Friday, March 27, 2015

Review: Gates of Thread and Stone (Gates of Thread and Stone Series)

YA book of magic, gargoyles, time manipulation
Title: Gates of Thread and Stone (Gates of Thread and Stone Series) by Lori M. Lee
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Length: 8 hours 5 minutes
Narrator: Jessica Almasy
Genre: YA,

Synopsis: In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.

In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.

(16)Review: The narrator reads this book very quickly, almost frantically which fits since the main character seems to be in a panic or on the verge of one half the time. The beginning of the book while the story is being set up I found the story a little hard to follow but after about an hour it started to make more sense and I found I couldn't stop listening.

In order to find her brother, Kai has to put her life and those of her friends in danger.  There are pieces of this book that reminded me of the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, such as the description of the White Court which was very reminiscent of the description of the Capital where excess rules while everyone else suffers. It also had pieces of the Divergent series by Veronica Roth with the descriptions of the Outlands, and people being banished to them.

But while there are some similarities this definitely has its own tone and its own magic.  Kai can manipulate time, she sees time as threads that she can pull and weave to slow things down or stop, she hasn't learned the full potential of her power or where it came from but she knows its very dangerous if people find out.  When her brother goes missing she is determined to find him and with the help of her friend Avan she emarks on a dangerous journey, but what she finds is not only her brother but also the truth about where she comes from, who she is and finally why her brother was taken in the first place.

Dystopian novels meet magic and weave together a very interesting story.  Apparently this is only the first in a series. I will be picking up the second to see where this is headed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Open to a random page:
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser this week is from The Witch of Napoli by Michael Schmicker

"No! she shouted. "He must come. He must!" She crumpled up the telegram and flung it to the floor.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Review: Won Ton and Chopstick & My Family,Your Family

Title: Won Ton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw 
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co
Format: e-book (kindle fire)
Pages: 40 pages
Genre: Children

Synopsis: A new puppy arrives, and nothing will be the same.
Told entirely in haiku and with plenty of catitude, the story of how Won Ton faces down the enemy is a fresh and funny twist on a familiar rivalry.

(14) Review: This is a fun little book about Won Ton the cat whose owner brings a puppy, Chopstick, home. Won Ton is not thrilled at all with the new addition and feels very displaced by his arrival.  He finally realizes that they have some things in common and that maybe this dog isn't so bad.

This book is the 2nd in the Won Ton series and is written in Haiku. I'm not quite sure why this book was listed under adoption other than it does explore the feelings of getting a new sibling and how siblings don't always look the same.  This may be a good book for families adopting for the second time.

Title: My Family, Your Family (Cloverleaf Books TM - Alike and Different) by Lisa Bullard
Publisher: Millbrook Press
Format: ebook (kindle fire)
Pages: 24 pages
Genre: Children

Synopsis: Makayla is visiting friends in her neighborhood. She sees how each family is different. Some families have lots of children, but others have none. Some friends live with grandparents or have two dads or have parents who are divorced. How is her own family like the others? What makes each one great? This diverse cast allows readers to compare and contrast families in multiple ways.

(15) Review: Filled with fun illustrations and talking points on each page, this book discusses different types of families and how not all families look the same.  Some have kids, some don't, some are divorced and have step- parents and step-siblings, some children are adopted and don't look like their parents, some have 2 dads, some are bi-racial, some are loud, some are quiet.  No matter what type of family you have there is something special about yours.

This is a great way to help children understand the wonderful diversity we have in the world and the different ways families are created and the different ways they live.  One isn't better than the other they are just different.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Review: Captured (book1)

Vampires and Humans locked in civil war
Title: Captured (The Captive Series Book 1) by Erica Stevens
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Format: Kindle
Pages: 189
Genre: YA, vampires, Romance

Synopsis: Blood Slave.
Captured, taken from her beloved family and woods, Aria’s biggest fear is not the imminent death facing her, but that she will be chosen as a blood slave for a member of the ruling vampire race. No matter what becomes of her though, Aria knows that she must keep her identity hidden from the monsters imprisoning her. She has already been branded a member of the rebellion, but the vampires do not know the true depth of her involvement with it, and they must never know. Though hoping for death, Aria’s world is turned upside down when a vampire named Braith steps forward to claim her. He delays her execution, but Aria knows it’s only a matter of time before he drains her, and destroys her. Especially once she learns his true identity as a prince within the royal family; the same royal family that started the war that ultimately brought down humankind, reducing them to nothing more than servants and slaves. Aria is determined to hate the prince, determined not to give into him in anyway, but his strange kindness, and surprising gentleness astonish her. Torn between her loyalties to the rebellion, and her growing love for her greatest enemy, Aria struggles to decide between everything she has ever known, and a love she never dreamed of finding.

