Quick Review: Soldier by Julie Kagawa


A YA love triangle with dragons. That’s all that needs to be said.

I kid…

Sorta…

Ember and joined Cobalt and is still struggling with the exit of Garret. She is torn between two boys, a dragon or a soldier. Both seem to be pulling her in their directions. But she’s not sure what to do.

Even though Garret left, he can’t seem to forget Ember. When he discovers something extremely disturbing about The Order, he must go back to the states and see if he can help make things right.

Another exciting installment in the Talon series that left me breathless. I’m about to dive into the next book. I’m so glad I waited till they were all complete. This really is a fun YA series. It’s been added to my list of recs.

On a side note, my non reader son read these books and thoroughly enjoyed them. He is currently rushing me to finish so he can talk about them. That’s saying something. It’s nice to find books like this.

~Melpomene

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Talon https://amzn.to/2GiEr77
Rogue https://amzn.to/2KqyiIx
Soldier https://amzn.to/2Kt7K9B

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Review: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has a few different spots in my heart…the first is that he writes brilliantly and beautifully as so few can do. His style is both unique and refreshing. The second thing is the sound of his voice. It makes me near swoon. I could listen to him speak all day. I never get tired of it. Finally, he is one of the only writers that I actually enjoy a great deal of his short stories. I’m not a short story person really. However, I really do find myself enjoying some of his tales. I also love that he takes the time to explain where the stories come from. Sometimes those super short blurbs are more interesting than the actual story! They certainly almost always add to the story as well. If I had a complaint about the formatting of this novel it would only be I wish the blurbs came right before each story (or perhaps the end). Instead they are all in the start of the book so you have to go back and forth…or if you read the book from start to finish, you forget what little blurb inspired the story in the first place. Yes I know you can go flip back and forth…however, if you’re trying to listen to the audiobook (AGAIN! The second thing! HIS VOICE!!!) it’s not as easy to do.

Some of my all time favourite short stories can be found in this collection. I shall only mention one…”The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury”. If you can find a copy or a recording of Neil reading it PLEASE DO!!! (it’s also on the An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer cd, which is where I first heard it)

Finally Trigger Warnings…The term. I find it hard to express how I feel about trigger warnings and how silly it has sometimes became in social media. I’ve seen trigger warnings posted such as “dog”, “fat”, “diet”, really this list is endless. And no these were not instances of someone trying to be funny…these were honest to goodness trigger warnings….I’m no one to judge….however, I don’t believe we do ourselves or anyone else living in a censored world of padded rooms full of insulated words…

Again, I’m not a judge or an expert…and I’m not a writer, but my friend, Mr Gaiman is…I found his introduction was spot on for me. It’s exactly how I wish I could explain how I fell about “trigger warnings”…yeah, it might be a bit of an overkill, and you might not want to read it, but I am going to include it anyways…hahaha…if you decided to read it, I hope you’re lucky enough to be able to imagine Neil reading it (I pretty much do his voice inside my head ANYTIME I read one of his books now). Here it is…the introduction of the book:

There are things that upset us. That’s not quite what we’re talking about here, though. I’m thinking about those images or words or ideas that drop like trapdoors beneath us, throwing us out of our safe, sane world into a place much more dark and less welcoming. Our hearts skip a ratatat drumbeat in our chests, and we fight for breath. Blood retreats from our faces and our fingers, leaving us pale and gasping and shocked.

And what we learn about ourselves in those moments, where the trigger has been squeezed, is this: the past is not dead. There are things that wait for us, patiently, in the dark corridors of our lives. We think we have moved on, put them out of mind, left them to desiccate and shrivel and blow away; but we are wrong. They have been waiting there in the darkness, working out, practicing their most vicious blows, their sharp hard thoughtless punches into the gut, killing time until we came back that way.

The monsters in our cupboards and our minds are always there in the darkness, like mould beneath the floorboards and behind the wallpaper, and there is so much darkness, an inexhaustible supply of darkness. The universe is amply supplied with night.

What do we need to be warned about? We each have our little triggers.

I first encountered the phrase Trigger Warning on the Internet, where it existed primarily to warn people of links to images or ideas that could upset them and trigger flashbacks or anxiety or terror, in order that the images or ideas could be filtered out of a feed, or that the person reading could be mentally prepared before encountering them.

I was fascinated when I learned that trigger warnings had crossed the divide from the internet to the world of things you could touch. Several colleges, it was announced, were considering putting trigger warnings on works of literature, art or film, to warn students of what was waiting for them, an idea that I found myself simultaneously warming to (of course you want to let people who may be distressed that this might distress them) while at the same time being deeply troubled by it: when I wrote Sandman and it was being published as a monthly comic, it had a warning on each issue, telling the world it was Suggested for Mature Readers, which I thought was wise. It told potential readers that this was not a children’s comic and it might contain images or ideas that could be troubling, and also suggests that if you are mature (whatever that happens to means) you are on your own. As for what they would find that might disturb them, or shake them, or make them think something they had never thought before, I felt that that was their own look out. We are mature, we decide what we read or do not read.

