Category Archives: Pretty Covers

Book Review: The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters

Amulet Books
TBP: April 16, 2019
368 Pages

Seventeen-year-old Edgar Poe counts down the days until he can escape his foster family—the wealthy Allans of Richmond, Virginia. He hungers for his upcoming life as a student at the prestigious new university, almost as much as he longs to marry his beloved Elmira Royster.

However, on the brink of his departure, all his plans go awry when a macabre Muse named Lenore appears to him. Muses are frightful creatures that lead Artists down a path of ruin and disgrace, and no respectable person could possibly understand or accept them. But Lenore steps out of the shadows with one request: “Let them see me!”-Goodreads

Let’s take a moment to admire this beautiful cover.  It is so far one of the best covers for 2019 ( and we are only in January).

This book is considered a retelling. And I believe the retelling is of Edgar Allan Poe and how/why he dipped into poetry when he did and of course his most famous poem The Raven. 

This book although not written in verse is poetry. The words are drawn out and written in a way as if they were poems. This proved to be an issue for me because it stretched the book out way longer than it needed to be.

Creativity was no lacking in this book. Poe’s muse Lenore proved to be just as creepy as some of Poe’s stories. And at one point I felt bad for her but then just like Poe, she did not listen to anyone and proceeded to insert herself into a world that did not want her.

The thing about Lenore is her presence was unwelcome because of how she looked and every time she opened her mouth. She cared for nothing but the poetry, which fed her and it took way too long for her to actually care about Poe. I loved reading Lenore’s point of view. She was the essence of the book because Poe was an annoying 17 year old boy who wanted the perks of an adult but didn’t want to be an adult.

I wanted to like this book. Edgar Allan Poe helped define my initial love of reading but this made me look at Poe as more of a brat than a talented author that preferred the dark side.

The book would have been better if it was written in verse. The way it was written, you can tell the author put a lot of thought and care into each sentence. It was beautiful but for a chapter book, not enough was actually going on and it didn’t leave a lot of anything for me to feel invested in the overall story.

However, I did complete it and it was an alright story. I strongly believe it would have been better if it was written as verse.

2 Pickles

Cover Reveal: Whispers of Shadow & Flame by L. Penelope

IT.IS.HERE!

Finally. The cover reveal for Whispers of Shadow & Flame.  If you don’t know what I am taking about Whispers of Shadow & Flame is the second book to Song of Blood & Stone, which is the first book to the Earthsinger Chronicles and also named one of Time’s magazine top 10 fantasy books in 2018.

If you didn’t read the first book, check out my review for it here.

Also after you finished the first book, read the 1.5 called Breath of Dust & Dawn. It is such a good filler when you are waiting for book two.

So are you ready? Because here it is!

Isn’t it beautiful!

Image result for EXCITEMENT heart eyes gif

But I am sure you want to know more about the book since you’ve seen the cover right? :)

Born with a deadly magic she cannot control, Kyara is forced to become an assassin. Known as the Poison Flame, she is notorious and lethal, but secretly seeks freedom from both her untamed power and the blood spell that commands her. She is tasked with capturing the notorious rebel known as the Shadowfox, but everything changes when she learns her target’s true identity.

Darvyn ol-Tahlyro may be the most powerful Earthsinger in generations, but guilt over those he couldn’t save tortures him daily. He isn’t sure he can trust the mysterious young woman who claims to need his help, but when he discovers Kyara can unlock the secrets of his past, he can’t stay away.

As forbidden desire ignites their hearts, Kyara and Darvyn grapple with betrayal, old promises, and older prophecies — all while trying to stop a war. And when a new threat emerges, the cost of their love might just be too high.- Goodreads

Beyond the fact that this series is a must read, L. Penelope is such a great person. I had the pleasure of doing a QA with her. You can read it here. And I also highly recommend you connect with her.

Twitter| Instagram| Goodreads| Youtube

Oh one more thing!

L. Penelope is giving away a signed, hardcover copy of Song of Blood & Stone.

International welcome!

Enter the giveaway!

