First Line Friday: March 31, 2017

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?  If you want to make your own post, feel free to use or edit the banner above, and follow the rules below:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

If you’re using Twitter, don’t forget to use #FirstLinesFridays!


“The door burst open and hit the wall like a gunshot.”

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And the book is:

Glimmers of Glass by Emma Savant

Description:

Hidden in the city of Portland, Oregon is a shimmering world of magic—one faerie Olivia Feye doesn’t want to touch with a ten-foot wand. She’d rather study biology, or garden, or floss her teeth, or do literally anything except pay attention to the Glimmering world and her internship at Portland’s premier faerie godparent agency.

But when her supervisor is hospitalized after a flying pumpkin carriage accident, Olivia is thrust into the middle of a case. And this one won’t be easy: Her client is Elle, a barista whose plans don’t include an enchanted prom or Prince Charming.

The reward for a happily-ever-after is enough gold pieces to get Olivia out of the Glimmering world forever. But as she comes face-to-face with the complexities of faerie godmothering, she’s forced to wonder: How much is she willing to sacrifice for her own happy ending?


I’ve already read and reviewed this book. I liked it and the rest of the series enough that I wanted to showcase it again. I’ll keep my thoughts about the first line to myself so as not to bias you, but know that if you like YA contemporary fairytale retellings, this is one you’re going to want to pick up. Told from the prospective of the godmother, I really, really enjoyed it.

What do you think of this first line?

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Review: First Year

First Year

The Black Mage Book One

by Rachel E. Carter

Description:

Before the age of seventeen, the young men and women of Jerar are given a choice —pursue a trade or enroll in a trial year in one of the realm’s three war schools to study as a soldier, knight, or mage…

For fifteen-year-old Ryiah, the choice has always been easy. Become a mage and train in Combat, the most prestigious faction of magic.

Yet when she arrives, Ry finds herself competing against friend and foe for one of the exalted apprenticeships. Everyone is rooting for her to fail—first and foremost among them is Prince Darren, the school prodigy who has done nothing but make life miserable since she arrived.

Will Ry survive, or will her dream go down in flames?

Review:

I saw this book around a lot and it sounded like something I would like so I purchased it. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations. It wasn’t bad, but I think I just wanted something more from it. Honestly, it makes me feel really bad. I really wanted to like it, but just didn’t quite make it.

What I liked:

  • The biggest thing I liked was the characters. They are what made me want to read the next book. They stuck with me. Ryiah feels like she has a lot to prove and has a lot of persistence.  I just liked her. I also liked Ella and Alex. They were good characters.
  • Lots of training and school angst for for people who like that type of read
  • One scene sticks out in my mind of being really interesting/intriguing. When Ryiah drinks the hallucinogen, I loved what happened. I wanted more of that in the story, and it made me wonder if there’s more cool stuff to come in the next books.

What I didn’t like:

  • The story was predictable (even the love part). Blah. Hate when I figure things out without the anxiety of wondering if it will actually happen. I wanted a twist I couldn’t predict or one that left me hoping it would happen.
  • Darren is someone I wanted to like, but I never really understood him. I think if I understood him better, I might actually enjoy his character.
  • Priscilla was a another predictable thing about this story. She was the typical villain. I wanted more depth to her. Perhaps it comes in later books, but for now it was just kind of boring.
  • Ends abruptly.  We just find out what happens, and there’s no feelings to go along with it. No joy or shock in the journey made. I was surprised when it ended without there being more–in a bad way. It’s like the author just wants to pull you on to the next book without giving you fulfillment of this book.

Conclusion:

Lots of people like this book, so I’m sure if you’re into fantasy school books with a little bit of romance angst, this would be a good pick for you. It is a best seller and has lots of great reviews, so I’m sure lots of people will enjoy this read. Will I pick up the next book? Maybe, but probably not.

Book Blitz: Digging in the Stars

Hey everyone! Today I have a treat for you. A book blitz for Digging in the Stars. I picked this book for a couple of reasons. First, I love the cover. Yes, I know I shouldn’t judge books by their covers, but I totally do. It’s so shiny and pretty.

