Blog Tour: Night of the Dragon (Shadow of the Fox #3) by Julie Kagawa

Hello, my lovely book friends. I hope you are all doing well in these troubled times. I hope you are safe and healthy.

As we are all aware, the world is suffering through a pandemic at the moment and many of us have been asked to shelter in place in order to help stop the spread of this virus.

Because of this, many schools  and workplaces have closed. Additionally, a lot of events that a great many people were looking forward to have been cancelled.

In the book world, author tours have been cancelled, along with bigger events such as NoVaTeen and Book Con either being rescheduled or called off entirely.

One thing we can all count on however, is new books being released on Tuesdays. Oh, how I love Tuesdays!!!

This coming Tuesday, March 31, 2020, my most anticipated YA book of the year is set to be released: Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa!!!

Night of the Dragon is the third and final book in the Shadow of the Fox series, a Japanese-inspired fantasy series that literally stole my heart when I first picked it up last year.

From the very first chapter of the first book, Shadow of the Fox, I was hooked. Kagawa’s writing style is so pleasing, the lush world, the cleverly crafted characters, all of it combined to be a recipe for an absolutely engrossing tale!

At this point you may be thinking, yes, this sounds great, but what is it about?

In the land of Iwagoto, the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, has the power to bring forth the Kami Dragon.

The dragon is capable of granting the summoner a single wish. If they are pure of heart, theoretically, all is well, if they are not, all hell will break loose.

In order to protect the land, the scroll was divided and the separate parts hidden away to prevent such disastrous consequences from happening, as it had in the past.

People are always searching for the parts, however, as combining them again could grant the summoner unrivaled power.

Yumeko, has been raised in the Silent Winds Temple where one piece of the scroll has been hidden away. When the Temple is attacked by demons, Yumeko is forced to flee, with the scroll.

She promises the monks she will transport it to another temple, where she will then receive further directions. Trained her whole life to hide her Yokai nature, half kitsune, half human, Yumeko is a master of illusion and mischief which obviously aides her in her travels.

Some clarification if you are new to Japanese Fantasy, a Yokai is a type of supernatural being in Japanese folklore. A kitsune, is one type of Yokai, a fox spirit that frequently appears in such folklore.

In the past couple of years, I have read a few different books with kitsune main characters and I feel it is a very fun perspective to read from!

On the run, Yumeko meets up with Kage Tatsumi, a samurai of the mysterious Shadow Clan.

Tatsumi has been sent out in search of the scroll. He finds Yumeko close by the now destroyed temple and promises to get her to her destination safely. Of course, he has no idea, she actually carries what he seeks.

They meet up with another character along the way, Okame, a ronin, basically a traveling samurai without a master. He begins to travel with them and quickly became my favorite character. A source of almost constant humor, I just cannot imagine this story without him!

In addition to the lush world and fantastic characters, this triology also has one of my most loved tropes in literature: A QUEST. A ragtag group of characters trying to get from Point A to Point B, overcoming obstacles along the way, nothing keeps me turning pages faster.

At its heart, this is a fantastic quest story.

The stakes, the secrets, the magic, the world, I think you can tell I fell head-over-heels for it all. And don’t even get me started on the hella SLOW-BURNING romance!

The second book in the series, Soul of the Sword, continues directly on from the events of the first book, doing what it should: upping the stakes and continuing to build out the complexity of the world.

Another way I like to describe this entire story, if you aren’t sold already, is anime come to life. The atmosphere and tone of this is so dynamic, it leaps off the page and into your minds-eye so clearly. It’s honestly tremendous.

I am currently halfway through the final book. Honestly, I am taking my time with it. I don’t want it to end!!!

So far, this story, again, has continued to build, I know the final scenes are going to be epic. Kagawa has such a beautiful way of showing you the world. I have never felt confused. In fact, I am completely immersed. When I am reading it, the rest of the world could stop and I wouldn’t even notice.

During this difficult time, if you need a way to escape, something to immerse yourself in to forget life for a while, I cannot recommend this series strongly enough.

Now is the perfect time to get lost with Yumeko and Tatsumi, to go on that adventure and maybe save the world. Who knows?

I want to thank the publisher, Inkyard Press, for blessing me with an early copy of this book. I am thoroughly enjoying it and plan to finish it later today. Make sure you check back in for my full review. Also, if you have read these books, let me know your thoughts in the comments below or contact me through any of my social media links.

Where ever you are and what ever you are doing, I hope you are doing it in good health and happiness. Love you all!

Cheers & happy reading!

 

 

 

Review: Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia

Tuesday Mooney Talks to GhostsTuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tuesday Mooney, a 30-something researcher, living in Boston is about to have the adventure of a lifetime following the clues on a dead billionaire’s treasure hunt.

