A Shadow Bright and Burning -Review

 

 

Title: A Shadow Bright and Burning
Author: Jessica Cluess
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 404
Random House Teens

Synopsys:

I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer in ages. The prophesied one.
Or am I?

When Henrietta is forced to reveal her power to save a friend, she expects to be executed. Instead, she’s invited to train as one of Her Majesty’s royal sorcerers. Thrust into glamour of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the chosen one, the girl who will defeat the Ancients, bloodthirsty demons terrorizing humanity. She also meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, handsome young men eager to test her power and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her.
But Henrietta is not the chosen one. With battle looming, she will have to decide how much she’s willing to risk to save the city- and the one she loves.

Author Bio:

Jessica Cluess is a writer, a graduate of Northwestern University, and an unapologetic nerd. After college, she moved to Los Angeles, where she served coffee to the rich and famous while working on her first novel, A Shadow Bright and Burning. When she’s not writing books, she’s an instructor at Writopia Lab, helping kids and teens tell their own stories.
Jessicacluess.com
@JessCluess

Review:

It’s hard to coherently say how much I loved a book without babbling like a mad woman. A Shadow Bright and Burning completely held me captive until the very end. Every spare minute I had, and even those minutes I really couldn’t spare, were spent gobbling up this delicious treat.
Sometimes fantasy novels are hard for me to read without feeling completely lost in all of the world building processes. So, I was very pleased when our main character, Henrietta Howel, also doesn’t completely understand her world, so we get to discover it along with her. It makes for a less confusing, overall pleasant reading experience when I don’t feel like I’m playing “catch-up” for the first few (sometimes more) chapters.
I adore fantasy novels set in Victorian London, so ASBAB did not disappoint!! I don’t want to dive too deep into setting details, because there are spoilers hidden there, but I’ll say that I could picture everything very clearly in my mind while reading!
The “monsters” and evil forces were also seriously freaky. I think that authors have to balance that tricky divide between truly scary, and downright cliché or cheesy, and in my opinion Jessica Cluess is a superstar!
All the plot twist were unexpected, and I had actually been spoiled prior to reading ASBAB, but I was still shocked and caught off guard every time! That’s talent!
I loved all the characters, and the multiple relationships Henrietta had with all of them. Add in a love triangle and you have all the ingredients for a great read.
Henrietta herself is a loveable/hateable/relatable main character. I appreciated her dry humor, coupled with Magnus’ flirtatious and witty prose.
I recommend ASBAB not just to established YA fantasy fans, but to anyone who’s never read fantasy before and would like to give it a try.
You can pick up your copy of A Shadow Bright and Burning  on amazon Here

Also, just released, Kingdom on Fire, Book 2: A Poison Dark and Drowning!!!!

 

can something just be said about these STUNNING book covers?!

 

You can get your copy of A Poison Dark and Drowning on amazon Here

Review of APDAD coming up next! Stay tuned!

What are your thoughts? If you have read this, I’d love to discuss some theories down below! Also, team Magnus, or team Rook?

HAPPY READING!

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Where We Belong – Book Review

Join two incomparable sisters on adventures that span the decades and cross the globe.

 

As a long time reader of the Christian Fiction classics it’s hard to believe that I hadn’t read any of Lynn Austin’s works. In fact, I only just discovered her novels on Pinterest, and just had to read one. So, when I was offered the chance to read Austin’s latest novel, Where We Belong, I jumped at it.

 

Here is the book description:

 In the city of Chicago in 1892, the rules and expectations for Victorian women are strict, their roles in life limited. But sisters Rebecca and Flora Hawes are not typical Victorian ladies. Their love of adventure and their desire to use their God-given talents have taken them out of society ballrooms and delivered them to the Sinai Desert- and into the teeth of a sandstorm.

Accompanied by Soren Petersen, their somber young butler, and Kate Rafferty, a plucky street urchin learning to be their lady’s maid, the two women are on a quest across the desert, chasing rumors of an important biblical manuscript.

As the expedition becomes ever more dangerous and uncertain, all four travelers sift through memories and adventures of their past, recalling the events that shaped them and the journeys and providence that brought them to this very time and place.

 

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! Austin has a rare talent, which is being able to weave together different story plots harmoniously without losing the reader along the way. She is a wonderful story teller and I am looking forward to reading her again!

The Proving Book Review

Fans of Beverly Lewis will not be disappointed!

the proving

Beverly Lewis’ latest novel fulfills the standard her previous stories have set for her over the years. As a reader, I know I can always turn to Lewis for  a solid story with plenty of love, Amish flavor, and of course, just the right amount of drama and a dash of suspense. The Proving has done just that!