Second, I liked the title. It’s intriguing. Makes me want to know more about the book. I’d love to get my hands on a copy of this one. Hope you enjoy the peek! Plus, there’s a giveaway. Who doesn’t love those?



Digging in the Stars
Katherine Blakeney
Published by: Blaze Publishing
Publication date: March 28th 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

A lost ancient civilization and the tomb of a legendary king lie buried beneath centuries of ash on the volcanic planet Thror, but that’s not the only reason sixteen-year-old Carter has tricked her Archaeology of Outer Space class into coming here. Her best friend Conrad has just disappeared on a trip to Thror, leaving behind little more than a broken vintage camera. The strange and disturbing photographs she manages to extract make her suspect Conrad’s disappearance is somehow connected to the hidden tomb of the last king of Thror.

Unfortunately, the ludicrously over-friendly ‘Furry Giants’ who have taken over the planet’s barren surface would rather offer her cheap souvenirs than answers, and the local officials insist they have no record of Conrad’s existence. Inspired by fear for Conrad’s life and the chance to make the greatest archaeological discovery of the century, Carter and her friends follow Conrad’s footsteps deep into the mountains of Thror’s forbidden Black Zone and launch an illicit excavation.

Coded messages, stunning ancient ruins, and clues left by Conrad himself begin to surface as the young archaeologists fall victim to an alarming series of accidents staged by the increasingly hostile Furry Giants. Piecing together a history of dictatorship, terrorism and disguise, Carter glimpses the horrors beyond Thror’s flamboyant façade and startling revelations about the friend she thought she knew. The masks of Thror hide devastating secrets, and the golden tomb buried deep in the frozen core may claim the lives of everyone she loves.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

TEASERS:

“Please remain seated as we begin our descent into Thror. Welcome, and enjoy your stay.”
The time for action was at hand, and she still didn’t feel ready. The flight felt much shorter than she’d expected.
The girls exchanged bewildered looks across the aisles. Stunned silence. They couldn’t have missed that final announcement. Avoiding Professor P’s gaze, Carter still felt the look of shock the professor shot across the cabin. Once, Carter had seen herself arriving on Thror as a great explorer. Instead, she would be remembered as a half-baked deceiver and kidnapper. The Throrians would have called her a scent-changer.

* * *

Carter had been so close to her goal. She saw that crack with her own eyes, a portal into a lost ancient world, chambers filed with carvings, images that had never been recorded or reproduced. The greatest discovery of this or any other century, waiting less than twenty feet away. Waiting for her. And Conrad had been there first. The moment she thought it, she felt guilty. She was allowing herself to get carried away by archaeological fervor, mentally competing with Conrad, when he might have paid a terrible price for his discovery.

 

Author Bio:

I am an author and independent filmmaker/stop motion animator with a BFA in Stop Motion Animation from the School of Visual Arts in New York and a PhD in Film Studies from the University of Edinburgh (Scotland, UK). My thesis focuses on silent film adaptations of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Gothic novels, with a special emphasis on psychological and aesthetic representations of the Monster figure. My debut novel, a YA Sci-Fi adventure called Digging in the Stars, is forthcoming with Blaze Publishing on March 28, 2017.

Raised by an Egyptologist mother, I grew up among museums and excavation sites, where I developed an unhealthy fascination with ancient art and mythology. I divide my time between bringing 12”-tall people to life in my studio in Edinburgh, excavating ancient tombs in the Egyptian desert, and researching Gothic literary monsters in silent film. I have worked for more than 10 years as photographer and videographer for the South Asasif Conservation Project, an archaeological expedition in Egypt and I have published numerous articles on film and archaeology.

I write, direct, design, and animate short films and commissioned projects in my studio in Edinburgh, Scotland and have been employed as an animator, screenwriter, modelmaker and art director for studios in Edinburgh, South Korea and Qatar. I have produced commissioned projects for IdeasTap in London, the Arts Trust Scotland and the British Library. My shorts have won competitions and screened at various international festivals including the Edinburgh Fringe. In 2015, my short film The Burglar With the Yellow Hand was nominated for an Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) Research in Film Award.

