Fire and Bone Blitz

Fire and Bone
Rachel A. Marks
(Otherborn #1)
Publication date: February 20th 2018
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Music that helped inspire the book here!

“Gossip Girl meets Percy Jackson in the glitz and grit of L.A….”

In Hollywood’s underworld of demigods, druids, and ancient bonds, one girl has a dangerous future.

Sage is eighteen, down on her luck, and struggling to survive on the streets of Los Angeles. Everything changes the night she’s invited to a party—one that turns out to be a trap.

Thrust into a magical world hidden within the City of Angels, Sage discovers that she’s the daughter of a Celtic goddess, with powers that are only in their infancy. Now that she is of age, she’s asked to pledge her service to one of the five deities, all keen on winning her favor by any means possible. She has to admit that she’s tempted—especially when this new life comes with spells, Hollywood glam, and a bodyguard with secrets of his own. Not to mention a prince whose proposal could boost her rank in the Otherworld.

As loyalties shift, and as the two men vie for her attention, Sage tries to figure out who to trust in a realm she doesn’t understand. One thing’s for sure: the trap she’s in has bigger claws than she thought. And it’s going to take a lot more than magic for this Celtic demigoddess to make it out alive.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble



I try to hide my shivering as I wait before the altar, in my position as the Bonding begins. Around me, shadows dance over the cairn walls from the restless flames licking up the ram’s body—the sacrifice on the pyre behind me—and the smell of sweat and burnt flesh smother the smoky air.

The King of Ravens paints an alarming image, standing almost naked across from me on the other side of the blood circle. He wears the corona radiata, the golden laurel-leafed crown, on his head of onyx hair. His short beard is neatly trimmed, combed with lavender oil for the ceremony. His sharp silver eyes study me beneath a heavy brow.

I try not to think about the past. Or future. I try not to think about what those hard hands will feel like on my skin when he seals this Bond.

I study the stone floor rather than look in those metallic eyes. I feel them on me, though, the same way they have been for the fortnight I’ve been here preparing for the ceremony. He hasn’t touched me; he’s only brought me gifts and insisted I sit with him beside the greatfire in the evening before he goes out for his hunt. Sometimes I smell him in the hallway outside my rooms. But he never comes in, thank the goddess. The scent of blood is heavy on him in those moments. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if he’d attempted anything.

After this is done, it won’t matter. My bed will be his. As will my life.

A druid walks back and forth behind me, tossing rosemary and lavender onto the pyre after each stanza of his spell. He calls to the wind from the east, he calls to the waters in the west, and he pulls the spirit of flame and earth into the cairn with us, asking the Penta to approve the Bond set to be made between the two most powerful Houses, as he pleads for a blessing from our mothers, Brighid and Morrígan, and thanks the Cast for their permission to seal the Bond between the two very different powers.

A female druid comes to my side with bowl and brush, beginning to paint my skin in blue woad, tracing patterns of knots and runes across my back, then baring my chest and continuing.

The king’s gaze follows the woman’s strokes, and when she’s finished, he raises his chin at me in approval but says nothing. What does he see when he looks at me? My wild copper hair? My simple features? The awkward birthmark just above my heart? I’m round of cheek and hips and not much of a beauty. But however I look to him, I will belong to him.

Determination is set in hard lines on his face, and I wonder if the torque on his neck is working properly. I can see his dark energy lifting in silver and black curls over his shoulders now. It should be tight inside his skin, as mine is. The iron shackle should be holding it in place so that we don’t harm each other in the first merging, before we can get used to the feel of each other’s powers.

The female druid moves to the king next and begins painting the woad in circles over his torso. The druid chanting behind me recites the final section of his spell, walking the ram’s-blood circle painted on the floor. He holds a rowan stick aloft, flicking rosewater over the king and then me as he passes by, mumbling, “A price paid, a covenant sealed, in earth and blood and ash, in spirit and flesh and fire.”

The price is my will, my soul, in payment for the life of the human prince that I took.

In the center of the circle, between the king and me, is an altar with two bowls set atop, one full of salt, one full of rye.