Book Description:

After five years as an Englisher, Amanda Dienner is shocked to learn her mother has passed away and left her Lancaster County’s most popular Amish bed-and-breakfast. What’s more, the inn will only truly be hers if Mandy can successfully run it for twelve months. Reluctantly, Mandy accepts the challenge, no matter that it means facing the family she left behind- or that the inn’s clientele expect an Amish hostess! Can Mandy fulfill the terms of her inheritance? Or will this prove a dreadful mistake?

 

“Mandy, you are to inherit the farmhouse, including the business of the inn.” She could scarcely find her voice to respond.

“Ach, this must be a mistake,” she told him, shaking her head as she talked into the phone, feeling befuddled. “The house…and everything related to the inn…shouldn’t that go to Arie Mae?”

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Ink & Bone Review

ink and bone

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

Book Description:

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly- but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes form illegal books obtained by his family. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe knowledge is more valuable than any human life- and soon both heretics and books will burn….

Blurbed by Tamora Pierce, Deborah Harkness and USA Today!

In an exhilarating new series, New York Times Bestselling Author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time….

My Thoughts:

Ink and Bone has been on my TBR list ever since I first heard of it. I had many expectations, and I can truthfully say they were fulfilled in Ink and Bone!

I got this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

 

Some Small Magic -Book Review

She whispers, “I’m supposed to take you home.”

“Not yet,” Abel says. “Please, just not yet.”

All Abel wants is a little bit of magic in his life. Enough money so his mom doesn’t cry at night. Healing for his broken body. And maybe a few answers about his past.

When Abel discovers letters to him from the dad he believed dead, he wonders if magic has come to the hills of Mattingly, Virginia, after all. But not everything is as it seems.

With a lot of questions and a little bit of hope, Abel decides to run away to find the truth. But danger follows him from the moment he jumps his first boxcar, forcing Abel to rely upon his simpleminded friend Willie—a man wanted for murder who knows more about truth than most—and a beautiful young woman who was already on the train. From Appalachia to the Tennessee wilds and through the Carolina mountains, the name of a single small town beckons: Fairhope. That is where Abel believes his magic lays. But will it be the sort that will bring a broken boy healing? And is that the magic that will one day lead him home?

“On one level, this novel continues a long line of appealing road books . . . But Some Small Magic is also a tale of a journey from doubt to faith, and from hardscrabble despair to the highest form of hope. It’s a vivid and compelling read, with characters so alive you expect them to step out of the pages and say hello. The final pages are so beautiful they hurt a little.”

—Stephen Kiernan, author of The Curiosity and The Baker’s Secret

(Book Description)

While this book bellows out an endearing “read me!”, alas, I could not “get into it”, as we book lovers like to say. There seems to be an invisible wall between us and the book, and no matter the force we exert to get over said wall, we fall flat on our butts each time.

Here is what I will say, I am not through trying! I respect Billy Coffey as a writer and love his books. So I’m chalking all this up to just bad timing. Soon, very soon, when the moment is right, I will pick it back up again.

And I assume it will be magic. 

I was given this book in exchange for a review. The opinions expressed above are my own.

Wings of the Wind- Book Review

Image result for Wings of the Wind Connilyn Cossette

 

Can vengeance give way to forgiveness when one woman’s destiny becomes entangles with the very enemies she sought to destroy?

Motherless and raised alongside her brothers, Alanah, a Canaanite, is no stranger to fighting. When her father and brothers are killed in battle with the Hebrews, she disguises herself and sneaks onto the battlefield to avenge her family. The one thing she never counted on was surviving. 

Tobiah, a Hebrew warrior, has spent his share of time on the battlefield and is shocked ot find an unconscious woman among the casualties Compelled to bring her to a healer back at the Hebrew camp, he’s unprepared for the consequences of what he intended as an act of compassion.

In order to survive, Alanah must unite with her enemy. But will a terrible revelation drive her toward an even greater danger?

Have you ever been asked how you liked a book, and all you can come up with is, “It was so so good!”, and then you feel completely ashamed that you can’t come up with anything better to say than that? Well, honestly that’s how I feel about Wings of the Wind, Book #3 in the Out From Egypt series by Connilyn Cossette.

I’ve made it clear that I don’t read a ton of Christian Fiction because I am leary of the “cheese factor” that accompanies most books *cough, cough*, so I usually approach a Christian Fiction genre book with slight trepidation, careful of not getting too involved, in case my heart should be overcome by all the common tropes and cliches. I digress.

However, I liked the description of Cossette’s book and decided to give it a whirl. Oh dear babies everywhere. I was hooked! The story alone is so different, and I was honestly hooked. So hooked that I took this book on vacation to the Bahamas with me. (A great honor to all books everywhere.)

I would say that, if you are like me and can’t stand the cheese and cliche of most Christian fiction genre, seriously give this one a try. I picked up book three in the series and am hooked. Unless, of course, if you like the cheese, then by all means still read it. *insert happy face here*

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars for lactose intolerant Christian fiction. Cossette should get an award. Seriously.