With that being said, guys read this series. Pre-order Whispers of Shadow & Flame and purchase the paperback of Song of Blood & Stone; you won’t regret it ^_^

Book Review: Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz & Renée Watson

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published Jan 2018
256 Pages

In Detroit, 1945, eleven-year-old Betty’s house doesn’t quite feel like home. She believes her mother loves her, but she can’t shake the feeling that her mother doesn’t want her. Church helps those worries fade, if only for a little while. The singing, the preaching, the speeches from guest activists like Paul Robeson and Thurgood Marshall stir African Americans in her community to stand up for their rights.

Betty quickly finds confidence and purpose in volunteering for the Housewives League, an organization that supports black-owned businesses. Soon, the American civil rights icon we now know as Dr. Betty Shabazz is born. – Goodreads

I gave this book 5 Pickles and yes I normally give the rating at the end but this will be a short review as this read was perfect for anyone that wants to know more about Dr. Betty Shabazz.

Firstly, while reading this book not only do you learn about Dr. Betty and the struggles she went through as a child but you find out information about the African Americans and their struggle internal struggle. What I mean by internal struggle is African Americans have a huge huge spending power. The Housewives League went around the neighborhood to get people to commit to spending their money at Black owned businesses. The issue back then was Blacked owned businesses charged more than white owned business.

This exact ties into today. Granted due to online stores and cutting the middle man, Black businesses are on a rise but that is only for certain products. Brick and mortar stories are important and due to various reasons they are scarce within Black communities.

As much as I loved this book as it showed me more about who Dr. Betty Shabazz was as an individual and not just as Malcolm X’s wife, I wanted to know more about The Housewives League. I wanted to know more about what was done to unite Black communities outside of becoming desegregated from their white counterparts.

When the book begins it is at a turning point in Dr. Betty Shabazz’s life. It makes a whole lot of sense why it begins where it does as well as where it finishes. I want to know more about this woman and this book was a great starting point.

Again,

5 Pickles 

 

2019 Cover Love

Although it is still early in 2019, I am falling over the covers of these soon to be released books.

Beyond the fact that these books look gorgeous and will look absolutely stunning on my bookshelf, they sound fantastic.

My hype for these books are real ^_^

 

 

Book Review: Want by Cindy Pon

Simon Pulse
June 13th 2007
336 Pages

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother, who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is or destroying his own heart?- Goodreads 

It took me some time to get into this book even though it was surprisingly short (short as in less than 20 chapters). I wasn’t getting sucked into the story, which was disappointing at first. But when Jason actually gets to work, I was like alright this could be a solid book.

I liked Jason and I loved the internal conflict he was experiencing. He was struggling with doing what is right and how to complete the mission without catching feelings. Its a classic battle but it was written really well. Jason is a likable character, despite the overall slow moving plot.

What I liked most about the book was the literature references. Jason proves how smart he is by being able to hold a conversation and show off his intelligence without actually trying to belittle people. He is very conscious of how he is viewed, no matter when he didn’t have any money to when he had money to blow.

Jin Corp which is the villain of the novel and for me they weren’t as evil enough. Their role in the novel was basic as in they kill people for $ and on principle. They do not care about the little people and will do anything to stay on top. True classic villain and I am not even made at it.

However, there was predictability within this book. The author tries to add shock value for certain things but it was stating the obvious because you saw it coming when the story began.

What I wanted more from the book was a bit more backstory on Jason’s team. They made a lot of things possible and I don’t think there was as much credit as they deserved. I felt that their voice could have been stronger, especially since the book itself was a bit slow.

I will give the author credit for that ending. It made me want to read book two. There is a thrill I feel that book two will have that this book did not and that is what I am looking forward to.

Overall,

3 Pickles

Year of The Asian Reading Challenge

Text: YEAR OF THE ASIAN, A 2019 READING CHALLENGE. Hosted by C.W., Lily, Shealea, and Vicky. Image is of Xiaolong the pink axolotl wearing an upside down purple flower hat eating a bowl of rice.
Image from CW @ The Quiet Pond

This year I am participating in the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge. Its a great way, at least for me, to read different styles of writing. I have a tendency of getting stuck in a specific genre to writing style and then wonder why I didn’t hit those amazing books and got stuck with more 2 stars (and below) than 3s and ups.