She is just the sort of character I love, independent, funny, smart, quirky and a bit of a loner; I was happy to go along for the ride.

Full of hilarious hijinks and engrossing twists and turns, this story grabbed me by the heart and never let up. I was a big fan of Racculia’s work going in and it certainly didn’t disappoint!

Every page is full of intelligent writing and witty banter, I am seriously addicted to her style. I could absolutely see myself reading this story again. There was a great cast of side characters that brought humor and depth.

The setting of the city of Boston, a place where I have lived, made it even more exciting. Tie in the fact that she kept mentioning my hometown of Nantucket, felt like I was reading about a friend or neighbor!

As always, Racculia weaves some fairly serious topics into her otherwise humorous narrative. There is an examination of grief, guilt, the loss of a friend, loss of a family member, loss of a job, questioning of self-worth, intimacy, adult friendships and the presence of an afterlife, to name a few.

I think she always handles such topics with grace. It was all really well done here.

If you are looking for a fun, fast-paced, fantastical adult novel, you should definitely give this one a try. If you do and you enjoy it, be sure to check out Bellweather Rhapsody as well!

Finally, thank you to my friend, Tucker, for sending me his copy. I will cherish it forever!!

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Review: American Predator by Maureen Callahan

American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st CenturyAmerican Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century by Maureen Callahan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Meg’s advice for October:

Read.
This.
Book.

Me upon completion:

You want to feel this way in Spooktober, don’t you???
Quite honestly, this was by far the most disturbing book I read all month.

American Predator is a nonfiction account of the capture and subsequent investigation of serial killer, Israel Keyes. Fortunately for the reader, this is much more than a droll portrayal of one monster’s heinous crimes. This is a compelling recounting of the investigation of his case, beginning with his final kill and going backward through time.

I thought this was a clever formatting choice by the author. It made the story seem more like you were part of the investigation versus starting at the beginning of his life and moving forward that way.

Reading about Israel was completely disturbing for me. Here was a man, a contemporary of mine, born in the same year, and to walk through his crimes was shocking. The fact that he traveled extensively in the state where I was living at the time was the icing on the cake.

His level of arrogance yet ability to plan and to leave no evidence was bone-chilling. He used his knowledge of surveillance and technology to constantly fly under the radar. One would think his arrogance could possibly make him slip up but it never really did until the final case when it seems things were beginning to unravel a bit.

Making the case even more disturbing was the seemingly random selection of his victims. There’s so much more but I don’t want to give anything away.

In short, read this book.

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Review: Nyxia Uprising (Nyxia Triad #3) by Scott Reintgen

Nyxia Uprising (The Nyxia Triad, #3)Nyxia Uprising by Scott Reintgen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

MY BABIES!!!!

My sweet babies. From desperate kids to intergalactic space pirates. I love you all so much.

Guys, this action-packed YA scifi series is soooooo underrated. I loved each and every one of these books. It’s just the perfect series of events.

You watch these kids grow, from the earlier competitors that they were, to the strong and fearless young adults they become and it seriously added 10-years to my life.

As this is the third book in the triad, I won’t say too much on the plot, but I can scream from the rooftops that this was such a satisfying conclusion.

During the course of the series, you will become really attached to these characters. They are diverse, well written, each with their own distinctive voice…

That’s it. I am done. I’m not sure how much more gushing I can handle in one day.

I am so happy I made time for this. Finally! It has taken me way too long. I definitely plan to read this series again someday, back-to-back. I had forgotten some details in between Book 2 and this one so I would love to get a full immersive experience of bingeing them.

If you like YA scifi, if you like competition tropes, if you like found families, do yourself a favor and check this series out.

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Review: The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

The Escape RoomThe Escape Room by Megan Goldin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Being summoned last minute to participate in a ‘team building exercise’ is not how Vincent, Jules, Sylvie or Sam saw their Friday night going. Unfortunately, participation is mandatory so they all dutifully arrive on time at a remote office building in a shady part of town. Greeting in the lobby, they enter the elevator together for the ride up to one of the top floors.

The express elevator ascends quickly and then abruptly stops. The lights go out and the heat cranks up. Suddenly, the team comes to the realization that this is their exercise. An Escape Room challenge where the competitive coworkers will have to put petty rivalries aside and work together in order to solve the clues needed for them to be released.

As dark secrets of the team are revealed, viciously pitting them against one another, they find themselves removed from their normal boardroom backstabbing and thrust into a definitive game of survival.

Megan Goldin’s thrilling debut, set in the world of high stakes Wall Street finance is incredibly ruthless, and that’s sort of my brand. I absolutely flew through this story. I could not put it down!

Following dual perspectives between our cast of characters in the elevator and flashbacks to a mysterious former team member, Sara Hall, the plotting of this is absolutely brilliant. It kept me engaged and guessing the entire way.

