What I’m Listening to: Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Young Adult Book Review: Legendary by Stephanie Garber

It’s been a while since I’ve published a book review. But lately, I’ve been spending a bit more time on the road and have gotten back into audiobooks. And the other week Legendary by Stephanie Garber was available from my local library, so I decided to check it out.

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I read Caraval a while back, and you can find the review here. I liked Caraval, but I didn’t love it. There were a few things I found confusing, and the story seemed a bit one dimensional, so when I finished Caraval, I didn’t plan on reading the rest of the trilogy. But then I started Legendary.

I LOVED legendary. I loved Tella’s character, but I also loved how the story went deeper, how the world’s mythology grew large and full of dimensions. There was so much more to Legendary than there was to Caraval. And the audiobook was very well done. All of the voices felt natural but weren’t too much (With the exception of one, maybe). I found the speed perfect (Note: I listen to my audiobooks at 1.25 times, otherwise I feel they move too slowly)

This is a case where the sequel is better than the first book, which I find rarely happens. But this trilogy does it. So if you read Caraval but were less than thrilled, give Legendary a chance anyway, it might just surprise you. It sure surprised me, and I can’t wait to listen to Finale.

Have you read Caraval or Legendary?

JEH

Indie Publishing and the New Amazon Pre-Order

I’m getting set to release The Chain, the third and final book in my Artifacts of Avalum series. Due to plenty of other projects that have kept me busy, including my day job, The Chain is coming out much later than I initially anticipated (By like, a whole year! Yikes! (If you’ve been patiently waiting, my apologies). But in all the time I’ve been working away on The Chain, Amazon, as always, has been working away making changes to their Kindle Direct Publishing platform.

One of the most recent changes is that Amazon now allows Indie authors to put their book up for pre-order a full-year in advance of publication. Previously, Indie authors could do pre-orders, but the entire finished manuscript had to be uploaded first, and the whole pre-order window couldn’t be longer than one month. I have never done a pre-order before, primarily because if my manuscript had to be completed before I could even set up the pre-order period, then I was just going to hit publish and get my manuscript up NOW. But this week, as I began setting up the publication details for The Chain, I made a new decision: I’m going to put The Chain up for pre-order for a week.

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The Chain will be released on September 24th, 2019. Amazon has graciously informed me that the deadline to have my final manuscript uploaded is September 20th at midnight. As I’m just going through the final formatting for this book, that isn’t a problem for me. In fact, it’s great that I can get the page up for The Chain prior to releasing the book!

I have no idea if a pre-order period will do anything for my sales, but it does really help me in terms of setting up my links, connecting the book to my blog, brand, and even my Amazon author page, which is all great! So check it out, spread the word, and after the official release, come back and look for a post on what Amazon pre-order did for me.

JEH

 

Best Edgy, Completed Young Adult Paranormal and Fantasy Fiction Series

Sometimes it sucks waiting for the end of a story. Other times, it only serves to build tension. But if you’re looking for an edgy, completed young adult series (a series you don’t have to wait years to read the ending to), then look no further than this list of completed series of young adult (arguably New Adult, in some cases) paranormal and fantasy fiction series.

  1. The Raven Cycle Series by Maggie Stiefvater – This series follows a group of high school students as they navigate the ley lines around their hometown. I enjoyed this series because it doesn’t just focus on the teens, but the adults too, including one very interesting hitman. IMG-1660
  2. The Smoke and Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor – This series follows a young girl, whom, it turns out, isn’t so young, and her discovery that the world she thinks she’s from might not be the worlds she’s actually from after all. A young adult series with very few characters who aren’t actually really old, this books has plenty of mature themes.IMG_1024
  3. The Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas – To be honest, I haven’t totally finished this series since the conclusion, Kingdom of Ash, was just released in September of last year, but I plan on finishing the series soon. This series is set in a rich fantasy world created by Sarah J. Maas, whose rutting is dark and cutting and is definitely on the upper end of Young Adult.img_1871
  4. The Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey – This series is set in the human world, and revolves around a secret battle between two races unknown to humankind, except for one girl who was adopted into this world as a child. Full of hidden secrets and surprises around corners, Melissa Grey is a great writer who gets deep into character. 63fd4-photo-26
  5. The Dark Caravan Cycle by Heather Demetrios- If you want edgy, this is it. This series is arguably pretty darn adult. There are very adult themes in these books (abuse, imprisonment, slavery), but also lots of sexual tension and magical adventure. If you love the idea of a gypsy trying to break free of her bottle, this might be the series for you. IMG_5116

What’s your favorite series?