But so much of what we read as adults should be read, I think, with no warnings or alerts beyond, perhaps: we need to find out what fiction is, what it means, to us, an experience that is going to be unlike anyone else’s experience of the story.

We build the stories in our heads. We take words, and we give them power, and we look out through other eyes, and we see, and experience, what they see. I wonder, Are fictions safe places? And then I ask myself, Should they be safe places? There are stories I read as a child I wished, once I had read them, that I had never encountered, because I was not ready for them and they upset me: stories which contained helplessness, in which people were embarrassed, or mutilated, in which adults were made vulnerable and parents could be of no assistance. They troubled me and haunted my nightmares and my daydreams, worried and upset me on profound levels, but they also taught me that, if I was going to read fiction, sometimes I would only know what my comfort zone was by leaving it; and now, as an adult, I would not erase the experience of having read them if I could.

There are still things that profoundly upset me when I encounter them, whether it’s on the web or the word or in the world. They never get easier, never stop my heart from trip-trapping, never let me escape, this time, unscathed. But they teach me things, and they open my eyes, and if they hurt, they hurt in ways that make me think and grow and change.

I wondered, reading about the college discussions, whether, one day, people would put a trigger warning on my fiction. I wondered whether or not they would be justified in doing it. And then I decided to do it first.

There are things in this book, as in life, that might upset you. There is death and pain in here, tears and discomfort, violence of all kinds, cruelty, even abuse. There is kindness, too, I hope, sometimes. Even a handful of happy endings. (Few stories end unhappily for all participants, after all.) And there’s more than that: I know a lady called Rocky who is upset by tentacles, and who genuinely needs warnings for things that have tentacles in them, especially tentacles with suckers, and who, confronted with an unexpected squid or octopus, will dive, shaking, behind the nearest sofa. There is an enormous tentacle somewhere in these pages.

Many of those stories end badly for at least one of the people in them. Consider yourself warned.

Until next time…
Urania xx

ARC provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy it now Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

Quick review: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Not enough stars!! When I first saw this cover, I knew I had to read it. I didn’t even care what it was about. I just knew that I needed it. And let me tell you, I am so glad I did. I just finished this and now I’m sitting here with a big dorky smile on my face. Such a good book. Exciting and adventurous. Romantic and sweet. It’s just like Amazon said, Wonder Woman meets Vikings. I am dying to listen to the audible. I bet it’s gonna be just as amazing.

Eelyn is a warrior. Raised to believe the Riki are enemies. But when she’s captured and enslaved by them, she comes to the realization that they aren’t much different than her own clan. In fact, she learns that if they’re being honest, they have a common goal, and sets out to show them that. There are a few surprises for her and us, but it makes the story that much more exciting.

I loved the romance weaved throughout this. It’s very subtle. I wondered if there was even going to be a romance, and amazingly I was okay if there wasn’t. I was that hooked. But when it showed up, I was super happy. All stories need a little love.

There’s so much I wanna say, but I’ll let you read it and enjoy it for yourself. But the best part is that it’s a standalone! This wonderful story is all wrapped up in one spectacular package. It’s also going on my YA list. The teens in my life will love this. I can’t wait till my daughter reads this book. She’s gonna love it. LOVE IT. Ax and knife throwing is a hobby of hers.

This is Adrienne Young’s debut and I’m telling you, I found a new author to obsess over. I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next.

Melpomene

Buy Sky in the Deep https://amzn.to/2Hm7rvZ

Quick Review: Traitor Born by Amy Bartol


Oh my gosh!!! Exciting, emotional and non-stop action. Seriously. I couldn’t put this down. I need to sit down and collect my brain after that ending. I mean, holy crap. Amy knows how to get my blood pumping. You must read Secondborn before you even think about diving into this book. If you don’t have time to sit, grab the audible. I did my reread via audible and it was just fabulous.

Roselle is doing everything in her power to change the world around her. She’s surrounded by those who are supposed to be helping her but the more she’s involved, the more I realize that she’s utterly clueless. And then SHE doesn’t realize that until it’s too late.

No spoilers here, no worries. By the time I was at the ending, I had quite a few “Holy frak” moments. Just when I thought I knew what was going to happen, the rug was pulled out from under me. This girl can’t seem to catch a break. She wants to trust everyone, but she really can’t. Everyone has an agenda. And if she’s not smart, she going to be taken out of the picture.

That being said, I have a few predictions and a few “I hope…” ideas, but I’ll just have to sit here and wait. Gah!!

~Melpomene

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Secondborn https://amzn.to/2J3kFhp
Traitor Born https://amzn.to/2H8SWLG
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Rebel Born https://amzn.to/2JQdvOX

Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world.”
My goodness!! I am so excited after finishing this book! I pretty must wanna write, “GO READ THIS!” and just leave it at that, but I won’t.

