What I’m Reading: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Fantasy Book Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

When I saw this book sitting on the library book shelf, I just had to check it out. Sometimes is just in the mood for a gigantic, heavy book that one can barely lift in bed. It gives me a certain kind of satisfaction to finish such a large read, especially if I can manage to do it in three weeks, before the book is due (I’m a pretty slow reader most of the time because I have a day job and I’m also trying to squeeze time in to write my own books, so extra satisfaction points there).

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If you love dragons and fantasy book, you will love The Priory of the Orange Tree. For an epic fantasy, this book was entirely readable. There were no long, rambling passages, or full pages dedicated to the description of landscapes or the aforementioned tree, which I felt kept the pace of the book moving. There were, however, some slower passages dedicated to romance that could have moved along a tad bit faster for me. But all in all, I got through this book quickly and enjoyed it thoroughly.

However, part of me did miss the journey. For an epic fantasy, I thought the journeys of characters across continents happened very quickly and very easily. I’m so used to their being a certain aspect of difficulty when it comes to crossing deserts on foot, that in this book maybe had a page or two written on them. Of course, dragons can sometimes speed up and ease that travel. But still, parts of me did miss the journey.

This book was a standalone, which I loved. Because sometimes I want to read and epic fantasy but I don’t want to spend years reading an entire 13 book series (although other times I do). Another plus for this book was all of the strong female characters that were fighting to save the world. There was no playing second fiddle to men in this book!

A solid 4.5/5 Stars

JEH

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

What I’m Reading: Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder

I picked up Storm Glass, by Maria V. Snyder, from my local library after my daughter grabbed it off the shelf and suggested it to me (she’s three, so it was pretty cute). The blurb sounded okay so I dove in, and overall I enjoyed the books.

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There were a couple of weak spots in the writing, but overall, I enjoyed following Opal, the only glass magician, on her journey or self-exploration, romance, and adventure. The most enjoyable part of this book was the world-the world-building, the magic rules-but mostly the world of glass. How glass is made, what is it used for, what can it be used for, how can it be sabotaged. It actually made me want to go a glass factor and learn how to make glass myself!

This is the first book of three, and unfortunately the library does not have the second book, only the first and the third. I would like to continue reading this series, so I’ll have to figure out how to request a book from my library. I have a friend that does this a lot, so I’m hoping she can help me.

4/5 Stars

JEH

 

The Circlet Is Here!

Hello All!

Today is one of those great days when I get to release a new book into the world. The Circlet is now up on Amazon and Smashwords, and should be up on the other retailers shortly, though, as always, they lag a bit behind. Download, enjoy, share!

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Thank you for your support!

JEH

What I’m Reading: The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Young Adult Book Review: The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

First off, I’m going to be honest and specify that I listened to this book on audiobook. But I loved it so much I went out an bought a hardcover copy after I finished. It isn’t often I rave about a book and say that everyone should read it, but I will with this one. The Girl Who Drank The Moon should be on everyone’s reading list, and I do mean everyone, young, old, and those in the middle.

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The Girl Who Drank The Moon is about a mottled assortment of characters (also young, old, and in between), in a fantastical world full of sorrow and magic. The book centers on the character’s inward journey’s and their interactions.

When I went to pick up my hard copy at the bookstore, i found this book shelved in Young Readers (9-12), which I think was a mistake on part of the publisher. I think this is really an all ages tale. It is beautifully written, poetic, and well themed. While there are children in the book, a lot of the story is told from Xan’s point of view, and Xan being an ancient witch, I wasn’t sure the book would have captured my attention as a young child, though Luna, also a protagonist, is 12 at the end of the story.

In all honesty, this book is hard to categorize. But that really doesn’t matter, because it is just a beautiful book. I heard about it from a woman in my writing group who raved about it, and I will say that she was definitely not wrong. If you haven’t hard about The Girl Who Drank The Moon, you should have, and if you haven’t read it yet, you should start. Now.

5/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

I loved this book! An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir brought back all the good feelings I got reading the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Not that this was like the Hunger Games… I mean, it was a dystopian world, but a fantasy one, and there were some elements of death match style competition, but mostly it was a very unique story.

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The tale is told from two alternating perspectives, Laia and Elias. They worked so well with each other and each voice was independent and unique, so i never forgot who was narrating that part of the story. The fantasy elements had their own uniqueness to them too, though they did not play that big of a role in the first book of this series. I have a feeling these elements will play a bigger part in book two. In fact, that was almost one of my pet peeves about this book: that the fantasy elements were almost forgotten about and then dropped in there here and there. There wasn’t much consistency with that. But I still loved it. I would definitely recommend this book to any fans of the Hunger Games, The Throne of Glass Series, or Rebel in the Sands. I can’t wait to read the next one.

5/5 Stars.

JEH

What I’m Reading: Spirit Animals Vol 1. Wild Born by Brandon Mull

The title is kind of a lie. I actually listened to this on audiobook and didn’t read it. But I did enjoy it. I haven’t read the books, so I can’t compare the reading experience to the listening one, but I really enjoyed the audio book of this children’s fantasy adventure.

Spirit Animals: Wild Born by Brandon Mull follows four eleven-year old kids who call The Fallen as their spirit animals. There is quite a bit of set-up in this book, but there are seven books in the series, so I appreciate all the time taken to give the story a good base. Even with the set-up, there was a good amount of action. The story had me longing for a spirit animal of my own, and I keep hoping one will just appear any day now.

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Spirit Animals Wild Born is definitely children’s fiction, not young adult, but I think for any fan of the fantasy genre, the Spirit Animals world would be an enjoyable one, especially if you have a secret longing to be a veterinarian, like I do. This is the kind of book that I would like to read to my children one day—maybe once they are old enough to sit through more than on sentence from a board book. This is the kind of fiction that is uplifting, and good to read on a stressful day.

As for the audiobook, it was read by Nicola Barber and I thought she did a wonderful job with all of the varying voices and accents and characterization. Though I think she actually did a better job of the male voices than the female voices, which I find to be a problem with a lot of audiobooks. Or maybe it’s just me.

Have you read or listened to this book? What did you think?

4/5 Stars

JEH