The iron union dagger rests between them.

I stare at it, imagining the blade cutting into my flesh. And I can’t help when my gaze moves to the king. I want to blink and make this moment a dream, perhaps find myself in the thicket with Lailoken, among the bluebells in the Caledonian wood.

I should run from this son of Morrígan, deny him, deny our mothers, and let the world burn. But my heart twists at the thought. I was running from duty when fate took my heart from me, when the prince succumbed to my fire’s will. It was the childish notion of freedom that tore him from me.

Now it’s time to accept my punishment for allowing the humans to glimpse our world. Time to atone.

The druid’s voice fills the room again. “When moon gives birth to stars,” he says, in a droning hum, flicking more rosewater over us with the rowan stick, “let this Bond be sealed in blood.”

My skin prickles with fear as the king takes the cue, reaching out to pick up the ceremonial dagger by the leather-wrapped hilt. I focus on not moving, not making a sound, as I watch him bring the blade to his chest, tip pricking his left breast. A drop of crimson pearls up at the spot.

With a slow hiss of breath, he cuts across.

Dark blood slides down his abdomen in a thick swath of red. “My blood with yours,” he says. And he turns the knife, holding out the hilt for me.

My hands clench into fists at my side, and I force my shaking limbs to still.

I breathe in slowly again. Then I reach out, taking the ceremonial dagger from him, careful not to touch his fingers.

I pretend not to care about the cage I’m about to be locked in. About the pain in my soul from loss, from the goddess Brighid abandoning me to this darkness, pain from the reality of everything in front of me.

I press the tip of the blade to the center of my chest, the point breaking the skin. I look into the silver eyes of the king in front of me. And consider my fate.

One deep plunge to the heart and the pain will end. One plunge.




Author Bio:

Rachel A. Marks is a cancer survivor, a writer and artist, a surfer and dirt-bike rider, chocolate lover and keeper of faerie secrets. Her four kids and amazing hubby put up with her nerdiness with tremendous grace, even when she makes them watch Buffy or Smallville re-runs for days on end. She was voted: Most Likely To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse, but hopes she’ll never have to test the theory.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest



a Rafflecopter giveaway

INTL $20 Amazon gift card + print copy of Fire and Bone




Studying Religion: An Introduction Through Cases by Gary Kessler


Title: Studying Religion: An Introduction Through Cases

Author: Gary E. Kessler

Published: November 9th, 2007

Rating: 3/5 stars


Through the use of thought-provoking case studies, summaries, and review questions, this introductory level text shows students how to engage in the academic, objective study of religion and helps instructors address some of the typical problems they encounter when introducing students to the study of religion. Kessler guides students through an unbiased and varied study of religious beliefs and practices such as sacred power, myths and rituals, religious art, the problem of evil, and the relationship between religion and morality. The text also addresses issues of gender and religious institutionalization.


Okay, I’ve never written a review for a non fiction book before so we’ll see how this goes. Hopefully its still useful? Also, full disclosure, I did not read every chapter of this book, only the ones that I was assigned in class.


I tend to avoid non fiction like the plague and then inevitably be shocked when I actually like it, something that happens more often than not let’s be honest. This one was not an exception. I didn’t love it but I definitely didn’t hate it. I read this for a college level religion class and this book was perfect for that! It explains some difficult concepts and different parts of religion in a way that isn’t difficult to understand, even if you go into it with next to no knowledge of religion like I did (I had a very basic understanding of some of America’s popular religions).

Although there were parts of it that kind of dragged or didn’t interest me as much as others, I also learned a bunch of cool religion facts that I had absolutely no knowledge of whatsoever. For instance there’s Jainism a religion I had never even heard of before reading this book that I now know at least a little bit about. It stuck with me in particular because of how important ahisma is to them. Ahisma basically meaning nonviolence, so that those who practice Jainism are vegetarians and take care not to harm insects or sometimes even microorganisms living on their skin. I’m sure that there is much more to it than that, but I was glad to learn about it at all because I feel like its a wonderful reminder of kindness. The book also goes into some less pleasant aspects of religion such as cults, which, although I’d rather not dwell on them here, I also gained a better understanding of.

