29 May 2017

Review – Witch's Sacrifice by Crissy Moss

Title: Witch's Sacrifice (Witch's Trilogy #1)

Author: Chrissy Moss

Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis: 

Her forbidden secret will make her powerful… and hunted.

In Marizza's world, magic is evil. Since her youth, her mother told her witches were wicked creatures who deserved imprisonment. The tyrannical acolytes sacrificed all users of magic to the almighty kraken. It was the life she knew, until one fateful day changed everything.

When young Marizza is attacked by the town bully, she defends herself with magical abilities she didn't even know she had. After the acolytes come looking for the next witch to sacrifice, Marizza is left with no choice but to flee. She must journey across the Sea of Tears, where she'll make a choice that could transform the lives of everyone she loves. 

I received a free ebook copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:
 
I chose to give Witch’s Sacrifice a try because of its water-y theme. I don’t think I ever read a book with mermen and a kraken in it, but you gotta start somewhere, right? Well, this was definitely a good place to start…

I loved this fantasy world I got invited to. There is nothing pretty or rosy about it, because witches are hunted and sacrificed to the Kraken, yet there is magic and magical creatures that make it exciting.

Frankly, I was surprised how dark this book was at times. I expected something lighter, but I was satisfied with what I got. There is a lot of tragedy in there, pain and loss, but love and hope too, that somehow gets the edge off the sad parts.

The protagonist, Marizza, is a likable character; she is a young witch who gets saved from the Kraken by Little Mother, an old and wise woman, also a witch. The old lady later offers her an apprenticeship and the girl accepts, because she is eager to learn… Up until the point when Artiro, the young merman appears on the island where the two witches live.

The young love in this book is as naïve – and so as realistic – as it comes. They are ready to give up everything for each other, they are careless and reckless. Eventually they pay the price for their foolishness, but something comes out of their love, that can mark the end of the evil acolytes’ rule over the Sea of Tears.

Marizza and Artiro don’t steal the story completely though. We follow Little Mother a lot, we see how she helps young witches all over the islands and we meet Brother Hawk too, who happens to be my favourite character in the story. He is a man with a curse: half hawk, half man, who has to follow the will of the acolytes, the will of the Kraken. He is a bitter and tortured soul, but there is hope for him yet… I was glad he got involved with Little Mother’s business.

The story is neatly framed with two fighting scenes; the end is both an end and a new beginning, it sets the purpose of the sequel pretty well.

I got charmed by Witch’s Sacrifice, I won’t lie. It was a joy to go back to this book whenever I had time to read, as it made me forget everything else completely. I am ready for more.

28 Apr 2017

Review – Among the Flames by Shelby K. Morrison

Title: Among the Flames (Legend of the Liberator #2)

Author: Shelby K. Morrison

Rating: 3/5 stars

Synopsis:  

After fleeing her home in Tharien with the Emperor's forces hot on her heels, Aia Wynnald has only one goal: To end the two-thousand-year-old discrimination against Benders—a race of beings like her, with a misunderstood gift. But when the Emperor’s Church of Mighty retaliates with a new threat, her noble plans are put on hold.

With her companion Cole Balain, a former enemy, by her side, Aia must halt the devastation triggered by her well-meaning actions. The only way she can fight the Church is with the help of a disenchanted group of rebel Benders who'd sooner submit to their fate than follow Aia's lead.

Can she inspire them to fight and work together to resolve this new crisis, or will her ingrained submissive nature bring her, and the Benders of Dyel, to their knees?

My Thoughts:

After reading the first book in the Legend of the Liberator trilogy I couldn’t wait to continue reading the story, but unfortunately a couple of years passed until the second instalment debuted. It has arrived at last and it was very exciting to re-join Aia and Cole, to follow a newfound band of rebels that was determined to gain freedom.

I really like Shelby K. Morrison’s writing, it flows so nicely, it’s very dynamic and makes you want to keep reading. Even though I didn’t have much time for reading recently it was no problem for me to read bigger chunks of this novel at once.

I’m still in love with this fantasy world, the benders, how the legend from the name of the series is being created on the pages. In Among the Flames I appreciated that the other kingdoms in the empire were shown to us. There were a lot more travelling than in the first book, that made me happy, since in From the Ashes the characters didn’t move around much.

A lot of new characters were introduced, I enjoyed the variety and my favourite new face was Fynris. I found his double agent status intriguing and hoped he would make the right decision all along.

The thing is, I gave Among the Flames three stars, but the reason why I didn’t give it a higher rating is due to personal taste. First of all, for a long while the rebels hid in an underground tomb and the pacing in the story was a bit off for me.

Whenever I read books about rebellions at some point it turns out that the rebels have a secret hideout underground and the characters’ activities stop, they become a bit idle usually; sure, they plan things, but don’t act for a while and I very often get bored when that happens.

The other thing that I find a bit slow in the trilogy is the romance. Aia and Cole are running circles around each other and I expected something to happen between them in the second book, but they were still too shy about their feelings.