You can find out more about all aspects of my work on my website, http://yorwickcastle.com
My new blog http://KatherineBlakeneyStardigger.blogspot.com is all about Digging in the Stars and my references and inspirations as a writer.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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WWW Wednesday: March 29, 2017

The threee Ws Wednesday. Can’t believe it’s already halfway through the week. It’s been a busy one with reading and birthdays so that’s probably why it’s gone by so fast.

This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

My very first graphic novel. Eep! I’m excited if you can’t tell. I really enjoyed the rest of the Lunar Chronicles and am excited to read from Iko. I loved her in the other books so I’m hoping I do in this one too. Technically, I haven’t had time to start this one yet, but I’m hoping to change that very soon. As in, right now 😀

 

 
What did you recently finish reading?

I’ll have my review up for this book next week. Short story is that not a lot of people seemed to like this book, but I did. I was able to relate to the main character, Maisie, which always makes a book easier for me to read. The romance though–egh! Didn’t like that part which is probably why so many people didn’t like the book. So if you can’t handle imperfect relationships, I’d stay away from this one.

 

 
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m not sure about this one. I’ve got my eye on a couple, and I’m waiting to see if I get some from NetGalley. So, we’ll see what happens.

Leave a comment to your WWW Wednesday, and I’ll stop by and have a look!

Review: God of the Sun

God of the Sun

Stella and Sol Book #1

by Kimberly Loth

Description

Crown Princess Zwaantie of Sol harbors a dangerous secret. One she has managed to hide even from the ever present sun. She’s doesn’t want to be queen.

Desperately trying to avoid responsibility she does the unthinkable. She falls in love with a slave.

When Zwaantie’s mother decides it’s time for her to get married, she frantically tries to form a plan to escape the crown. After three attempts on her life, Zwaantie fears that the sun has recognized her plans and is now trying to kill her for being disobedient..

When a high prince from Stella, the barbaric country across the mist, arrives seeking her hand, Zwaantie sees an opportunity to escape her death.

As those around her discover her plans, they unravel and she fears not only for her own life, but the survival of her kingdom.

Review:

Zwaantie is a cool name. Also, I like the cover. It’s a little different with not having a girl on it, but I like it better for that.

Now that that’s out of the way, the book. I liked it. It was a little on the short side, but the substance that was there was enjoyable. It’s an interesting idea having only one side of the planet always dark and one side always light, and with that, one side always having magic, the other food. It makes for good commerce and a good idea for the basis of a story.

I thought it was interesting how the Sun talked to the people, told them what to do, what was right and wrong. I liked how Zwaantie handled that. Lands knows that it would drive me crazy to have someone talking in my head all the time.

The love story in this was, well, I’m rooting for one guy and I hope she picks him in the end. The other one I have suspicions about that could be entirely wrong, but make me like him less. But, this makes me feel something. I always enjoy it when a book brings out an emotion in me.

There are lots of questions I have still about what’s going on, guesses about what’s to come next, and am anxious for the next book to come out. I’m excited to see in on preorder for April 5th. Prince of the Moon.  What’s going to happen? Eep! I want to say more, but don’t want to spoil it. Suffice it to say, I liked this book, just wished there was a little more substance to it.

I recommend God of the Sun for those looking for a good, quick, YA fantasy. I look forward to reading more by this author.

Stars: 4 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

Source: Purchased the eBook

Mailbox Monday: March 27th, 2017

Welcome to Mailbox Monday created over at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page which has found a permanent home at its own blog. To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog, check out the links, and link back to your post.


This past week I didn’t get as much reading done as I wanted due to some migraines. Darn things got in the way of reading more and searching for more books. Hopefully this coming up week is better, and I can find more books.

Books I acquired:

Bought:

None. Crazy, but good for my wallet.

From the Library:

Chalice by [Mckinley, Robin]

I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Robin McKinley so I’m hoping Chalice is a good find. Sounds alright, like there’s some promise there. Dangerous sounded cool at the library but when I came home I realized the reviews are so-so.  That means I’ll be going into it with low expectations, which might be a good thing? I don’t know, we’ll see.

From NetGalley:

Stone Keeper sounded really good when I got it at from NetGalley. So far it’s been a disappointing read, but I’m not far into it. Hopefully by the time you read this I will have found an interesting point and finished it with the same enjoyment that everyone else seems to have found with this novel.

