Thursday, April 24, 2014

Stolen Songbird Review

Stolen Songbird
(Malediction Trilogy #1)
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Paperback, 469 pages, Strange Chemistry
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.

But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.

As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.

My Review

Stolen Songbird is definitely a fun, entertaining read. I wanted to know what was happening/was going to happen/what had happened throughout the entire book. However, when I first read the description, I really thought it would be a darker read than it was. And oddly enough, that’s what I was hoping for. Sadly, it was more of a lighter fairytale story than a dark, nitty-gritty adventure.

Since I was hoping for something along the lines of a Daenerys Targaryen plotline, I had a little bit of a tough time getting into this. Cécile is a good character. She’s not afraid to act, and she’s definitely brave, but sometimes her emotions got a little wishy-washy. I wasn’t sure why she changed her mind so fast on some issues, and how she could feel so strongly on certain things during some parts of the story. The same was true of Tristan. While I really enjoyed his character, his emotions did tend to baffle me. Maybe it was the fact that their love connection was forced and they weren’t able to actually grow to like each other like a normal couple?

The plot of the book is fun. There are so many twists and turns that are really hard to guess. In the first half of the book, I thought I knew what the ending was going to look like. I was wrong. And I’m really happy about that, because no one wants to know how a book is going to end, it ruins the magic.

Speaking of magic, I did love that aspect of the troll world. In fact, the entire troll community was amazing to read about, I kind of wish there had been more of that world-building weaved into the story. Some of the secondary characters got their own backgrounds to expand on Trollus, but even that wasn’t enough for me to really ingratiate myself into the area as much as I would have liked.

All in all, it was a good read. If I hadn’t gone into it thinking that I was going to read something else, I probably would have enjoyed it ten times more. So if you want an adventurous, fairtytale-esque story, then Stolen Songbird could be what you’re looking for.

3/5 stars

*Note: I received a copy of this book to review via Netgalley. This in no way altered my opinion/review.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Firefight


"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, what's really got my pages in a twist is...

Firefight
(Reckoners #2)
Publication Date: January 8, 2015
Hardcover, 400 pages, Balzer + Bray
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

They told David it was impossible--that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet, Steelheart--invincible, immortal, unconquerable--is dead. And he died by David's hand.

Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And there's no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs.

Babylon Restored, the old borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David's willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David's heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic--Firefight. And he's willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.

My Thoughts

I’m so excited about this book! Superheroes are my weakness and I just am so upset that I have to wait even longer to get this in my hands! I’m not too excited about the minor cover changes (it’s really just the fonts), but it could be worse. They could’ve completely redone Steelheart.

What book are you waiting for this Wednesday?


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Peasant Princess Blog Tour: Preview Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway

Review

Peasant Princess
(The Teller of Destiny #3)
Publication Date: Mid-Late 2014
Paperback
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

“I would do it again.” Lunule placed Raphere’s cold fingers between his hands, to warm them. “A thousand things I would do for your pardon.”

Events in Paz Etur have taken an ugly turn. Whispers of conspiracy and censure echo within the city. Recovering from a near-mortal wound, Raphere can do little to shield those she has sworn to protect.

As First Scout Otti embarks upon a journey east, to unravel Raphere’s past, Rant finds his own challenges waiting in Paz Ori. The dark deals he made as a mercenary cannot be dismissed, and Dark Lords are not known for patience.

Even Tranquia is beginning to have misgivings where Raphere is concerned. As strange plagues spread over the plains, and wolves prowl forever closer to the kingdoms, will Raphere have the strength to calm the ill winds churning from all directions? Will she find her closest ally in the cruelest of princes?

Preview Review

I only reviewed the first few chapters of Peasant Princess, so this review will be a little shorter than my normal reviews. 

I was glad when I started Peasant Princess, that things immediately begin from where I had been left hanging in Princes and Fools. I didn't want to wait around, agonizing over what was going to happen, and thankfully, I wasn't.

I immediately noticed that Lunnule was his same-old Joffrey-ish self. I don't know why this makes me love him so much, but I do. Does that say something strange about me? Lunnule is pretty much the focus of the first few chapters, and for that I'm glad, because if you haven't gotten it already, I like him. As a character, not a person. He's a very, very bad person.

Rant Pae is back too. He's actually trying to become a responsible adult, from what I can tell. (Sure, Lunnule is trying that idea out too, but I just can't see him succeeding.)

All in all, I'm totally ready for this book to actually be in my hands, or on my computer. The preview definitely wasn't enough for me.

3/5 stars

Genre: Young / New Adult Fantasy
Tour Organized by: Indie Sage, LLC
Purchase Link:


From Continue #1

Princes and Fools #2


Excerpt from
TELLER OF DESTINY: BOOK THREE
PEASANT PRINCESS 

©2014 A. H. DE CARRASCO

 …His expression softened as he sat down beside her. Carefully, Lunule moved the chair and winced as it creaked. He leaned closer to her. His elbow nearly touched her hand. His fingers could almost reach her face. Raphere’s dark hair had grown quite long since she came to the palace. He lifted a lock and held it between his fingers. It was soft, like silk.

“Do you wish to pull it?”

He released the curl and leaned back. “No, not today.”

“Good,” she retorted and turned her face away. But sleep was gone, and without a thought to his struggle, she lifted her arms above her and slowly stretched out the kinks in her limbs.

Could she take his weight? The nasty voice of his mind goaded. He shook his head to clear away the persistent thought.

“I am not supposed to be here,” he told her.

“Really?” She didn’t seem to care that he was.

“My father has brought me to task. Told me I shouldn’t see you unless you called for me.”

“Then why are you here?”

“You didn’t want to see me?”

“Hardly.” She scoffed at him, cutting him to the quick with one word.

“But, of course, I knew you wouldn’t want to see me. But I care little for other’s wants or needs, as you’ve told me. I didn’t want to disappoint you.”

“Lunule,” she snapped angrily and made to rise but cried out in pain. Lunule leapt to his feet, shocked that she still suffered, and watched helplessly as she seemed to shrink under her blankets. Her breath rasped from her throat, uneven and harsh.

“Raphere.”

“Prince,” she whispered, her voice strained. “Why must you torture me? Haven’t you had your fill?”
Lunule was quiet a moment then ventured on another path. “I wanted to thank you.”

“For what? Taking the wound you deserved?” she retorted hoarsely.

“I shouldn’t have come,” he said. Suddenly very ashamed of himself, he retreated toward the antechamber. “I am sorry, Raphere.” Again the apologies spilled from his lips. Ah! He was a fool.

“No. Do not leave, please.”

He turned around as his heart lightened. He reclaimed the seat he had left and leaned near her. Her captivating green eyes looked at him a moment.

“How is Rant? Is he well?”

Lunule’s jaw tensed as he felt the knife’s twist. His lips lifted into a smile to cover his wound and he leaned back in the chair. “He is well. He returned to Paz Ori with his mother.”

“Any word for me?”

His hesitation was imperceptible even as his mind, quick as a bee’s wing, contemplated his choices. He had left the note behind. Why make the journey to retrieve it tonight? He made his decision, if only a postponement. “No,” he lied. “Not yet, anyway.”

He noticed her disappointment but it mattered little. She wanted him near only to serve as a messenger.

“I must have angered him.” Raphere decided.

“No,” he reassured her. It was the least he could do. “I think he had other matters to see to. Not that you weren’t important. My father strictly forbade his seeing you, and he had to leave that day.”
This did nothing to soften her frown, however. Again, she averted her face from him.

“I freed the prisoners for you, as you asked.”

She turned back toward him. “I am glad, Lunule. It was the right thing to do.”

“I know that now,” he admitted. “You are always teaching me…such things. I never realize how stupid...” His words dwindled.

“Raphere,” he began again, not knowing what his very next words would be—what chitchat could he offer to change her mood, her heart. This was a failure. Almost accusingly he continued. “Now you must forgive me.”

“I forgive you, Lunule,” she told him but her heart was not in it. He could tell that much.

“That is not my only penance, I’m afraid,” he admitted. “My father wants me to go to the Feast of Second Harvest and wash the feet of ten peasants.”

This sudden information brought a true laugh from Raphere but she winced in pain even as she chuckled.

“Their feet? Oh, Lunule, what an appropriate punishment for you.” Her throat was dry and her laughter turned to hoarse coughing. Lunule leaned forward and grabbed her hand. She squeezed his fingers tightly as pain wracked her body.

“Dear Fate, Raphere,” he said miserably. “I am so sorry. I never meant harm to you. Not like this.”
She continued to cough. He grabbed the water pitcher and filled a cup, spilling the liquid in his haste. The prince acted as servant, supporting her head and helping her bring the cup to her mouth. She drank deeply. Her emerald eyes met his over the rim.

“The water tastes bitter,” she noted when she was done, her voice yet hoarse.

He took the cup from her and placed it on the bed’s night table, then gently fluffed her pillow.
He couldn’t help himself, being so close to her, her breath on his face. He lowered his lips and gently kissed her cheek.

She said nothing, not a retort or insult. Again, he took her hand in his even as her eyes grew moist. He watched helplessly as she blinked back tears.

“I would do it for you,” he told her quickly. “I would wash their feet if you wished it.”
She didn’t say a word to comfort him. She looked away just as a tear proved victorious against her battle and spilled onto the cheek he had kissed, as if to wash it clean.

“You didn’t hear me that night, Raphere, when Tranquia said you would die. She claimed there was nothing she could do. I told her she must not let you die. I told her before all the nobles and stable hands that you couldn’t die...because I love you. And I do in my heart, as only I can know.”

Lunule squeezed her hand tighter. Fearing she would draw it away from his, he clasped it with both of his hands.

“I don’t expect you to return my affection—”

“Affection?” she countered bitterly. “Is that what you call your actions? Affections—?”

“I can only ask a chance to prove my feelings are real. Only that. I would wash their feet for you, Raphere. A thousand things I would do for your pardon.”

She pulled her hand back and rolled onto her side, toward the balcony. Away from him. “Do it for yourself, Lunule.” Her words dismissed him.   

About the Author


A. H. De Carrasco embarked upon the writer’s journey at a young age, writing illustrated fan fiction for her grade school classmates’ favorite shows. Several decades later, she is publishing her collection of fantasy novels for teenagers and adults. Lately, she writes beside a waterfall as her husband tests his goggles and flippers. Her cats look on in displeasure from the screen door, but purr happily when she writes at her desk.



Giveaway


*Note: I received a preview of this book to review from the publisher. This in no way altered my opinion/review.