If you’re interested in learning about all the different religions around the world then this probably isn’t the right fit, but for me personally I think that the information it provided was almost more valuable than a book like that would have been because I left it with a better sense of what makes up religion and how to tell it apart from other similar things.


Books I Stopped Loving

I’m sure everyone has a few of these, books that you used to love or at least liked a lot that you try to read again and can’t stand at all. For me it’s the Warriors series (which I still think is pretty great) and the House of Night series (I really would have to say that Twilight is better written).


Why I loved it:

  • Talking cats
  • Talking warrior cats!!!
  • The relationship between the cats and the different clans
  • The names are cute (I gave my cat a nickname based on them for a short while)

Why I can’t love it anymore

I’ll go ahead and tell you straight up that I still reread the first book in this series every now and then and they still make me happy because I remember how much I used to love them. But now that I’m older the dialogue tags really drive me crazy.  I really enjoy the descriptions in Into the Wild, as well as the others from what I can remember, there tends to be a great mix of action and description that never fails to keep me interested. The dialogue is a different story and it’s become a bit of a deal breaker for me. It’s like the authors who write the series sat down together and decided that “said” is a dirty word that should be avoided at all costs.

“No, Redtail. Thunderclan will never be beaten!” Tigerclaw yowled back, leaping to Redtail’s side.

The gray cat dipped her head in greeting. “How is Mousefur?” she meowed.

I don’t even want to count the number of times “meowed” is used as a dialogue tag. If it was an occasional thing it wouldn’t bother me at all but its constant enough that it prevents me from having any real interest in getting back into reading this series. It doesn’t seem like it really bothers anyone else all that much, but I actually like it when authors use “said” as the default and other dialogue tags on occasion. It makes it feel more professional and real. That being said if you haven’t already read it I still would highly suggest it because the characters are very likeable and the world itself is very interesting.

30183Why I loved it:

  • Vampire school
  • Cool tattoos and magic powers
  • ???

Why I don’t like it anymore

I think the only reason why I liked this so much when I first read it is because I was young and when you’re young you sometimes want to be the most special. The main character is the “most special” and I would like to have some of her abilities, but looking back she has too many. Even from the book’s description this becomes a bit too obvious, for starters she “learns that she is no average fledgling” andShe has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess Nyx and has affinities for all five elements: Air, Fire Water, Earth and Spirit.” Once I went back and actually reread this book a few years back I remembered that this was only the tip of the iceberg. Before she even goes to the school she receives a special mark from the goddess that they aren’t supposed to receive until they’re older, all of the boys I can remember thought she was nothing short of amazing and she becomes even more special throughout the series (saying too much more about that would be kinda spoilery so I won’t go there). Basically she can do no wrong and the entire plot seems based around showing off her skills. By itself that might not have actually made me hate the book, but I have problems with the writing as well. Other reviews have expressed doubts that the authors are familiar with teenagers and I have to mirror those thoughts here. They don’t talk like teenagers, the main character doesn’t think like a teenager and they have much more drama then I ever experienced in high school. You start to get a feel for this by the end of the first page so I’ll just leave a snippet of it here for your consideration (and for me to be mad at when I look at it later). It’s not a better love story than Twilight.

“Just when I thought my day couldn’t get any worse I saw the dead guy standing next to my locker. Kayla was talking nonstop in her usual K-babble, and she didn’t even notice him. At first. Actually, now that I think about it, no one else noticed him until he spoke, which is, tragically, more evidence of my freakish inability to fit in.”

I’m tempted to go back and read it again but if you’re looking for a good YA vampire novel I recommend skipping this one and reading something else instead. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black is one of my personal favorites though it doesn’t have the same magic elements as this one.



Getting Excited About Spinning Silver

This news is a little bit older by now, but I’m super hyped about Naomi Novik’s upcoming novel Spinning Silver. It’s inspired by Rumpelstiltskin and is supposed to come out July 10th of this year. Her previous fairy-tale inspired novel, Uprooted, was an instant favorite of mine and I can’t recommend it enough. Not to mention just look at these covers!!!