Despite these two things that bothered me a bit, I enjoyed the second book very much and I would recommend the series to everyone who likes fantasy. I can’t wait to know what Aia will be up in the next book.

Read my review of From the Ashes here.

13 Apr 2017

Review – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Title: To Kill a Mockingbird
      
Author: Harper Lee

Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis:

'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.' 

Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this classic novel - a black man charged with attacking a white girl. Through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Lee explores the issues of race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s with compassion and humour. She also creates one of the great heroes of literature in their father, whose lone struggle for justice pricks the conscience of a town steeped in prejudice and hypocrisy.

My Thoughts:

After a re-read I’m finally ready to put my admiration into words. Revisiting this novel is like going home, because if you read To Kill a Mockingbird once, the characters and Maycomb County will stay with you and they welcome you home should you decide to look for them again.

To Kill a Mockingbird is everything; a book of important life lessons, a book about equality, friendship, hot nostalgic summer evenings and fascinating neighbours. It is also a story about fear and understanding.

Harper Lee manages to show us the cruelty of the world through children’s eyes and with their reaction to injustice she reminds us that innocence is never truly lost.

When Atticus, father of two, must defend an innocent black man at court, who was accused of raping a white woman, his children are not cushioned against the cataclysm their father’s – otherwise very noble – actions start.

Scout, the child narrator, is close to my heart not only because she’s a tomboy, like I once was, but because she’s an observer like I am. She pays attention and even though there are many things she doesn’t understand at first, she puts the puzzle together eventually. Of course, Atticus’ wise words and examples help her little mind to process what’s happening around them, but to truly understand everything, she has to ask questions and she never stops doing that. I love her for her inquisitiveness, for her thirst for knowledge.

Jem, her brother, is few years older, therefore he can grasp the gravity of the happenings in connection with Tom Robinson’s trial. Reality hits him hard and he tries to make sense of people’s behaviour, without much luck. His helplessness angers him and his disappointment in humanity motivates him to become a better adult one day. One of my favourite things about this novel really, is that the children represent hope for a better future.

And then there’s Atticus… Don’t even start me on Atticus. He’ll always be my favourite father figure ever. Many people in the book don’t like how he raises his children, they think he gives them too much freedom, but that’s just the point; he lets them experience things on their own, lets them learn about their surroundings, about people on their own account. He doesn’t abandon Scout and Jem, though: he guides them, sits down and talks to them after a long day, helps them understand what they saw, what they heard. I’d like to be as good a parent as he is when the time comes.

As for the trial and Tom Robinson’s case, it is a very sad business. You’ll see humanity at its worst in this novel and it will start you thinking how many times all this actually happened back then. But the book leaves us with confidence; confidence in the next generation, confidence in us and in our children. If we teach them right, the world will become a better place.

I will always consider To Kill a Mockingbird as one of the best pieces in literature, I’ll give it to my children and my children’s children so they can be richer with the thoughts the book will generate in them.

12 Apr 2017

WWW Wednesday #4

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words

WWW stands for three questions: 

1. What are you currently reading?
by Jude Morgan


Synopsis:

From an obscure country parsonage came the most extraordinary family of the nineteenth century. The Brontë sisters created a world in which we still live - the intense, passionate world of JANE EYRE and WUTHERING HEIGHTS; and the phenomenon of this strange explosion of genius remains as baffling now as it was to their Victorian contemporaries. In this panoramic novel we see with new insight the members of a uniquely close-knit family whose tight bonds are the instruments of both triumph and tragedy. Emily, the solitary who turns from the world to the greater temptations of the imagination: Anne, gentle and loyal, under whose quietude lies the harshest perception of the stifling life forced upon her: Branwell, the mercurial and self-destructive brother, meant to be king, unable to be a prince: and the brilliant, uncompromising, tormented Charlotte, longing for both love and independence, who establishes the family's name and learns its price.

I've always wanted to read a book about the Brontë sisters, this is it.

2. What did you recently finish reading? 

I've finished To Kill a Mockingbird, the review is coming tomorrow!

3. What do you think you'll read next?
by Shelby K. Morrison


 Synopsis:

 After fleeing her home in Tharien with the Emperor's forces hot on her heels, Aia Wynnald has only one goal: To end the two-thousand-year-old discrimination against Benders—a race of beings like her, with a misunderstood gift. But when the Emperor’s Church of Mighty retaliates with a new threat, her noble plans are put on hold.

With her companion Cole Balain, a former enemy, by her side, Aia must halt the devastation triggered by her well-meaning actions. The only way she can fight the Church is with the help of a disenchanted group of rebel Benders who'd sooner submit to their fate than follow Aia's lead.

Can she inspire them to fight and work together to resolve this new crisis, or will her ingrained submissive nature bring her, and the Benders of Dyel, to their knees?
  
I read the first book in the series and loved it very much. Can't wait to dive into the second instalment.

You know comments are very welcome and don't forget to leave a link to your WWW post either! :)

Happy reading!
 

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