You can pick Wings of the Wind up here: http://amzn.to/2sxDi9f

I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions stated above are my own. Affiliate links used.

Blood Rose Rebellion- Book Review

 

In a world ruled by magic, she was born to break everything.

 

Born into high British society, Anna Arden has been groomed for a position she will never fill. Through a member of the Luminates- the ruling class who use magic to exercise power- Anna cannot perform the simplest spells. But sometimes, by accident, she breaks them. After drawing unwanted attention from the magical elite, Anna is sent from England to her family’s once powerful but now oppressed native Hungary.                                                          

Her life might as well be over.

But Anna soon realizes that nothing is as it seems. The people around her hold dangerous secrets- from her aloof cousin Noemi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gabor to the magic-wielding Luminates. The society she’s known all her life is crumbling into discontent. And her lack of magic may mean more than she imagines. 

In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romani, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her gift, spark a rebellion, and change the world forever.

 

Blurbed by Jessica Day George (Silver in the Blood), Julie Berry (The Passion of Dolssa), Virginia Boecker (The Witch Hunter), and Jessica Cluess (A Shadow Bright and Burning), Blood Rose Rebellion promised to be an intense, page turning fantasy that definitely lived up to its reputation. I enjoyed every page!

Rosalyn Eves writing and detailed setting descriptions transplanted me back in victorian London, I thought to be a unique setting for a fantasy story which made it all the more interesting.

I give this book 3.5 Stars out of 5. I recommend it to anyone wanting to start reading fantasy novels. Eves enters you into a different world without confusing the heck out of you, which on my end is much appreciated.

I was drawn to the main character, Anna. Although most books make the main character out to be the hero/heroine straight away, we get to walk through Anna’s struggles with her. To me, that makes the character all the more endearing.

Blood Rose Rebellion is the first book in a new fantasy trilogy. Get your copy here:  http://amzn.to/2s6afbe

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. Affiliate links used.

 

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel- Book Review

9781101906668

“Sometimes you have to hurt people just to prove that you are alive”

 

Off in the flat plains of Kansas, just outside the relatively dead town of Osage Flats, stands a house simply known as Roanoke. It appears out in the distance, a mix match of many houses nailed together without any thought of architecture. Random rooms, turrets, brick and wood added on like an afterthought, giving the appearance of a back woods fun house. However, the outside of the house can seem normal compared to what happens within the walls of Roanoke.

Lane Roanoke grew up in a vastly different place, but after her mother’s suicide, she is brought from New York City back to the place of her mother’s birth, the place her mother referred to as a nightmare, back to Roanoke. There she meets for the first time her Granddad Yates Roanoke, Gran and her similar in age cousin Allegra. What unfolds in this house after sends her running just at the end of her first summer there.

A phone call from Granddad in the middle of the night brings Lane back to Roanoke, just when she thought she had completely left it behind. Allegra has gone missing, and possibly the only person who can figure out the cryptic clues she left behind is Lane. But can Lane face Roanoke again, without letting the disease of the house and family seep back into her bones? Can she face the people she left behind with no warning? Can she cross back over the bridges she burned in her wake, for Allegra’s sake?

“I’ve learned by now that life picks away at all of us, backs us into corners we never anticipated. Turns us into people we never thought we’d become.”

The Roanoke Girls is a haunting and at sometimes stomach turning story of a families marred past and present. To be a  Roanoke girl is like a blessing and a curse, which each girl has to figure out for herself. Reading this book was like watching a car wreck, its so horrifyingly magnetic, everything in you screams to look away but you cannot overcome the curiosity of your own internal sickness. So I give you this warning: read at your own risk.

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review.

A Spectacle of Glory – Review

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A Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada is a 365 Day devotional book, its short lessons packed with wisdom from God’s Word. It’s so easy for me to feel sorry for myself day by day, but reading devotions written by Joni, who at a young age became paralyzed from a tragic accident, her strength and devotion to making her life a spectacle of glory for God is truly humbling.

The Women of Easter -Review

Image result for The women of easter, liz curtis higgs

“You’re about to  meet three women named Mary, each of whom has a life-changing encounter with Jesus. Mary of Bethany prepares the way for the Lord’s burial when she anoints His feet and fills the air with her perfume. His mother, Mary of Nazareth, remains by His side from His first breath to His last, her loyalty unwavering. Mary Magdalene, delivered of seven demons, bravely supports her Teacher through His darkest hours, then proclaims the glorious news of His resurrection.

What a trio. What a Savior!

Your mind and emotions will be engaged and your faith strengthened as each scene unfolds, preparing your heart for a richer, deeper Easter experience.” -The Women of Easter synopsis.

 

I personally love anything written by Liz Curtis Higgs. Her writing is so emotionally charged and full of imaginative detail, which brings people of the past to life. I loved her descriptions of each woman at the death of Jesus, giving us small glimpses of what it might have been like at the foot of the cross. A wonderful read for the Resurrection season.