At its heart, a complex revenge thriller, this stoked my Slytherin heart, as I stan a character with the dedication to strategize a long game. If you don’t know what I mean by this, pick up this book. This is the epitome of a painstakingly planned ‘long game’.

I had so much fun reading this and it is now definitely one of my favorite books of the year. I recommend it to anyone who likes a solid, unique thriller. If this is what Goldin puts out for her debut, I cannot wait to what she comes up with next. You know I will be buying it and devouring it as soon as its released!

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and of course, love discovering ambitious new authors to obsess over.

This one is out now, my friends, be sure to pick up your copy and see if you can solve The Escape Room!!!

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Review: Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox #2) by Julie Kagawa

Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox, #2)Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s so good.
This story is soooooooo good!

That’s a lot of ooooooo’s but seriously…

I am absolute trash for this series.
Bring on Book 3!!!

I read Shadow of the Fox at the beginning of the year and it quickly stood out as a new favorite. I was drawn into the Empire of Iwagoto and now I never want to leave!

This second book continues directly after the final events of the first book. We find Yumeko and her crew on the road to the Steel Feather temple in the hopes of protecting the last pieces of the Dragon Scroll. Y’all know a quest is one of my all-time favorite tropes.

The team of characters setting forth on this mission together makes this story for me. Their personalities play off one another so well. It seriously makes me want to be a part of the group. I don’t care how outright scary and dangerous it gets!

While I wasn’t quite as smitten with this installment as I was with the first book, it is still definitely worth all five stars in my eyes. As second books go, this one upped the stakes of the quest and left off in an exceptionally intriguing part of the story.

I’m not really quite sure how I will hold off until March 2020 for Book 3. I need more Yumeko, Okame, Tatsumi and friends NOW!

It’s almost unfair of Kagawa to do this to us. How dare you write such perfection?!

I would love to shout from the rooftops how much I love this series but that could get embarrassing. For now, I will be content with recommending the heck out of it to all my YA Fantasy-reading friends.

Also, legit anime come to life. The atmosphere and tone of this is so dynamic, it leaps off the page and into your minds-eye so clearly. It’s honestly tremendous.

I want to thank the publisher, Inkyard Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. It was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it certainly did not disappoint. If you are sleeping on this series, wake up, pick it up and join me in a fangirling!

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FAVORITES: Dracula Appreciation Post!!!

DraculaDracula by Bram Stoker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A true masterpiece.

Believe it or not, I am still considering how to best write a ‘review’ for this, one of my favorite novels of all time.

I annotated this most recent time reading, in the hopes that it would help when it came to composing my final thoughts.

What I am really struggling with is the idea of little ole’ me ‘reviewing’ a masterpiece.

I guess my goal is more to compel people to read this amazing piece of world literature as opposed to providing a critique of Stoker’s work. Let me think on this a while longer. In the meantime, have a gander at this The Lost Boys gif — a movie greatly inspired by Dracula:

Review or not, I am so happy to have reread this for the 3rd time. Dracula is a book I will continue to reread periodically for the rest of my life.

If you haven’t read this yet, please give it a go, it may surprise you. You may think you know this story…

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Q1 2019: Best Books

The first quarter of 2019 has come and gone. Thus far this year, I have completed 55 books. This is amazing to me. I cannot even believe it! I am 26 books ahead of schedule to meet my Goodreads 2019 Reading Goal.

In addition to the sheer number, I have also been amazed by the quality of books I have been reading. I have given a lot of 5-star reviews so far this year. I am not sure if this is luck or if perhaps I know better what I like since I am reading so much and am just selecting better for myself. Who knows? Regardless, I have been very pleased with the outcome.

Some standouts for me during the first quarter (completed between January 1st and March 31st) are the following:

  1. An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen – This was actually the first book I completed this year and I was so impressed. What a great way to kick off a reading year. This is a fast-pace and suspenseful Adult Thriller examining what happens when the line between doctor and patient blurs. Highly recommend for Thriller Readers!
  2. Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King  This short-story collection by the King was published in 2010 and is comprised of four stories, three of which have been adapted into Netflix movies. I was blown away by how much I loved this set as a whole. All four of these were 4.5-to-5 stars which is a rarity, in my opinion, among short-story collections. King knocks another one out of the park!
  3. Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage – This Adult Horror/Thriller novel uses the old ‘evil child’ trope to tell a wickedly delightful and horrifying tale. Man, I loved this. Hooked from the very first chapter, I absolutely flew through this one! For fans of The Omen and The Orphan horror movies but really, any horror fan should give this one a try!
  4. They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera – Set in a future world where you are told when you have 24-hours left to live, this story follows two boys who make a friendship on that last day and teach each other how to live. I laughed, I cried, I loved. This book. My heart. That is all.
  5. One Day in December by Josie SilverThis Adult Romance novel is the shock of the year for me. As you may know if you follow me, I’m not really a romance reader or a romantic person in general. I picked this book from my TBR jar and am infinitely glad that I did! This was funny and well-paced. It was messy and real and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It reminded me a lot of Bridget Jones Diary (the movies, I haven’t read the books) and I am so down for that ‘type’ of romance. I would definitely recommend this to any Adult reader; particularly if you cherish good humor in your books.
  6. The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley – This Adult Mystery/Thriller had all the plot points of a classic Christie work but wrapped with a nice, big modern bow. The characters were unlikable, the setting was brilliant, the whodunit was compelling and I was guessing right up to the very end. This book played on one of my favorite tropes, the ‘locked room’ mystery trope and I am here for that all day and all night. Definitely recommend for Mystery fans who do not need to ‘like’ their characters.