JEH

What I’m Reading: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Young Adult Book Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

The final book in the Grisaverse Trilogy, Ruin and Rising, was everything I expected it to be—almost. Same great writing, same lovable characters, broken hearts and action and adventure. But there was on thing I didn’t get, and from what I’ve read of other reviews, other people seem to feel much the same way. If you want to know more, scroll past the picture, but if you don’t stop reading now.

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The one thing I felt this book didn’t deliver to me on was the ending. I was expecting much of what happened. But I was expecting/hoping for all of it to end much more tragically than it did. Maybe I’m just all dark and twisty inside, but sometimes a happy ending seems to me to be too happy, almost forced, and almost not realistic. But also, I was just hoping for a different pairing at the end than what I got.

Still, I love this magical world and all of the unique elements to Grishaverse. I’ll probably read the other Grishaverse books. I hear that the other books are even better. Maybe I’ll even start one this weekend.

4/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Young Adult Book Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Book Two of the GrishaVerse trilogy starts off pretty much where the first book ends. Now, this book begins with one of my pet peeves. If you haven’t read the book yet, or even finished the first book of the GrishaVerse, you may not want to read the rest of this review below, as I’m going to share this particular pet peeve of mine. But don’t worry, after the beginning, the book did get better.

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This book began with a pet peeve of mine. It’s a particularly common trope in fantasy: end book one with the hero/heroine breaking free, and begin book 2 with them instantly being recaptured. I find this a complete waste of plot, as often, absolutely nothing happens when the hero is free. Instead, it’s used a device to end book one in a ‘happy ever after’, just in case the publisher never releases book two. I really dislike this plot device. However, as I said above, the book does get better after the beginning.

Alina grows more as a character in this one, and the story moves from Alina having choices made for her (ie. capture and release), to her making choices. But the best part about this book was Nikolai. I love Nikolai. He is by far my favorite character in this series. I wish there could have been more of him. That’s all I’m going to say. Read this book for Nikolai. End of.

4.5/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Young Adult Book Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

GrishaVerse is one of those series that you can’t stop hearing about. I was able to borrow the original GrishaVerse trilogy from a friend a while back. The books are told by the perspective of Alina Starkov, a teen-aged orphan who, surprise, turns out to have magical powers. While this series starts like many a fantasy novel before it, Leigh Bardugo manages to create a fairly fresh fantasy landscape with strong, believable characters.

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The first novel of the trilogy sets up the world of the Grisha, the magic wielders  in this universe. Borrowing on Russian history, culture, and mythology, Shadow and Bone has a fresh appeal for those used to reading more ‘European’ type fantasy. What I liked best about Shadow and Bone, however, was the play between Alina and the Darkling. This book had twists and turns that I wasn’t expecting, and Bardugo did a good job of keeping me on the edge of my seat.

Have you read Shadow and Bone? What did you think?

4.5/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: The Wicked King by Holly Black

You know, I’m pretty sure that in all my life I will never be able to say enough about Holly Black and her fantastic writing. I grew up loving the idea of Fairies (the big, human-ish ones that we now call the Fae, in order distinguish them from the tiny little ones with wings (which I also love, but that’s a tale for another day)). And Holly Black really brings them to life for me.

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The second book of the Folk of the Air trilogy is perhaps better than the first one, The Cruel Prince, which I reviewed last year, and if I have to give a reason for this it is because in The Wicked King we get to see the underwater fae, and if you’ve read my books, you know that I love underwater kingdoms—they are just so exotic! (also, Hello! Aquaman!) Jude continues to be a strong kick-a** hero, who isn’t afraid of a good fight. What could be better? I can’t wait for the next book.

5/5 Stars

JEH