“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.



Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.


I’m planning on reading her other series Temeraire sometime this year too so if you’ve read it I’d love to know what you think of it! Rather than a fairy-tale retelling its an alternate history series with dragons (my ultimate weakness). You can check out the first one, His Majesty’s Dragon, here on Goodreads

You can read an excerpt of the new novel here on the Verge! Let me know what you think! I’ve read it and I’m already quite obsessed.




Sweetness and Lightning by Gido Amagakure

28459313Title: Sweetness and Lightning

Author: Gido Amagakure

Published: January 6th, 2016

Rating: 3/5 stars


Having lost his wife, math teacher Kouhei Inuzuka is doing his best to raise his young daughter Tsumugi as a single father. He’s pretty bad at cooking and doesn’t have a huge appetite to begin with, but chance brings his little family and one of his students, Kotori Iida, together for homemade adventures. With those three cooks in the kitchen, it’s no wonder this dinner table drama is so delicious.


I’m very new to reading manga, especially manga that doesn’t involve magic, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going into this. I picked it up because I have heard things about the series as both an anime and in book form, but unfortunately it didn’t particularly draw me in.

So far, having only read the first volume, this series isn’t a plot driven one. Instead it has an intense focus on the relationship of the three main characters, Tsumugi, her father Kouhei Inuzuka and his student Kotori Iida. They are all fairly strong characters with distinct and interesting personalities, but in my case their relationship alone was not enough to completely hold my interest even along with the experiences with cooking that they shared.

Tsumugi is cute, sweet, and has other traits typically found in little girl characters. However, she has a bit more depth than I was expecting because she is still processing the loss of her mother. Kouhei Inuzuka, the girl’s father, who is also still struggling to deal with her mother’s death mostly focuses on doing what is best for his daughter as best as he knows how. This is the part of the reason that the characters fall into cooking together in the first place, because he wants her to be able to eat good food. Their relationship is very realistic as well as cute, Tsumugi is not always perfect and he is a good father to her even when she struggles. For this alone, I may continue reading the series. However, I was not as fond of the third character Kotori. She is also a realistic character, dealing with several struggles but she felt much less unique and next to the father daughter relationship I found myself much less interested in her story.


The author also included recipes at the end of each chapter corresponding with the things the characters cooked which I found to be a very cute and interesting touch. If not for the relationship between the father and daughter, I may have considered reading more of the series just to see how the story lined up with the recipes. With that being said, it’s definitely not one of my favorite books even if the characters are very endearing.


Do you read manga? What did you think of this book or others like it?

Goldfisch by Nana Yaa

Title: Goldfisch

Author: Nana Yaa

Published: January 16th 2018

Rating: 4.5/5 stars



Goldfisch has some similarities to other shonen manga I’ve read and anime I’ve watched but that does not make it any less creative or interesting. I wasn’t really sure if I would like it at first because the first chapter jumped into things pretty quickly and I wasn’t sure if I would like the character’s personalities, but that feeling wore off very quickly.

The main character Morrey Gibbs is a very sweet kid who still seems a bit new in his King Midas everything-I-touch-turns-into-gold situation which is not working out in his favor for multiple different reasons ranging from not being able to feed himself or dress himself without his otter friends help to aspects of the story that are very spoilery in nature. I really appreciated his role as the protagonist because he is very innocent, regrets the mistakes he makes and actively works to fix them. I also really loved his reasoning behind wanting to get rid of his Midas’s touch and how he isn’t completely driven, as some adventure driven manga are, by wanting to be the best or achieve his goals solely for himself. His character developed itself very well even in just the first volume and I already feel like I know who he is as a person pretty well. With that being said, he isn’t the smartest character and makes some mistakes and poor choices that could have been easily avoided.

I also really liked most of the other characters.  Shelly is the only one I didn’t really care for because she seems to care less about Morrey as a person and a kid than she does about what he can do for her research when they first met. She did grow on me quite a lot by the end though she still isn’t my favorite type of character in general and can be kind of judgemental.