So anyway I saw this challenge on twitter but then couldn’t find the post. I then found it on The Quiet Pond’s blog. And my excitement to participate increase. List below is a direct quote from her post:

divider cobra

GUIDELINES

The aim of this challenge is to read as many books written by Asian authors as you can! These books can be backlist titles (i.e. released in 2018 or earlier), new releases, and ARCs. We welcome books of any genre, any format, and any length. Check out the levels we have made for this challenge (I drew them too!) and set your sights on a level you want to achieve.

In order for a book to count, you must start and finish it within 2019; the challenge will end on the 31st of December of this year. (This means that books started in 2018 and finished in 2019 do not count!) Likewise, any books started in 2019 and finished in 2020 do not count either.

We want this to be a relaxing and, above all else, fun challenge, so you can join in at any time in the year! The sign-up form will remain open until 2019 ends.

Follow us on Twitter (@YearOfTheAsian) for announcements, surprises, and more bookish fun. The official hashtag for this reading challenge is #YARC2019.

divider tiger

So here are my goals for books written by Asian authors for 2019: 

Indian cobra: 11 to 20 books read

More than likely, there will be others as I find them but this is my 2019 goal :) Are you planning on participating? If so, you can find more details here. Also I would love to know what you will be reading, please share ^_^

 

Peace & Blessing,

Tanya P.

Book Review: War of the Wilted (Garden of Thorns, #2) by Amber Mitchell

Entangled Teen Published Oct. 1, 2018 360 Pages

Rose will not rest until the Gardener is dead. But there are bigger battles to fight, and Rayce—leader of the rebellion and the only man Rose has ever loved—believes their best chance at winning the war is to join forces with her sworn enemy.

Saving innocent people is more important than her quest for revenge. But their new ally can’t be trusted—and he knows her darkest secret. One betrayal could leave the war and Rayce’s life hanging in the balance, and Rose will need to make the ultimate sacrifice to save them all.– Goodreads

I absolutely loved the first book. Something about Rose made me like her despite her lack of personality. In book two, things were different.

The author adds more to Rose. Although the fighting is still a huge part of her, revenge is what keeps her going. She isn’t short of drive but she is short of confidence, smarts and a voice. What I mean by voice is , Rose whines a lot. And purposely goes behind Rayce’s back, just to act surprise that he is hurt and upset at her when he finds out. She feels that she can have her cake and eat too and when it doesn’t work in her favor she’s a lost puppy. Unfortunately, Rose got annoying face.

But here is what I enjoyed about this book. There isn’t fluff when you start. You jump right back into the thick of things as if we didn’t wait months for book two. The beginning was strong and it held a lot of promise. This is not to say that the book was not enjoyable because it was. I loved that the author choose to focus on a battle within more than the outside battle. It made Rose and Rayce stronger. Their back and forth made a lot of sense throughout the book; It had to be one of the most realistic relationships in this type of setting I have seen a while.  Rose expected something from Rayce that she didn’t earn and I respected the fact that he was very honest not only with his feelings for her but his duty as leader of the rebellion.

However, I wanted more fightings and sneaking. I wanted Rose to be way more bad ass than she was along with those that pledge their loyalty to her. I wanted a bit more romance other than Rose talking in her head because Rayce was made at her most of the time. Also it would have been fantastic if there was more secrets. I wanted a thrill from the book and didn’t quite get.

Overall,

Not better than book one but not a bad second book.

3 Pickles 

Book Review: The Lantern’s Ember by Colleen Houck

Delacorte Press
TBP: Sept. 11, 2018
416 Pages

Five hundred years ago, Jack made a deal with the devil. It’s difficult for him to remember much about his mortal days. So, he focuses on fulfilling his sentence as a Lantern—one of the watchmen who guard the portals to the Otherworld, a realm crawling with every nightmarish creature imaginable. Jack has spent centuries jumping from town to town, ensuring that nary a mortal—or not-so-mortal—soul slips past him. That is, until he meets beautiful Ember O’Dare.