(13)Review: This book has been bashed by as many reviews or amazon as it has good reviews.  For those who were complaining about the typos and the punctuation, maybe I received a later version? There is a note that the book was edited some time in 2013 so perhaps they fixed all the issues that had people cringing.  Even if they didn't I must have been completely blind to the mistakes because I enjoyed this book. Its not great literature filled with stunning prose and a story that will leave me thinking about it for days and months afterward but it was a captivating, fun read.  If you like vampires, this is a good one.

The tables have turned on humanity, vampires now rule the world and humans are their servants.  Rebels are trying to overthrow the vampire regime but how do you fight immortals with super strength? Underneath it all is, of course, the romance between the broken but sexy Prince Braith and the brave, headstrong daughter of the Rebel leaders, Aria. Their love is doomed since love between vampires and humans is strictly forbidden but they can't help themselves.

The book ends on a cliff hanger and their are 5 books in the series so there is plenty of time for these two star crossed lovers to find a way to make their relationship work.  I have already downloaded the next four.  Great beach reads, or if you are just in the mood for some mind candy.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Review: The Hawley Book of the Dead

Title: The Hawley Book of the Dead: A Novel by Chrysler Szarlan
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 352 pages
Format: Kindle

I received an advanced ecopy of this book from the publisher through

Synopsis: Revelation “Reve” Dyer grew up with her grandmother’s family stories, stretching back centuries to Reve’s ancestors, who founded the town of Hawley Five Corners, Massachusetts. Their history is steeped in secrets, for few outsiders know that an ancient magic runs in the Dyer women’s blood, and that Reve is a magician whose powers are all too real.

Reve and her husband are world-famous Las Vegas illusionists. They have three lovely young daughters, a beautiful home, and what seems like a charmed life. But Reve’s world is shattered when an intruder alters her trick pistol and she accidentally shoots and kills her beloved husband onstage.

Fearing for her daughters’ lives, Reve flees with them to the place she has always felt safest—an antiquated farmhouse in the forest of Hawley Five Corners, where the magic of her ancestors reigns, and her oldest friend—and first love—is the town’s chief of police. Here, in the forest, with its undeniable air of enchantment, Reve hopes she and her girls will be protected.

Delving into the past for answers, Reve is drawn deeper into her family’s legends. What she discovers is The Hawley Book of the Dead, an ancient leather-bound journal holding mysterious mythic power. As she pieces together the truth behind the book, Reve will have to shield herself and her daughters against an uncertain, increasingly dangerous fate. For soon it becomes clear that the stranger who upended Reve’s life in Las Vegas has followed her to Hawley—and that she has something he desperately wants.

(12)Review:This book had me up late at night desperately trying to read just a few more pages.  Filled with edge of your seat suspense this book takes you for a wild ride into the past, present and beyond time's boundaries.  If you are a fan of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe or A Discovery of Witches: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy) by Deborah Harkness, this book should be added to your "to be read list".

While trying to protect her family and recover from the tragic murder of her husband Reve returns to the town she grew up but lives in the abandoned town of Hawley five corners which is steeped in mystery.  The locals think its haunted since 5 children disappeared from there many years ago and then quite soon after the entire town disappeared without a trace with food still cooking, laundry mid wash and dishes half cleaned.

What Reve learns when she gets there is that her past and her present are very connected and the history of Hawley Five Corners has a deep connection to her family and the very real mystery she finds herself in today.

I found the history of the mysterious abandoned town and Reve's family so interesting, I just wanted to keep learning more. Then there was a crazy flea market that appeared out of nowhere that I would love to learn the origins of and where exactly it goes.  In a way there were elements of The Night Circus by Erin Morenstern the way things disappear and reappear and the magical elements that are hard to explain yet tie everything together.  Its hard to say more about this book without giving too much away.  Suffice to say I loved it and for a debut I'm very impressed. This is an author to keep an eye on.
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