Without giving too much away regarding the plot, Morrey is being chased by a very shady group of bounty hunters because they think he has something they want, largely because of his Midas’s touch. I think that all of the different plot points are tying together very well too especially some of the mystery surrounding his father and his brother which both seem like they’ll shape up to be very important even beyond what has already been shown. Apart from Shelly there wasn’t anything I particularly disliked about it and I am very much looking forward to reading the next volume when it’s published in English!


5 Great Webcomics

I don’t know how many of you read webcomics, but I completely adore them! Once you’re caught up on a series the new pages don’t take long to read so they’re great if you’re waiting for class to start or commuting somewhere. I love the illustrations too! Please note that none of these are finished yet. 

1. Spectra Spell by Lisa Harald

This is a very new comic so I can’t say much about it at this point, but I already love it. However one of the main characters is autistic and the other is a transgirl so I’m excited if only for that. There’s also quite a few strange things happening, including magic weird weather and strange creatures. The art is also very cute and professional in appearance. I hope that some of you try this one because I’d love to hear what you think of it!!! I love the others on the list as well of course but this one has quite a bit more diversity than the others which gives it an extra boost!

You can read it here

2. Rise From the Ashes by Madeleine Rosca

Winter is a ghost with an intense devotion to the house she haunts. Her house becomes damaged and she falls under the control of an organization called the Red Crows who control and use ghosts. She’s an interesting character with no real desire to help or stay with the Crows, just wanting to return to her house. There is also some mystery surrounding her past and what kind of person she was when she was alive, which I am very excited to find out!

Updates on Wednesdays

Read it on Webtoons

3. The Bane of the East by Martlas/jesterland

This one’s about witches and magic, which for me was an immediate draw. The main character, Belladona, is the daughter of a witch that was widely hated by everyone who struggles to perform magic herself.

This one doesn’t have as well defined of an update schedule as Rise From the Ashes but I still love it.

Read it on Webtoons

4. Monster Pulse by Magnolia Porter

Monster Pulse has lots of interesting characters. The main two are Bina and Julie, two kids who have one of their body parts transformed into a monster that continues working as the original body part did and protects them from harm. They become endangered by a shady organization that caused the monsters in the first place and do their best to keep their monsters secret and themselves safe from the organization, along with several other characters. It’s a very cute story and I enjoy the relationships that the monsters have with their humans and each other. I’m not caught up with it at the moment but if you’re interested there’s quite a bit to read (It was started in May of 2011 and most recently updated this Jan 18, 2018). The art and anatomy also evolves and gets better as the story progresses and I looking back at the beginning and seeing how it has improved.

Find it here

5. The Pigeon Gazette by Pigeoneer Jane

Unlike the other comics I’ve mentioned, this one is not story based so it’s very easy to read quickly. The author is very funny and all of the different panels are very unique and entertaining.

Read it on Tapas


Also check out Sarah’s Scribbles. It’s not one of the 5 because I think it’s quite a bit more well known than the others (at this point it’s won Goodreads Choice awards twice) with and you can also purchase it in print form.

25855506 30754980 35924705

Heartless by Marissa Meyer


Title: Heartless

Author: Marissa Meyer

Published: November 8th 2016

Rating: 2.5-3/5 stars (I still can’t decide!)


Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.


This was a weird book for me, because I’m still not completely sure what I actually think of it. The synopsis makes it sound like it could go really well or really badly especially the “she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love” bit, which I was a bit wary of. And it kinda did go both ways, at least a lot more than I’m used to, because there were so many things that drove me crazy about it but I still enjoyed it at the same time (though not enough to distract at all from the things I disliked).