Seventeen, stubborn, and a natural-born witch, Ember feels a strong pull to the Otherworld. Undeterred by Jack’s warnings, she crosses into the forbidden plane with the help of a mysterious and debonair vampire—and the chase through a dazzling, dangerous world is on. Jack must do everything in his power to get Ember back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos. -Goodreads

Amazing Cover? 

Vampires? Witches? Devil? 

Romance? 

Save the World from complete doom? 

This book has some promising points and it starts off really well; especially around chapter 3. But what started going down hill for me was when Ember started talking. Not only was her voice extremely annoying but she asked the wrong questions all the time.

She was a newbie witch that was pretty much self-taught but you won’t think that when she meets Jack, she would try to learn. But nope. It also bugged me out how, Jack protected her and watched her for years but she still felt that he shouldn’t have been completely trusted. I was a bit weary of that and that is mostly because he never gave her the impression that he was lying. Granted he had a kind of mysterious vibe but she trusted people that she has known less than 5 minutes. So I was bugged out about that.

But beyond Ember, I felt that the book wasn’t as creepy as thought it would be. I mean given the cover, the nightmare references as well as the setting in the Otherworld, I wanted to be shook to some degree, especially when there are Sleepy Hollow and Hades and Persephone references. I don’t feel that the book delivered in this aspect.

However, the overall plot was strong. There is a lot of detail in the setting and the pace. You fall in love with the surround characters and even though Ember becomes less annoying I personally still did not like her and fell more for everyone else.

Ember’s and Jack’s romance wasn’t too bad if you get past the fact that Jack has been watching her since she was 12 (I believe) and he is old. I thought it was cute and fitting as it was Jack’s first time actually wanting someone and something more than just his job. He became something better and more honest going through the emotions for Ember.

I thought this was a good standalone (yes it is not a series). It has some strong foundations but I wanted more from horror aspect of it and the mythology could have been upped more as well.

Overall,

3 Pickles

The Minis

These Precious Scars by Emily Suvada is the background information you didn’t know you needed until you read it. Listed as the 0.5 to the This Mortal Coil series it provides a quick story about how the kids came to be who we know and love. Does it add to the overall story? Not really. But it fills the time; not only the “I need a quick read in between reads” but the time in between books. Because This Cruel Design doesn’t release until the end of the month (October 30th).

3 Pickles

Capture by Beverly Jenkins was a random Kindle buy and it was because the author tweeted about this book on #nationalpriateday. I fell in love with the cover first and then with the summary. ” . . . a stunning young slave and a roguish privateer share forbidden passion on the high seas. (-goodreads).” The book itself was much more than I had hoped for. The history was rich and the author was able to dig deep into it without dragging the story.  Also there was a hopefulness and a need to look into the history of Black priates and just to see who, what, when and where. I fell in love with this book and although it is the third book to a series, it feels like a complete standalone.

4 Pickles

Legacy by Necole Ryse is like but unlike the stories you read where the kid who grew up without a silver spoon in their mouth gets sent to a elite school. The biggest difference is its an all Black Ivy League school. So you know I am here for this. What is great about this book is the mystery that pulls everything together. I didn’t care for Raevyn Jones, the MC, but everything else around her strengthen the story. Althought I wasn’t too invested in this book to contiune the series, it is a solid read.

3 Pickles

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab reminded me of A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano, which is such a good book that I am mildly upset the author didn’t make this into a series. But because I saw similaries with these two books, City of Ghost didn’t hit that paranormal spot for me. Yes, this is a middle school book and I have zero issue with this. I enjoy books for middle schoolers just as I enjoy books for young adult. So the intended age range did not bother me. I see why people love Ms. Schwab writing so much but I didn’t within this book. Between the MC talking in her head and a mind reading ghost responding as if she is talking almost every other sentence, it just wasn’t for me. However, it is a solid read that I can see many people enjoying. But if you liked this book, then you’ll love A Curious Tale of the In-Between.

2.5 Pickles

[YAY for mini reviews] <3