! 

Monday, August 29, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey. Here is what we Finished, Currently Reading, and what is Next In line. How about you? These were some fantastic reads and we are so excited to share what we think with you! So make sure you keep your eyes out for our reviews!

Happy Reading! 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. We love getting new books and seriously can't wait to dive into them. How about you? What new books did you get?


Happy Reading!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Review: Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Furthermore 
Author: Tahereh Mafi 
Publication Date: August 30, 2016
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Source: ALA Midwinter
Format: ARC
Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy 

There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn't miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it's been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she's about to embark on one to find the other.But bringing Father home is no small matter. In order to find him she'll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is a boy named Oliver whose own magical ability is based in lies and deceit--and with a liar by her side in a land where nothing is as it seems, it will take all of Alice's wits (and every limb she's got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece. On her quest to find Father, Alice must first find herself--and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.

If you only knew my reaction to when this book was presented to me in Boston. I was flipping between smiling, laughing, crying. Let me just say that I went from a calm 23 yr. old to an emotional wreck in a matter of 15 seconds. Tahereh Mafi is amazing before this book and words do her no justice after reading Furthermore. 

We follow Alice Alexis Queensmeadow as she is about to go on an adventure to find her father. Traveling into the world of Furthermore where things are not exactly as they turn out to be and danger is lurking around every corner, Alice must put her trust in a boy, Oliver, who has secrets of his own. Sometimes love is the strongest force but one must not forget that in times of loss. 

This book was beyond magical. The story flowed, the plot had me hooked and the characters took me along on their adventure and kept me on my toes and awake past my bedtime. I felt Furthermore is a story you tell kid before they go to bed and it is one that will stay with me for a while. 

Alice is a character that you have to sit back and allow her to make mistakes so that she can grow. Even though there are some choices that make me hold my breath and hope for the best, I loved Alice. She goes through so much but you can tell that she will do anything she can to find her dad and bring him home. 

Overall I need the next book. Tahereh writes a compelling book that will hook you from the start. I consider myself one lucky person to be able to have gotten an early copy. I encourage you to check out this series because it will be one to leave a lasting mark. 

I give this book 5 souls!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Review: A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

Title: A Shadow Bright and Burning   
Series: Kingdom on Fire #1
Author: Jessica Cluess
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Random House 
Source: ALA Annual 
Format: ARC 
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy 

I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?
Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she's brought to London to train with Her Majesty's sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she's the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city—and the one she loves?

I have to admit that I walked into this book without knowing what I was getting myself into. I was hearing constant chatter regarding this book and finally peer pressure got to me and I had to score myself a copy. After reading it I just have to say HOLY SNAP!!!! This book was the fantasy book I was looking for and I could not have been any sadder knowing that I now have to wait for the next book. 

We follow Henrietta, who has the ability to burst into flames and is quite possibly the girl who has been prophesied but a time goes on she questions really if she can be the girl to save the world. Henrietta must overcome the doubts, the secrets, and a past that slowly comes to the surface to protect the one she loves. 

I thought this book was well paced, the characters each brought something different to the story. What I really enjoyed was the idea that it was not a slow start for me. It picked up right from the first chapter and kept propelling forward until the final page. This was a book I would allow to keep me from sleeping just to see what would happen next.  

Henrietta is a brave, strong female protagonist who has this amazing power but will all great power comes great responsibility. One thing she has to overcome is knowing who in her world can she place her trust in to help her learn how to master her power for the war that is soon to come. 

The idea of how sorcerers and magicians being seen as different forces in this novel really intrigued me. I feel for me, at least, that there is usually only one in most fantasy reads. Well at least the fantasy books I have read. So seeing how each group viewed one another, the different power abilities each group had in comparison to one another, and finally how working together might be the only way to save the world was fascinating and I am curious to see where this goes in the books to follow.  

Overall Cluess writes a brilliant debut that will set your heart on fire. Add this book to your radar people because September is going to get hot, hot and hot! 