When the story starts Catherine is nothing like the Red Queen we’re used to, apart from her love of tarts, but I still didn’t think she was a good person. I glanced at a few reviews when I was thinking about reading it and it seems that the general conscious is that she’s a very sweet and innocent girl with no hint of what she is to become, so I’m in the minority there. She has a wonderful relationship with one of her servants, Mary Ann, and wants to start up a bakery with her, but she doesn’t really have any other good relationships with anyone else. We’re introduced to another one of her friends, who isn’t really a friend, pretty early on into the novel and one of the first things she does is call her “unbearably attractive” and talk about how she doesn’t like her personality. There a few other instances of this, but for some reason they didn’t immediately turn me off to her. I was interested in her flaws because I thought they might contribute to her acting like the Red Queen we’re all familiar with, but they became too much for me fairly quickly. I struggled to find any truly positive traits in her apart from her skill in baking and occasional spouts of bravery. If anything she became more annoying further into the book and her relationship with Jest and I could never really like her all that much. Though at the same time, despite her selfishness and other negative traits I couldn’t bring myself to hate her because I was trying to figure out how she would become the cruel Red Queen the entire time and it wasn’t that hard for me to see some of her behavior becoming more intense and cruel.

Also I mentioned her baking as a positive trait, but it was actually something that liked me less. She talked about how she was the best baker constant and had overwhelming confidence in her skills, never losing faith in them for a second. I got tired of hearing this pretty fast, but then, to add insult to injury, she began criticizing everyone else’s cooking that she tried. Even if this was somewhat deserved in certain cases I wished she hadn’t been so obvious about it and had calmed down a bit about her love of her own baking. It was something that was necessary to the story, but I think it could have been approached in a better way and helped it to seem more like the positive trait it was supposed to be.

For all of her flaws I had trouble seeing why she was so well liked by the male population. There are only two people who are really vying for her affections but a third who had much less page time also seemed implied from how he insisted he hated her so often and then got kinda flustered when she was brought up (I’m really not sure here?). I don’t understand why they would like her so much? The King seems to be interested in her almost solely because he loves her baking, but I don’t get the impression that they’ve spent enough time together for him to really know her that well let alone to want her as his queen. I liked her relationship with Jest a lot more, they were actually fairly cute together, but it also seemed a little bit forced especially near the beginning. It was a major and weird case of insta-love where they both met once and gained an intense attraction for each other immediately without much reason. I think Cath was interested him partially because of his powers and also because of a weird never really explained dream she had. In Jest’s case I have no idea where the attraction came from. But that’s not to say that I disliked their relationship altogether.

Jest was incredibly sweet to her and had some interesting magical powers that kept me interested in his character. I didn’t really like the way that Catherine treated him or the king though. She would have sweet moments with Jest while at the same time being aware of how the King of Hearts felt about her. As is the case with many books with multiple characters going after the main character it began to feel like she was leading them both on, especially since she was not shy about expressing her lack of interest in the King but neglected to give any indication of this to him. I wasn’t actually particularly fond of the King himself, but I felt bad for him not knowing how she actually felt.

What I really really liked about this book was how things started to get tied together in the later chapters, a large part of why I’m having trouble giving this a definite rating. The majority of the rest of the book didn’t really feel like it had all that much going on in comparison, and was rather slow for me (like the first 70-75% probably). This is also where Cath displayed some more character development, which didn’t change at all for most of the rest of the book, which was really nice to see because it was part of the reason why I wanted to read it in the first place. Though I must admit, it didn’t seem that realistic of a change/development and I felt like there could have been more of a building up of reasons for it. The ending did come across as a bit rushed and I probably would have liked it a bit more if some of the elements and plot points surrounding the last parts of the book were explored in a bit more detail earlier on (even if I did guess one of the more major twists fairly on). I also think that there were some things in that first section that weren’t really necessary and could have been cut out entirely. Overall I did end up enjoying it and I’m interested to see if the author decides to write any short stories or such because there are some characters and other element of the story that I would love to learn more about!
Also, if you’re looking for more Alice and Wonderland retellings, I would recommend Splintered by A.G Howard and I’d love to hear about any others you’ve enjoyed too.

Birth Year Reading Challenge

I’ve never actually attempted a reading challenge outside of the yearly reading challenges so I’m really excited for this one, hosted by J.G. @ Hotchpot Cafe!!!

I’ll be reading books from my birth year 1998, so I did a bit of searching around Goodreads and found some on my TBR and elsewhere that I’m really excited about. I might have to change some of them around depending on availability and such, if I didn’t use the library I would already be completely broke by this point.

1.Stardust by Neil Gaiman

2. Wolf Tower by Tanith Lee

3. Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card

4. The Squire’s Tale by Gerald Morris

5. Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

6. Hellsing, Vol. 01 by Kohta Hirano

7. The Hedge Knight by George R.R. Martin

8. Skellig by David Almond

9. The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett

I’m Back! Also Brief Book Recommendations for Younger Readers

I’ve been inactive for quite a while longer than I ever intended! Partially because I started college a while back and got busy with classes and such. I’m determined to change that, so I’ll be posting once again very soon. Nice to see you all again! In the meantime here are a few books that I really enjoyed when I was younger. Since I’m quite a bit older than I was when I read most of these, I find it very interesting to consider how my taste in books has evolved and stayed the same.


1195044Title: Swordbird

Author: Nancy Yi Fan

Published: February 1st, 2007

Rating: 4/5 stars


The blue jays and cardinals of Stone-Run Forest have turned against each other. According to legend, only Swordbird, son of the Great Spirit, has the power to conquer evil and restore peace to the land. But is he real or just a myth? Can Swordbird arrive in time to save the forest . . . or will it be too late?

Twelve-year-old author Nancy Yi Fan has woven a captivating tale about the birds of Stone-Run Forest and the heroism, courage, and resourcefulness in their quest for peace.

Why I liked it:

I can’t say that I remember everything about this book, but I do remember that it really inspired me. The author was only 12 when she wrote it so it made me feel encouraged to also continue writing. I think that all young writers should consider checking it out, especially if they like birds and adventure. Beyond that I loved the interactions of the birds and their quest all felt very engaging, and they were written with an undeniable passion. I can’t say for sure that I would love it as much now, but I think back on it fondly and plan to read it again at some point.


769483Title: Magyk

Author: Angie Sage

Published: May 11th, 2005

Rating: 5/5 stars


The first part of an enthralling new series leads readers on a fantastic journey filled with quirky characters, clever charms, potions and spells. Ages 9+.

The 7th son of the 7th son, aptly named Septimus Heap, is stolen the night he is born by a midwife who pronounces him dead. That same night, the baby’s father, Silas Heap, comes across a bundle in the snow containing a newborn girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take this helpless newborn into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son, Septimus?

The first part of this enthralling new series leads readers on a fantastic journey filled with quirky characters, clever charms, potions and spells, and a yearning to uncover the mystery at the heart of this story…who is Septimus Heap?

Angie Sage writes in the tradition of great British storytellers. Her inventive fantasy is filled with humor and heart: Magyk will have readers laughing and begging for more.

Why I liked it:

I loved the magic in this and I loved Septimus. The development of the plot and the characters kept a firm hold on me during the few years that it took me to read up to Syren (book 5 of 7) which is where I stopped. Even now I am still interested to see what will happen to the characters in the last two books, so this is another series that I will probably pick up again eventually paying no mind to its status as a middle grade book.


159069Title: A Wrinkle in Time

Author: Madeleine L’engle

Published: 1962

Rating: 4/5 stars


It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract”.

Meg’s father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

Why I liked it:

I’m sure that most people have heard of this one because its going to be a movie soon, but I already love it in its original form, though I do plan to watch it and it looks much much better than the 2003 adaptation (IMBD). The characters in this book are all quite wonderful. Meg is a likeable protagonist and her interactions with her love interest are very sweet and innocent. I really rooted for them to get together. Meg’s love for her younger brother Charles Wallace was also very sweet, and I adored their relationship even more than Meg and Calvin’s, which is saying a lot because I find that sibling relationships can easily seem forced or overdone, if their relationship is healthy at all. Aside from the relationships of the main characters I also loved the world building and the twists at the end. This is a middle grade book that adults and middle grade readers can both enjoy.