This month I read 7 novels. Come see what books I read and what I thought of them!
1. The Prodigal Mage by Karen Miller
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars.
Synopsis: Many years have passed since the last Mage War. It has been a time of great change. But not all changes are for the best, and Asher’s world is in peril once more. The weather magic that keeps Lur safe is failing. Among the sorcerers, only Asher has the skill to mend the antique weather map that governs the seasons, keeping the land from being crushed by natural forces. Yet, when Asher risks his life to meddle with these dangerous magic, the crisis is merely delayed, not averted. Asher’s son Rafel inherited his father’s talents, but he has been forbidden to use them. With Lur facing devastation, however, he may be its only hope.
My Thoughts: The Prodigal Mage is the first book in a duology called Fisherman’s Children. It’s the continuation of the story from the duology Kingmaker, Kingbreaker. Basically, this is book three! The story picks up 10 years after book two as we meet Asher’s children and learn that the Kingdom of Lur is in trouble again. This book has A LOT more action than the Innocent Mage, and is also much darker. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how life has progressed in Lur since the last book ended and got sucked into the story. I did really miss some of the characters that died in the last book though. Similar to the Kingmaker, Kingbreaker duology, The Prodigal Mage is just the beginning of a new adventure and ends with a huge cliffhanger, meaning you “have” to read the next book (the Reluctant Mage) to see how it ends. I can’t wait to do so!
2. I Remember You by Cathleen Davitt Bell
My Ratings: 5 of 5 stars
Synopsis: Lucas and Juliet couldn’t be more different from each other. But from the moment Lucas sees Juliet, he swears he remembers their first kiss. Their first dance. Their first fight. He even knows what’s going to happen between them—not because he can predict the future, but because he claims to have already lived it.Juliet doesn’t know whether to be afraid for herself or for Lucas. As Lucas’s memories occur more frequently, they also grow more ominous. All Juliet wants is to keep Lucas safe with her. But how do you hold on to someone you love in the present when they’ve begun slipping away from you in the future?
My Thoughts: Wow! This book far surpassed my expectations. I was expecting (not having read much of the synopsis) a light love story with a bit of a twist, but what I got was so much more. I loved the intensity of the connection between the main characters and how the entire time you’re wondering if there’s a scientific explanation for Lucas’ condition. I had a great time thinking about all the ways the story might play out. The “insta” love makes total sense in this story and both Lucas and Juliet are super loveable characters. The last few chapters sucked me in and were so exciting! I wish there was a sequel.
3. Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier
Star Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Synopsis: Lady Geiléis, a noblewoman from the northern border, has asked for the prince of Dalriada’s help in expelling a howling creature from an old tower on her land – one surrounded by an impenetrable hedge of thorns. Casting a blight over the entire district, and impossible to drive out by ordinary means, the mysterious presence threatens both the safety and the sanity of all who live nearby. As Blackthorn and Grim begin to put the pieces of the puzzle together, it becomes clear that a powerful adversary is at work. Their quest is about to become a life and death struggle – where even the closest of friends can find themselves entangled in intrigue.
My Thoughts: Such a beautifully written story with great characters, great flow, and just the right amount of mystery and magic. This is the second book in the Blackthorn and Grim series. In this story, Blackthorn is enlisted to help a community living with a terrible curse; a monster trapped in a tower that brings gloom to all around. While working out the mystery, we learn more about Blackthorn and Grim’s past and of delve deeper into the unerlying storyline of political corruption that connects both books in the series and I’m sure will continue into the third book. The story is so well written that I cannot even put it into words. Juliet Marillier is a fantastic story teller.
4. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Star Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Synopsis: Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen. At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship. Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.
My Thoughts: LOVED IT! This story captured perfectly the totally weird and wonderful world that we’ve all come to love from Alice in Wonderland. The story follows Catherine, the queen of hearts, before she was the queen. I can’t say enough how much I loved this story! The characters were AWESOME (funny, well written, easy to hate or to love) and the story was exciting. My favourite character was Jest, though I really liked Catherine too. Even the King was fun to read about! It was so neat to read about the queen of hearts before she become a villain….it gives the character so much more depth. An easy 5 star rating!
5. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Star Rating: 2 of 5 stars
Synopsis: The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743. Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
My Thoughts: Unfortunately, this story got worse and worse for me as it went on. It started out with great potential; Claire accidentally time travels back in time and is captured. At first I enjoyed getting to know her future love interest, and even though it seemed to take FOREVER for them to get together, I did enjoy that first bit of the story. As the story progressed, however, I started to get very bored. There is A LOT of character development in this story, which I usually enjoy, but I thought there was just too much of it. We learn SO much about so many unimportant characters. It just felt like space filler (and this book is already very long). Towards the end of the story it gets pretty disturbing – there is a lot of violence, a gruesome scene where Claire kills a wolf with her bare hands and a same-sex rape scene. I found all of that to be much too explicit. Overall, a disappointing read.
6. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Star Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Synopsis: Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks). But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?
My Thoughts: The best way that I can describe this story is that it was “just ok”. By that I mean it was mostly enjoyable and I don’t regret reading it, but I also had plenty of issues with it. This was one of those teenage/ya stories that made me feel too old to be reading it. There was too much girl drama, too many high school parties, too many emojis and even the love story felt very juvenile. I have read teenage/ya stories before that didn’t have this feel at all, so I don’t think it’s necessarily the genre that I don’t like, just this particular story. I also found the plot to be extremely transparent. The one thing I did really like was Clark as a character. For one thing, he’s a fantasy author which is pretty cool, but he also seemed the most mature.
7. Wildwood Dacing by Juliet Marillier
Star Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Synopsis: High in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Draculi, live five daughters and their doting father. It’s an idyllic life for Jena, the second eldest, who spends her time exploring the mysterious forest with her constant companion, a most unusual frog. But best by far is the castle’s hidden portal, known only to the sisters. Every Full Moon, they alone can pass through it into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom. There they dance through the night with the fey creatures of this magical realm. But their peace is shattered when Father falls ill and must go to the southern parts to recover, for that is when cousin Cezar arrives. Though he’s there to help the girls survive the brutal winter, Jena suspects he has darker motives in store. Meanwhile, Jena’s sister has fallen in love with a dangerous creature of the Other Kingdom–an impossible union it’s up to Jena to stop. When Cezar’s grip of power begins to tighten, at stake is everything Jena loves: her home, her family, and the Other Kingdom she has come to cherish. To save her world, Jena will be tested in ways she can’t imagine–tests of trust, strength, and true love.
My Thoughts: I came very close to giving this book 5 stars. It was such a magical story with a nice touch of whismical. This is the story of Jena and her 4 sisters, who travel to a world of magic every full moon. When the magical realm becomes threatened, Jena and her sisters must find a way to protect it. Juliet Marillier is a natural storyteller, and overall the book was very enjoyable. I loved the frog! He was a wonderful character, and though I saw one of his plot twists coming, his other plot twist caught me completely off guard. The reason I did not give the book a 5 was because A) I really detested the antagonist of the story, and while I know his storyline was very important to the progression of events in the book, he was just such a horrible person that reading about him wasn’t fun and B) Something about Tati’s health decline just didn’t feel authentic to me. It was hard for me to believe that self preservation wouldn’t take over at some point. Can’t wait to read book two!
Jen at Habitat for Happiness