That’s it, guys. Those are my favorites for Q1. What are some of your favorites from the first part of the year? Tell me about them in the comments below or you can contact me through any of my social media.

For more information on any of the books I talk about in this post, just click the book covers pictured above!

Cheers & Happy Reading!

xo

Review: Daughter of Moloka’i by Alan Brennert

Daughter of Moloka'i (Moloka'i, #2)Daughter of Moloka’i by Alan Brennert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One moment while I put the pieces of my heart back together…

Daughter of Moloka’i is a follow-up novel to Brennert’s 2004 Book Club sensation, Moloka’i. This is a sequel I never knew I needed, until I did.
After reading it, I cannot imagine not knowing the conclusion to Rachel’s story.

This book.
I have never cried so much while reading a book.
Ever.

It never let up. That may sound like a negative, but it was cathartic, man.

This story follows, Ruth, the girl that Rachel was forced to give up for adoption just hours after she was born. We start with Ruth’s life in a Home For Girls and follow her all the way through into her adulthood. Moving from Hawaii to California with her adoptive Japanese family, Ruth, lives through some challenging times, including her family’s incarceration in a Japanese Interment Camp following the events at Pearl Harbor.

As with other disgraceful pieces of history, this type of atrocious event is not one you find often in modern fiction. I knew these interment camps existed but reading about it from Ruth’s perspective was heart-wrenching. To consider the types of injustices that were suffered upon so many innocent people, it was hard. I applaud Brennert for his research efforts which were evident.

I was asked a while back if you had to read the first book in order to read this one. While I believe that you can read this as a stand-alone, your reading experience can only be enhanced by reading Moloka’i first. Add to this the fact that Moloka’i stands strong as one of the most beautiful books I have ever read, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

If you like sweeping historical fiction that explores what it means to live and the strength of family, both blood and found, this is a duology you do not want to miss. While it broke my heart a million times, I am grateful to have read it.

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. Also, thank you to Alan Brennert for writing such a remarkable story. I will be thinking about Rachel and Ruth for years to come.

Original:

I wanted this ARC sooooo much!

This is the companion novel to Alan Brennert’s 2004 novel, Moloka’i which follows Rachel Kalama, a young Hawaiian girl who is separated from her family and sent to live in a leprosy colony.

This novel follows Rachel’s daughter, Ruth, who as a baby was taken from her care.

Mokoka’i is one of the most beautiful and moving historical fiction novels I have EVER read and I am absolutely beside myself that we are getting a second book in this ‘world’. If it is anything like this first one, I am in for a very special treat! Yayeeeeeeee!!!!

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Review: They Both Die in the End by Adam Silvera

They Both Die at the EndThey Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I may never be the same again!

What would you do if you were told your life would end within the next 24-hours?

A lot of us may say, spend as much time with our loved ones as we could, right?

But what if they were inaccessible or unavailable to you? What then?

You wouldn’t want to stay inside would you?
Curled up with your books…
Okay, maybe YOU would and maybe I would but most people would want to go out there, live life, have experiences…but with who?

For Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio these are very real questions. The day, September 5th, and they both have received their Death-Cast alerts. They will both die within the next 24-hours. Due to circumstances I will not go into here, they do not have loved ones to spend their last day with.

Through the use of a cleverly imagined social app called, Last Friend, they connect with one another. So begins the last adventure of their lives.

To say this book gutted me would be an understatement.

Once I started down the path of Ruf and Mateo’s journey, I could think of nothing else. I read this, via audio and hardcover, within the course of 24-hours which seemed fitting, considering the subject matter. Upon completion, I immediately added it to my ‘favorites’ shelf, an act I do not take lightly.

The emotions that Silvera is able to draw out – He is a master.

Who would I recommend this to? Anyone who has a heart and wants to read about what it means to LIVE.
All the stars.

Original: Book #4 for Contemporary-A-Thon!!!

Why did I save this one for last?
Basically, I think I will enjoy this one the most but I also KNOW it will crush me.

Pray for me.

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