I’ve been told by quite a few people that this book is super fun and intriguing, and will keep you on your toes. And they were so very right. I had so many theories as I was reading. It’s hard to know what’s going to happen when you’re told not to believe anything to you see or hear.

It’s only a game…

Famous last words.

Scarlett and Tella have grown up under the evil hand of their father. In fact, his scenes had me wincing quite a bit. Evil is an understatement. But the girls have a chance to run away to Caraval for a few days and escape their life, before Scarlett is forced to marry someone she’s never met. But things don’t turn out the way that they hoped. The game has a way of changing you, if you’re not too careful.

When Tella is kidnapped, the game gets more real. Scarlett must rely on the help of Julian, the sailor who seems to have an ulterior motive behind his actions, in order to rescue her before the five days is up. Scarlett has always done what needs to be done, in order to protect her sister, so this will push her far beyond her imagination.

As she spends more and more time with Julian, she starts to question everything about him. Romance has no place in this game. By the end, no matter what her feelings are for Julian, it’s all about her sister. Scar will do whatever it takes to find Tella and escape their father.

This is another YA book I’ll be adding to my list. No only is there a sweet romance in the background, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat and have you constantly guessing. A real page turner. In fact, if you liked the movie Now You See Me, then you will like this book. Nothing is real, and yet it is. It’s only a game, and yet it isn’t…

SO.MUCH.FUN.

~Melpomene

Buy Caraval https://amzn.to/2IiEYHh

Review: Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

When was the last time you finished a book and immediately sat down and wrote out a list of people who MUST read this book? When I finished this, that’s exactly what I did. The first, my kids, then my homeschool co-op teens, then some moms of those teens, then a few scattered friends who I know would get a kick out of this. And then I pretty much went on IG and FB and shouted it from the rooftops there. THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING!!! Thought provoking and exciting and I can’t wait for everyone to read this.

When I first got Pacifica, I almost skipped the author’s note and went right to the story. I’m so glad I didn’t. The author’s note is where the magic begins. It’s where the background story comes from. It’s the first time your heart is squeezed. And it’s definitely not the last.

When you read dystopians, part of you thinks, “This could never happen. We won’t let it happen.” But when I was reading this book, I kept thinking, “Crap. This could totally happen. And that would be horrific.” Basically climate change and the affects it has on our planet. But that’s not the hardest part of this story. The people, and what’s happening right under their noses, that’s the hardest part. They thought the government knew what was best for them and they just went along with it. But when the story is uncovered, they realize it’s far from anything they’ve ever heard of.

I think the best part of this book was the friendships. I was cheering everyone on. Marin, who was a pirate’s daughter and Ross, the president’s son, set out to rescue Ross’ friend, Adam, the vice president’s son, and it is non stop action. Like stomach twisting action. I couldn’t stop reading, for fear of something happening and I miss it. 🙂 Silly, I know, but I was so invested in these characters, I wouldn’t stop until they found their way back to safety. Now there is a little bit of love brewing on the high seas, but can you blame them? People who’ve gone through traumatic experiences tend to react that way. But it’s teen friendly, so no worries.

I have never read a Kristen Simmons book, but if they’re anything like this one, she’s found a new fan and I’ve found a new autobuy author. This story is now added to my ever growing “You need to read these YA books!” list. And all those people who are on my list above, better act surprised when they all get copies for Christmas.

~Melpomene

Buy Pacifica http://amzn.to/2FqHGxt

Reviewed Again: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Sometimes I love a book so much I feel compelled to read it over again. When this happens I oftentimes feel a bit let down and get upset with myself. That I ruined a great book with a reread.
For me, very few books are as good the second time around. Having said that I have a few I read over and over again (TKaM, TNotW, TWMF and PiL). Each time I read them I love them. Never did I love them more the second time around…I loved them as much…or nearly as much…but never more…

Despite having books I love during a reread, I can’t ever recall a feeling like I’ve had reading this novel for the second time. When I first read this book I knew instantly that it was a 5 star read for me and that I loved it. With the second book coming out soon I wanted to refresh the story in my mind…So I once again went deep into the Rus’ forest at winter…

Once I started it again…well…magic happened. The first time I loved the story. The second time, I knew the story and I fell in love with the storytelling. I honestly loved it more than I did the first time. I must be getting old (hell, I AM getting old!!!!) but at times I just wanted to cry…for no other reason than I loved what I was reading.

It’s like looking over at your spouse sitting on the couch, and feeling a tug at the heartstrings and an overwhelming feeling of love…suddenly the emotions well up and you have a huge lump in your throat…that’s what happened to me whilst reading this book.

The only issue I have is that…well….I have wanted to start the second book for months now…I opened the cover (I received an ARC months before it’s release) but I was worried I wouldn’t love it as much…I’ve had friends read it and tell me it’s just as fantastic…I can’t explain it, but I am really scared to read it! I thought rereading this one would fix that problem…but now I am terrified…

Until next time…
Urania xx

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden