Saturday, December 3, 2016

Book Review: Forest of Ruin by Kelley Armstrong

Forest of Ruin
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Age of Legends (Book 3)
Publication: HarperCollins (April 5, 2016)

Description: Perfect for fans of Graceling and Game of Thrones, this is the breathtaking conclusion to the Age of Legends trilogy—from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong.

The empire rests on the edge of a knife, and sisters Ashyn and Moria are the handle and the blade. Desperate to outmaneuver the evil Alvar Kitsune, whose hold on the people grows stronger every day, Emperor Tatsu begs Moria to put aside past grievances and ally with Gavril—at least long enough to make an attempt on Alvar's life. Meanwhile, reunited with her long-lost grandfather, Ashyn discovers that she is the key to a ritual that could reawaken an ancient dragon and turn the tide of the coming battle in their favor.

But with lies and betrayal lurking around every corner, Ashyn and Moria will have to decide once and for all where their allegiances lie. And it may not be where their hearts would lead them. . . .

In this third and final book in her epic and enchanting trilogy, #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong blends fantasy, action, and romance to give readers the unforgettable ending they've been waiting for.

My Thoughts: This book concludes the Age of Legends trilogy. When the book begins, Ashyn and Moria are separated on each on dangerous missions. They are both trying to keep away from Alvar Kitsune and find a way to defeat him and his shadow armies.

Moria is traveling with Gavril Kitsune who is Alvar's son. They are still trying to get over events in the last book and Gavril has lost Moria's trust because of his actions. He struggles to deal with his father's treachery and feels guilt that he ever supported his father.

Ashyn is traveling with Ronan. She is the one who encounters a man who says he is her grandfather and who wants to use her to wake some sleeping dragons. The dragons are the emblem of the imperial family and a dragon could be seen as an omen from the gods that they favor the emperor over Alvar Kitsune in the upcoming war. Ronan is a casteless thief who wants to regain caste as a warrior.

When the characters along with the emperor's bastard son Tyrus reconnect, they do their part to end the revolt led by Alvar Kitsune but not before they face many dangers and many losses.

This is an engaging epic fantasy series with strong characters, both male and female, and lots of adventure. While there is romance too, it is not the happily ever after sort which seems most realistic for the premises of this story.

Favorite Quote:
"You make a hard choice, little Keeper."

"I make the only choice."

"There are always others."

"Then I make the only one I can."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Memes: Forest of Ruin by Kelley Armstrong

Happy Friday everybody!!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Beginning:
"You'll be coming back with me, Keeper."
Friday 56:
"He became the enemy," she said softly.
This week I am reading Forest of Ruin by Kelley Armstrong. It has been on my TBR mountain since April 5, 2016 which makes it a relative newcomer to TBR mountain. I chose it because I want to end the year by trying to finish some series that I have started. Here is the description from Amazon:
Perfect for fans of Graceling and Game of Thrones, this is the breathtaking conclusion to the Age of Legends trilogy—from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong.

The empire rests on the edge of a knife, and sisters Ashyn and Moria are the handle and the blade. Desperate to outmaneuver the evil Alvar Kitsune, whose hold on the people grows stronger every day, Emperor Tatsu begs Moria to put aside past grievances and ally with Gavril—at least long enough to make an attempt on Alvar's life. Meanwhile, reunited with her long-lost grandfather, Ashyn discovers that she is the key to a ritual that could reawaken an ancient dragon and turn the tide of the coming battle in their favor.

But with lies and betrayal lurking around every corner, Ashyn and Moria will have to decide once and for all where their allegiances lie. And it may not be where their hearts would lead them. . . .

In this third and final book in her epic and enchanting trilogy, #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong blends fantasy, action, and romance to give readers the unforgettable ending they've been waiting for.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Book Review: Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

Sinner
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publication: Scholastic Press (July 1, 2014)

Description: Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Series.

found.

Cole St. Clair has come to California for one reason: to get Isabel Culpeper back. She fled from his damaged, drained life, and damaged and drained it even more. He doesn't just want her. He needs her.

lost.

Isabel is trying to build herself a life in Los Angeles. It's not really working. She can play the game as well as all the other fakes. But what's the point? What is there to win?

sinner.

Cole and Isabel share a past that never seemed to have a future. They have the power to love each other and the power to tear each other apart. The only thing for certain is that they cannot let go.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this story because, after first meeting Cole and Isabel in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, I wanted to know more about them.

This was a wonderful story about two damaged people who have both the power to hurt and to save each other.

Cole is a famous rock star turned werewolf who spent a whole lot of time being very self-destructive. He is clean now and determined to stay that way. He has also found a way to live with his wolf and control the changes - mostly.

Isabel lost her brother when he tried to become a werewolf. She is the child of parents who are fighting and galloping toward divorce. She has tried to make herself unfeeling because feelings have hurt her so badly.

In this story, Isabel is the one in control. Cole needs her and is strong enough to say so. Isabel is so afraid of being hurt and starting something that will break her heart that she hurts Cole again and again as this story progresses.

I admired Cole's ability to try and try again to get the life he wants. I liked that he knew how to play the celebrity game but didn't let it become his whole life. 

I loved that the book was told from both Isabel and Cole's points of view in alternate chapters.

Favorite Quote:
I don't really like team sports unless I've invented both the team and the sport.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

State of the Stack (Dec. 1, 2016)

This is my monthly State of the Stack post. It is my way to keep track of my review books and to hopefully reduce the stack that I have waiting for me. I take a look at my review commitments on the last Monday of each month. Please feel free to join in and let me know the state of your stack.

Here is my Review Books Spreadsheet I list them in publication order and sort them by month. I can quickly see how many books I have for each date. Ideally, this keeps me from over-committing to review books. Check my spreadsheet to find out where I got each book.

I also do this post because sometimes (frequently) review books sit on my stack for a while before I read and review them. I try to read and review books within two weeks of publication date. Sometimes I can't, though, if too many books are releasing on the same date or if the book arrives too near its publication date and my calendar is already full.

I am very grateful to the authors and publishers who support my reading habit.

My Review Pile

Already Published
Legacy by Hannah Fielding (July 28, 2016)

January
The Golden Gate by Robert Buettner (Jan. 3)
You Don't Know My Name by Kristen Orlando (Jan. 10)
Beheld by Alex Flinn (Jan. 10)
The Ripper's Shadow by Laura Joh Rowland (Jan. 10)
Dead and Breakfast by Kate Kingsbury (Jan. 10)
A List of Cages by Robin Roe (Jan. 10)
The Cold Eye by Laura Anne Gilman (Jan. 10)
A Merciful Death by Kendra Elliot (Jan. 17)
Southern Gothic by Dale Wiley (Jan. 24)
By Your Side by Kasie West (Jan. 31)
Killing Jane by Stacy Green (Jan. 31)
  
February
The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom (Feb. 7)
Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan (Feb. 7)
A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong (Feb. 7)
Beauty and the Wiener by Casey Griffin (Feb. 7)
The Black Wolves of Boston by Wen Spencer (Feb. 7)
The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro (Feb. 14)
A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White (Feb. 14)
The Wish Granter by C. J. Redwine (Feb. 14)
Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas (Feb. 21)
I See You by Claire Mackintosh (Feb. 21)
Freedom's Slave by Heather Demetrios (Feb. 28)

March
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (March 7)
Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop (March 7)
Freya by Matthew Laurence (March 14)
Hunted by Meagan Spooner (March 14)
The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato (March 21)
 A Twist of the Knife by Becky Masterman (March 21)
The Cutaway by Christina Kovac (March 21)
100 Hours by Rachel Vincent (March 28)
April
Shadowcaster by Cinda Williams Chima (April 4)
Duels & Deception by Cindy Anstery (April 11)
Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer (April 11)
Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen (April 11)

June
The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May (June 13)

I Read This Month

These are listed in the order I read them. Links go to my reviews for all that have been posted already. Otherwise, the date the review is scheduled for is listed.
  1. Cat Got Your Diamonds by Julie Chase (Nov. 12)
  2. Belle Chasse by Suzanne Johnson (Nov. 10)
  3. Arena by Holly Jennings (Nov. 16)
  4. Gap Life by John Coy (Nov. 17) 
  5. Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst (Nov. 19) 
  6. Lone Wolf by Sara Driscoll (Nov. 23)
  7. The Girl in the Picture by Alexandra Monir (Nov. 24)
  8. The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James (Nov. 26)
  9. A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn (Jan. 12)
  10. At What Cost by James L'Etoile (Dec. 8)
  11. Time of Death by Lucy Kerr (Dec. 10)
  12. Forgotten City by Carrie Smith (Dec. 15)
  13. Ill Met by Murder by Elizabeth J. Duncan (Dec. 17) 
  14. Coffin Road by Peter May (Dec. 22) 
  15. The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee (Dec. 22)
  16. Midnight Obsession by Melinda Leigh (Dec. 29)
Read Previously, Reviews Posted This Month
  1. Living Spectres by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
  2. When She's Gone by Jane Palmer
  3. Shadow of Victory by David Weber
  4. Flashfall by Jenny Moyer
  5. When She's Gone by Jane Palmer
  6. The Whizbang Machine by Danielle A. Vann
  7. When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz
I Added These Books

These are listed in the order I received them. Links go to Amazon. Date published is listed in parentheses.
  1. Dead and Breakfast by Kate Kingsbury (Jan. 10)
  2. Ill Met by Murder by Elizabeth J. Duncan (Dec. 13)
  3. Midnight Obsession by Melinda Leigh (Jan. 3)
  4. A List of Cages by Robin Roe (Jan. 10) 
  5. A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong (Feb. 7)
  6. Killing Jane by Stacy Green (Jan. 31)
  7. Legacy by Hannah Fielding (July 28, 2016) 
  8. Southern Gothic by Dale Wiley (Jan. 24)
  9. Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop (March 7)
  10. A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn (Jan. 10)
  11. Beauty and the Wiener by Casey Griffin (Feb. 7)
  12. Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen (April 11)
  13. The Black Wolves of Boston by Wen Spencer (Feb. 7)
  14. The Cutaway by Christina Kovac (March 21) 
  15. The Cold Eye by Laura Anne Gilman (Jan. 10)
  16. A Merciful Death by Kendra Elliot (Jan. 17)
  17. The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May (June 13)
Next Month's Plan

I am trying really hard to rebuild my cushion. I just finished my last December review book. I am still adding lots of new review books to the stack though the ratio is tipping to more adult books than YA books right now. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

WoW: Eden West by Pete Hautman

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. She has a linky widget at her site each week for your post and to make it easy to find posts by other people.

The purpose of the meme is to spotlight books that we are eagerly anticipating. It is fun to take a look at what others are waiting for. I have noticed that it has expanded my wishlist though. Be warned!

Pete Hautman
Jan. 3, 2017 

Tackling faith, doubt, and transformation, National Book Award winner Pete Hautman explores a boy’s unraveling allegiance to an insular cult.

Twelve square miles of paradise, surrounded by an eight-foot-high chain-link fence: this is Nodd, the land of the Grace. It is all seventeen-year-old Jacob knows. Beyond the fence lies the World, a wicked, terrible place, doomed to destruction. When the Archangel Zerachiel descends from Heaven, only the Grace will be spared the horrors of the Apocalypse. But something is rotten in paradise. A wolf invades Nodd, slaughtering the Grace’s sheep. A new boy arrives from outside, and his scorn and disdain threaten to tarnish Jacob’s contentment. Then, while patrolling the borders of Nodd, Jacob meets Lynna, a girl from the adjoining ranch, who tempts him to sample the forbidden Worldly pleasures that lie beyond the fence. Jacob’s faith, his devotion, and his grip on reality are tested as his feelings for Lynna blossom into something greater and the End Days grow ever closer. Eden West is the story of two worlds, two hearts, the power of faith, and the resilience of the human spirit.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser:
Los Angeles. The first time I was here, a Yankee usurper, a bumbling almost-there, I snapped a photo of a Hollywood Boulevard street sign and sent it to my mother with a text: guess what i'm famous.

Now I actually was famous, though I didn't text my mother anymore.
This week I am reading Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater. I recently read the final book of the Wolves of Mercy Falls and wanted to know what happened to Cole. Here is the description from Amazon:
Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Series.

found.

Cole St. Clair has come to California for one reason: to get Isabel Culpeper back. She fled from his damaged, drained life, and damaged and drained it even more. He doesn't just want her. He needs her.

lost.

Isabel is trying to build herself a life in Los Angeles. It's not really working. She can play the game as well as all the other fakes. But what's the point? What is there to win?

sinner.

Cole and Isabel share a past that never seemed to have a future. They have the power to love each other and the power to tear each other apart. The only thing for certain is that they cannot let go.

Monday, November 28, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Nov. 28, 2016)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a meme begun by Sheila at Book Journey. Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts have given it a kidlit focus.

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

Other Than Reading...

Well, my Thanksgiving plans were derailed this week. After three years of remission, I had a Crohn's flare up. I spent 6 hours in the Emergency Room on Monday and then rested at home the rest of the week. I saw my gastroenterologist on Friday and have begun a course of steroids to try to put the disease into remission again. I have twelve weeks of the steroid and then more tests in March. If this treatment doesn't work, we'll have to reassess.

On the positive side, I got a lot of reading done both in waiting rooms and at home. This week I should finish my whole 2016 calendar since the books I'm planning to read will show up on my blogs late in December.

We finally had our first measurable snowfall this past week but warm temperatures have melted it away. Our ground is bare as I'm writing this. We are even expecting a couple of sunny days and warmer than average temperatures for the next few days. I am not a big fan of winter driving and appreciate any snow-free day we manage to have. Winter in Minnesota is long enough even without snow in November.

Read Last Week
Forest of Ruin by Kelley Armstrong completes a trilogy. I had a little trouble getting into this one since it has been quite a while since I read the first two books. I did like the way the series resolved. My review will be posted on Dec. 3.

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima was an entertaining contemporary fantasy with a male main character. I enjoyed it and will be reading the rest of the series eventually. Quite a few of them are already on my TBR mountain. My review will be posted on Dec. 8.

Boys That Bite by Mari Mancusi was an entertaining teenage vampire novel. The main character and narrator had a great teenage voice. My review will be posted on December 10.
Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes was also an entertaining paranormal story about a group of girls who get tattoos that let them battle an ancient evil. While the girls were stereotypes - the klutzy one, the nerdy one, the tomboy, and the fashionista - the story was engaging. My review will be posted on Dec. 15.

Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne was a paranormal story about werewolves hidden among us which happens to be one of my favorite tropes. Kayla, attempting to come to terms with the traumatic death of her parents when she was a child, discovers that they were werewolves and that she is one too. I thought it resolved too quickly and easily but can certainly see how YAs could enjoy the romance. My review will be posted on Dec. 17.

Currently
The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee is my only December review book. It is next up on my stack.

Next Week
I'm back to books from TBR mountain to finish out the year. These are hardcovers that will be donated to my Middle School/High School Media Center once I finish them.
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
I took advantage of a couple of Kindle Deals this week.

I haven't yet had a chance to read more than Divergent in the Divergent series but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get Four by Veronica Roth which will join Insurgent and Allegiant on my Kindle.

I also purchased The Distance Between Us by Kasie West since I enjoy a good contemporary romance every once in a while.

You can check Inside of a Dog (my other blog) to see what adult books I read, reviewed, and plan to read.