 

What books did you get this past week?

List them in the comments or leave me a link, and I’ll stop by.

First Line Friday: March 24th, 2017

I love the first line of a book. Sometimes they’re great and sometimes they’re real stinkers. Because of my love for them, I decided to join in First Line Fridays by Wandering Words. Hope you enjoy!

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?  If you want to make your own post, feel free to use or edit the banner above, and follow the rules below:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

If you’re using Twitter, don’t forget to use #FirstLinesFridays!

 

“The day Alice met the twins her life changed forever.”

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And the book is:

The Stone Keeper by June Wilson

“The day Alice met the twins her life changed for ever. Not like the day she cut her hair off and hated it. Or the even the day her father told her she had to spend six months in Australia. No, this was a big change, a huge change – almost, you could say, an impossible one. Because it was the day she got mixed up in Middengard. The day she stepped into the prophecy. Not that she knew that. Not then.”

Fifteen year-old Alice Morgan is homesick and miserable, out of place with her rich relatives in Melbourne. All she wants to do is return to England and solve the mystery of her mother’s disappearance.

But you should be careful what you wish for. When Alice is unwittingly lured to Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance, she finds herself in Middengard, a realm hidden from the world of men and peopled by an ancient warrior race, the Hilderinc. To make matters worse, her cousin Toby and her annoying friend Jess have followed her, putting their own lives in jeopardy.

Placing her trust in the aloof girl-warrior Iris and Iris’s father Stanor, Alice is astonished to learn that the pendant left to her by her mother is one of the Doom Stones, powerful stones needed to protect both Middengard and the world of men from destructive forces.

Soon Alice, Toby and Jess become embroiled in a battle to help the Hilderinc defeat one of their own, a rebel intent on upsetting the balance of power. But how does Alice’s mother fit in? As Alice learns more about Middengard and her part in it, she has to make the hardest choice of her life: rescue her mother or save Toby and Jess.


This is my current read. When I read the first line, it made me a little curious. Why did her life change forever? And who are the twins? I don’t think it’s the best first line ever, but it did propel me to read further on so I’d say it did it’s job.

What do you think of this first line?

Review: Glimmers of Thorns

Glimmers of Thorns

A Glimmers Novel #3

by Emma Savant

Read my review of Book #1 & Book #2

Description:

Ever since Imogen walked into the Oracle’s Fountain and out of Olivia’s life, nothing has been right in the city of Portland. Attacks against the Humdrums have escalated, fear is creeping through the city like a poison, and Queen Amani seems to have disappeared off the face of the planet.

But Olivia isn’t alone. Together with her allies, including an angry hedge witch named Isabelle and Isabelle’s beastly boss, she sets out on a quest to save the Glimmering world.

But no quest is meant to be easy, and Olivia’s courage will be tested as she’s thrown into the path of the one enemy she can’t bear to face. As the city begins to spiral into war, Olivia must make a devastating choice—one that will forever redefine what it means to live happily ever after.

Review:

This has been a great series. Not perfect, but pretty darn close. I’m really happy I stumbled across it and decided to pick it up.

Olivia has a lot going on in this book. It’s much more about her than ever before. In fact, the Beauty and the Beast part of the story is very minimal. Though Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales, I was okay with this story being more about Olivia.

Image from memegenerator.net

One thing that was missing in the last book was her family. There was very minimal interactions between them. This book made up for it. Her family was in the action of things and I liked it. It was a nice touch. There was one part at the end that was resolved a little too conveniently, but not enough to turn me off to it.

Olivia didn’t spend any time being a fairy godmother in this one. She was busy with much bigger plans. Though I kind of missed her mentoring someone. I hope that Emma Savant will write more books in the series, and Olivia will get to mentor someone along with everything else she has going on.

Where did Lily go? In the last book, Lily was the mermaid she was the fairy godmother for, but in this book, there wasn’t one mention of Lily. It was a little strange. I would have liked to have scene Lily at least a little. Not enough to make me not like the book though.

The “love story” was…well, I can’t say much without giving anything away. If you’ve read the book, you probably know why I put love story in quotes. It’s not heavy on romance, but it’s there. I was a little worried about the direction it would go in this book, but I was very happy with it.

Imogen. What can I say about her without ruining anything? It was a good fit for the book, though perhaps a little to easy at then end. I would have liked a little more struggle in the last chapter, though one is hinted at, we don’t really see it. Otherwise, I’m entirely satisfied with the way it came together.

There is some mild language throughout, but otherwise, it’s a clean book.

This is a great series that I highly recommend to someone who wants to have fairy tale retellings with only a little of the story mixed in, and a lot of fun new stuff to entertain you.

WWW Wednesday: March 22, 2015

For the first time, I’m joining WWW Wednesday. Looks like a lot of fun 😀 This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading Verdant Magic by Aimee Easterling. I’m about halfway through and am enjoying it so far. Who doesn’t love a good dragon shifter book? I’m a little wary there’s going to be sexual content in it, which is something I usually try to avoid, but so far it’s been good. The only thing I haven’t liked is that the instant love with no explanation, but maybe that will come.

 
What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished reading Glimmers of Thorns by Emma Savant. I really have enjoyed this series so far. I’ve still got the reviews of book two and this one, book three, to go, but know that I think it’s a series worth starting. I can’t figure out why more people haven’t picked it up. It’s awesome if you like a good contemporary fairy tale retelling from the perspective of the godmother. A nice twist on how fairy tale retellings are usually done.

 
What do you think you’ll read next?

I think I’ll pick up Stone Keeper by June Wilson. I snagged it off of NetGalley because it looks really good and has gotten some great reviews so far. Portal fantasies aren’t usually ones that I go for, but I think I might like this one. Crossing my fingers I do. The blurb sounds good, so here’s hoping!

 

 

 

Leave a comment to your WWW Wednesday, and I’ll stop by and have a look!

Review: Glimmers of Scales

Glimmer of Scales

A Glimmers Novel #2

by Emma Savant

Check out my review of book #1 Glimmer of Glass

Description:

Months after wrapping up her first faerie godmothering case, Olivia is faced with a new assignment: a lovesick mermaid princess who won’t give up her dreams of marrying her Humdrum crush.

But negotiating a happily ever after (and dodging the wrath of the Sea King) isn’t the biggest problem on Olivia’s plate. She’s sick with guilt over keeping the Faerie Queen’s offer a secret from Imogen. Lucas is suddenly, gorgeously, and terrifyingly single. Her parents can’t seem to stop arguing. And something is happening in Portland—something even Queen Amani seems afraid to face.

When Olivia is hit with a devastating betrayal, she’s left to pick up the pieces on her own. But it will take more than a wave of her wand to fix everything that’s been broken, and will require her to face the reality of a world where every happy ending comes with a shadow.

Review:

This book was sadder than the last one. I feel like giving a review on it is going to be really hard because all my thoughts are so spoilery. I’ll do what I can with it though.

The book is much more about Olivia and her life than the first one was. The first one  was sprinkled with bits while the main focus was on her being a fairy godmother. This one you don’t even meet the person she’s being a fairy godparent to until after page 100. I thought that would make it slow, but I was surprised to realize I’d made it that far in the book. It was all interesting stuff.

Image from memegenerator.net

The fairy godmother part was … frustrating. I really wanted her to stand up for herself and her own choices more, though I can see why she’s trying to go off of her past experience to make this one work. It kind of has to work the way it does though to work with the end of the book. I get that, but still was frustrating to go through.

The love story was still sparse and, well, just not what I expected. Still there enough that I wonder what’s going to happen with it in the next book. I do have a few problems with it, but maybe the next book will overcome that.

I did wish Olivia spent a little more time with her family, mainly her brother. I get why she doesn’t spend much time with her parents, sad though it is (her parents really need to get it together), but I really liked her brother and wanted to see more of him. I do like how real of circumstances she deals with, though it’s really sad.

One of the twists I totally didn’t see coming. It was quite the shocker. Still hoping that one turns out better. The other twist I guessed, though it was nice to have that guess confirmed.

I do feel like this book and series was worth reading.  I’m most anxious to read the next book and find out how everything goes!