I give this book 5 souls!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Review: Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom by David Neilsen

Title: Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom 
Author: David Neilsen
Publication Date: August 9th, 2016
Publisher:Crown Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher 
Format: ARC
Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy 

When the mysterious Dr. Fell moves into the abandoned house that had once been the neighborhood kids’ hangout, he immediately builds a playground to win them over. But as the ever-changing play space becomes bigger and more elaborate, the children and their parents fall deeper under the doctor’s spell.Only Jerry, Nancy, and Gail are immune to the lure of his extravagant wonderland. And they alone notice that when the injuries begin to pile up on the jungle gym, somehow Dr. Fell is able to heal each one with miraculous speed. Now the three children must find a way to uncover the doctor’s secret power without being captivated by his trickery.

I have not read much middle grade but I am trying to really change that. I want broaden my scope of books I read and I decided to take a chance with Dr. Fell. The cover looked dark, creepy, and it was the idea of a haunted playground that sold me. 

We follow three friends, Jerry, Nancy, and Gail, as they embark on an adventure to solve the curse behind Dr. Fell, a mysterious old man and his playground. They must work together and find  trust in someone unexpected to save the town from an evil hiding inside a house. 

This story was really different for me. I was not expecting some things to happen, especially since it is geared towards middle grade readers, but I think that is what hooked me in more. There was a dark humor to the story and from the first chapter the hairs are standing on your neck in anticipation of what is to happen. 

Can I just point out that there was an attempted exorcism here in this book. A exorcism...in a book for middle grade readers. How amazing is that. I never got that in books when I was growing up so I want to give props to the author for doing that. However, when you do read it, it will come off more comical than scary. 

I am curious to see what happened to the dark and mysterious Dr. Fell, would be kind of cool for a follow up story but I am totally going to keep my eyes open for more middle grade books. David Nielsen did a marvelous job in grabbing my attention and if you give this book a shot, I am sure he will for you too! 

I give this book 4 souls!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Release Blitz: Fish Wielder by J.R.R.R. Hardison

Title: Fish Wielder 
Author: Jim Hardison 
Publication Date: August 23, 2016
Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing  
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy 

Jim has worked as a writer, screen writer, animator and director in entertainment and commercials since graduating from Columbia College of Chicago in 1988. He is the author of The Helm, which YALSA praised as one of 2010’s best graphic novels for young readers, and has directed animated commercial and entertainment projects, including spots for M&M's, AT&T, and Kellogg's. He co-founded Character LLC in 2000 and has given story advice to many of the world's largest brands, such as Target, Verizon, Samsung, McDonalds and Walmart, and has even appeared on NBC's "The Apprentice" as an expert adviser on brand characters. Jim lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, two kids and two dogs. Fish Wielder is his first novel.

Fish Wielder is kind of like Lord of the Rings

, set in Narnia, if it was written by the guys who made Monty Python and the Holy Grail while they were listening to the music of They Might Be Giants.In ancient times, the Dark Lord Mauron cooked the most powerful magic chocolate dessert ever made, the Pudding of Power. One thousand and two years later, the evil leader of the Bad Religion, the Heartless One, is trying to recover the lost pudding in order to enslave the peoples of Grome. Only the depressed barbarian warrior Thoral Might Fist and his best friend, Brad the talking Koi fish, have a chance to save the world of Grome from destruction, but that's going to take a ridiculous amount of magic and mayhem. Thus begins the epically silly epic fantasy of epic proportions, Fish Wielder--book one of the Fish Wielder Trilogy.

Chapter 1

It was the anniversary of something bad.
Thoral Mighty Fist, perhaps the toughest, most mysterious and manly fighter in all the mystical world of Grome, sat in the Inn of the Gruesomely Gashed Gnome in a dark corner,
weeping into his tankard of warm ale. He hated ale, especially when it was warm, although he’d been swilling the stuff since before breakfast. Now it was well after dinner, and all he’d eaten the entire day was a piece of dry toast and a couple of olives as black as his mood. He raised his mug for another bitter sip and the jeweled hilt of the magic broadsword, Blurmflard, poked him in the side like a reminder of past mistakes. It was awkward to sit at a table with a broadsword at your belt, but the mighty barbarian had kept Blurmflard with him at all times ever since the blade was lent to him by his wizard mentor, Yiz. He even slept with it.
As Thoral sat brooding and trying to adjust his position to more comfortably accommodate the blade, a twelve-inch-long orange koi fish walked into the bar on his tail fins. Standing in the entryway, the koi peered around the crowded, dim interior until his bulging eyes fell on Thoral. The fish frowned.
At six feet, Thoral was a head taller than most other human inhabitants of the world of Grome and was so powerfully built that he barely fit at the heavy wooden table at which he sat. He was dressed pirate-style, with a black leather vest buttoned over his otherwise bare chest, tight, plum-colored breeches and knee-high, iron-toed boots. A wide crimson belt bore the magic sword as well as an assortment of leather and velvet pouches. A less attractive or more effeminate man would never have been able to pull off such an outfit, but for Thoral it was no
problem. He had chiseled features and a head of thick, golden hair that curled to his massive shoulders. The few strands of gray made him even more handsome–in a seasoned and mature
way, of course. His glorious hair notwithstanding, his most striking feature was his piercing gaze. So intense, so smoldering was his stare, that those on the receiving end often felt the need
to look away for fear that they would catch fire. There was no word in Gromish for the vibrant purple color of his eyes, but they were violet.
The koi contemplated the warrior. Given his charisma, strength and fighting abilities, Thoral could easily have conquered his own kingdom. But Thoral didn’t seem to care about that
kind of thing. He mostly liked to drink and fight and brood and wander around in forests looking at trees. As the fish watched, the mighty warrior burped. The hot gas seemed to sear his manly nostrils so that he blinked as his striking violet eyes watered.
Thoral looked up from his drink and squinted around the bar to see if anyone had noticed his tears and if there was anyone worth fighting. He failed to detect the fish, who was hidden behind the legs of a passing barmaid. The other patrons were humans, except a few half-elves and a handful of drunken gnomes. He could take them all on single-handedly, but he knew from experience that he’d feel even worse after beating them. Especially the gnomes. It was better to do nothing, to sit and drink and wish things were different.
Thoral closed his eyes and hunched forward to lay his tawny-maned head on the table. The rough-hewn planks, though, smelled as if they had been wiped with a mildew-y rag, so he
sat back up. He fumbled in one of his many belt pouches for the last of his dried herbs, crushed them between his long, calloused fingers and inhaled their fading minty fragrance. It wasn’t quite strong enough to clear the lingering scent of the mildew.
As Thoral sniffled at his mint leaves, the fish sighed. Shaking his head, he stalked across the sticky floor on his tail fins. The barbarian noticed him with a wince.
“This is the end, Bradfast,” Thoral grumbled at the fish in his outlandish accent, his rough voice heavy with melancholy. Thoral tended to transpose the sounds of v and w and to pronounce th at the beginning of words as z because he was foreign.
“Here we go again,” Brad commented dryly, leaping up onto the bench and then the table. He picked his way across the tabletop and stopped before the warrior. “This isn’t the end,
Thoral. It’s just the beginning…or maybe the middle or something. The point is, it’s not over. It’s never over until you give up—or you’re dead.”
“I dost wonder about death,” the barbarian said, as if to himself. He also used outdated words like dost because he spoke High Gromish even though most everybody else spoke the low version. This was also because he was foreign. “Would it truly bring an end? Or just a transition to another world?”
“You’ve had too much to drink, Thoral,” the fish cautioned. “You always get morose when you drink. It’s time we get moving. Maybe go on another adventure or something.”
“I am tired of adventures,” the warrior sighed. “I wish only to go home.” He burped again, and the fish staggered back, blinking.
“Come on, pal. Let’s get out of here,” Brad suggested, fanning himself with a fin. “We’ll fight a monster or go on a quest or steal the jeweled eye from an idol or something. It’ll be fun.”
“My heart is too…” Thoral trailed off. “What is that word that means when something has substantial weight?”
“Heavy,” the fish supplied. Thoral always had trouble remembering that one.
“Heavy. Yes. My heart is too heavy for adventure,” Thoral complained.
“Well, maybe if we pick something really hard, you’ll get killed,” the fish offered.
“A hero’s death?” Thoral asked, perking up just a bit.
“Yeah, sure. A hero’s death.”
“And then I couldst be done with this world,” Thoral murmured.
“Exactly,” Brad affirmed.
“Then let us go,” Thoral said, “this very instant.” He slammed his drink down on the table so hard that some of the ale sloshed out of the tankard, splashing at the fish. The koi danced back, just missing a soaking.
“Up to bed first and we’ll hit the road in the morning,” Brad countered, stepping around the puddle of spilled drink.
“No, we will leave now.” There was a dangerous edge to the warrior’s tone that drew the attention of everyone in the room even though he had not raised his voice. The bar went silent.
“Look, Thoral,” the koi answered, “it’s getting late. I’m tired. You’re drunk. We could both use some sleep. Let’s not make a rash decision that might lead to all kinds of unexpected
Every eye turned to see the barbarian’s reaction. “We will leave now,” Thoral insisted. The warrior and the fish stared at each other.
“Be reasonable,” Brad tried again. “Just give me one good reason why we shouldn’t wait
until morning.”
“We will leave now,” the barbarian declared, “because I am Thoral Mighty Fist!
Everyone gasped. Brad sagged, defeated. Once Thoral noted that he was Thoral, there was no point in arguing further. Everyone knew it. That’s just how it was.
With that, Thoral drained his pewter tankard and crushed it one-handed. He got unsteadily to his feet, massive muscles rippling under sun-bronzed, battle-scarred skin, and
transferred Brad from the tabletop into a belt pouch. Then he tossed a gold coin to the hideously disfigured gnomish innkeeper to pay for the mug he’d ruined even though it couldn’t have been worth more than a few coppers. The gnome had been engrossed in restocking a spice rack over the bar, so the coin struck him in the head and then clattered to the floor. He stepped on it with his clubfoot before it rolled away and then pinched it between his stubby, ring-clad fingers.
“Many thanks, Fist Wielder,” the innkeeper croaked, his one eye glittering from his gashed face as the warrior strode past him. “Where are you headed now? Not to the Godforsaken
Swamp, I hope. You should steer clear of that place for a while. There is nothing there but death.”
“I am eager for it,” the barbarian whispered as he strode past the gnome, who frowned and wrung his tiny hands.
Thoral staggered from the bar into the dark, filthy street. Although it was well past sundown, the city was still bustling with all kinds of criminals and cutthroats and that sort of
riffraff. They all cleared out of the big barbarian’s way. Three figures, cloaked and hooded in the black robes of the Bad Religion, watched from the shadows as Thoral went to the tavern’s
hitching post to untie his massive tiger-striped steed, Warlordhorse. He fumbled with the knot, his fingers clumsy from the ale. He shook his head and tried again.
“Let us attack now,” the leader of the Dark Brothers whispered. “We will take him unawares.”
“Uh…are you sure?” one of his subordinates asked, his voice quavering. “Have you heard the stories about him?”
“We have our orders,” the leader countered tersely. “Besides, he is inebriated, there are three of us, and we have the ultimate advantage…” He trailed off, sliding a dagger from a fold of his robe. The curved blade was slick with oily, black poison. He leered at his minions for a moment, and they reluctantly drew their own poison-coated daggers. The three of them started toward the barbarian while he was distracted.
Thoral was still having no luck with Warlordhorse’s tether, and grew frustrated. He put his face close to the rope, trying to get a better look in the dim light of the moon, and made
another attempt. The Dark Brothers crept closer, raising their poisoned blades in unison. Just one scratch and Thoral would be paralyzed before he even felt the wound. Agonizing death would follow within hours, but not before they had had time to drag the warrior before the master of their order to find out how much Thoral knew of their plans.
The Dark Brothers closed in on the unsuspecting champion, swift and silent as death itself.

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