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Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi review

The Gilded Wolves
Title:  The Gilded Wolves
Series: The Gilded Wolves, book 1
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Where to purchase: Amazon
Print Length: 464 pages
Publication Date: January 15th, 2019
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Edition: paperback advance readers edition
Genre: fantasy, young adult

Synopsis:

Set in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure.

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can't yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they'll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

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Main Characters

➽ Séverin Montagnet-Alarie- Biracial (Algerian & French). disinherited Heir to House Vanth. Owner of hotel L'Eden
➽ Laila -
Indian, dancer aka L'Enigme,  forging ability to touch any object and read it's history
➽ Tristan -
Séverin's foster brother, has a pet tarantula, Goliath. forging ability with plants. Renowned gardener/botanist.
➽ Zofia -
(Polish) has issues socializing and is a very literal person, prefers mathematics. magical forging abilities of matter, mostly metals and crystals but loves fire. 
➽ Hypnos -
(son of a slave and aristocrat) Patriarch of House Nyx, just wants to be friends
➽ Enrique -
Biracial (Filipino & Spanish) historian

Art by Nicole Deal

Plot

The Order of Babel is a group that formed after the biblical story when God destroyed the Tower of Babel in Genesis and scattered fragments that have magical 'forging' abilities. There are two types of Forging affinities: mind and matter. To forge is to reshape creation and the Order safeguards the ability. There are 4 houses (Kore- represented by thorns, Nyx- by crescent moon, Vanth- represented by a snake biting its own tail/thought to be deceased, and The Fallen- disbanded/erased represented by a six pointed star) in France that each have a ring with magical abilities held by the head Matriarch/Patriarch. The 2 remaining houses keep the babel piece hidden and safeguarded.

The book starts off with  Severin, who had previously been disinherited as Patriarch of House Vanth, on a quest to get his house artifacts back and to reclaim his title. Severin and his magical forging crew steal an ancient compass from House Nyx but get caught. Hypnos, the Patriarch of House Nyx, promised to restore House Vance if they steal a different artifact but plans go awry because there are unknown people seeking the same thing.


Setting

alternate/magical Paris 1889

Theme

friendship and magic

What did I like about the book?

I loved the diverse characters. Zofia was my favorite because she was so literal. There was a part that had me seriously laughing so hard. I had to read the couple of sentences out loud because I was getting suspicious eye balls thrown in my direction.

Beauty is its own armor.

The magic in everything; friendships, artifacts, myths, and riddles. Symbolism and math played an important role in this book. God's math, the Fibonacci sequence, was pointed out several times. The Gilded Wolves is definitely not a religious book but God has his place. I loved the endless abilities offered by divine forging.

History and backstory was introduced in small doses that really progressed the book. The descriptions of the clothes and scents and food all made me vividly imagine the setting.

What did I not like about the book?

I don't like when titles don't make since.  Gilded makes me think there would be gold? Not like a Midas story or about stealing gold per se but something? AND there were no wolves, just a mask at the end...?

The romance- I did like the two characters that were denying/resisting attraction and another character's practice at flirtation... but for the most part I don't think it really did anything for the story at all.

Date Started/Finished : December 26th-30th 2018


Recommend? maybe

If you like light historical fantasy and magic you may like this book. It doesn't really have a historical feel and there are queer feelings so that may be a deterrent.
Rating: 4/*****
based off Goodreads' ratings: 4 stars – really liked it, really enjoyable

content rating system
PG-13 = Includes some f-words, religious profanities (such as "God d*mn", "Jesus Christ!" and other crude terms such as "*sshole", "d*ck", "sh*t") non-explicit sex scenes (no description of the sex act or private body parts), and violence.



I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Disclosure: This book was provided to me at no cost. Whether positive or negative, my blog review is my own and may differ from others opinions. This review is simply a compilation of my thoughts and opinions of this book.  If you have any questions, just post them and I'll be happy to answer as best as I can. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
**No monetary compensation was received for this review. Posts may contain affiliate or referral links. Thank you for your support!**

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Spiritual Vixen's Guide to an Unapologetic Life Review

The Spiritual Vixen's 
Guide to an Unapologetic Life
Title:  The Spiritual Vixen's Guide to an Unapologetic Life 
Author: Maureen Muldoon
Where to purchase: Amazon
Print Length: 232 pages
Publication Date: November 20, 2018
Publisher: She Writes Press
Edition: paperback
Genre: memoir, self help, spirituality 
BOOK LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon |  
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. All opinions are my own.  

Synopsis:

This story begins with an ending: the day Maureen Muldoon realized the devastating fact that her husband was having an affair—and leaving her for Miss Universe. Miss freaking Universe! How does this even happen?

An intimate examination of Muldoon’s unraveling in the face of this betrayal, A Spiritual Vixen’s Guide to An Unapologetic Life takes a fresh, funny and fearless look at loss, denial, anger, grace, and liberation. Muldoon reveals the strength that comes from facing one’s fears, the humor that arrives in the darkest hours, and the miracles that happen when you least expect them in this grand tapestry of tales from the dark side. Ultimately, with wit and wisdom, she walks herself out of hell in a pair of sexy stilettos and manages to do what the all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not: she puts herself back together. And in doing so, she comes to find more beauty and strength in the fractured places than anyone would have ever imagined.

Main Characters

  • Maureen Muldoon

Plot

The book is about the Author's personal journey after her unfaithful husband left her while learning to be a single working mother and finding the Divine in the world around her. I think a lot of women can relate to the story. Life happens, and it sucks, and we can't control anyone else. She went through a period of time where she made poor choices, grief can do that to you. She swore off men and focused on her career instead and raising her son. Thankfully she had a good friend to help her along the way and guide her in a positive direction.

Setting

Mostly spans about 1 year after the end of the author's marriage.

Do not worry. Worry is planning for something that you do not want. Plan for things to work out in your favor.

Theme

Overcoming

What did I like about the book?

POSITIVE MESSAGE:

“I’m good, beautiful, and holy. I have greatness with me. There is a light within me that cannot fail. Everything is for me. Nothing is against me. All is well.”


I didn’t realize how strong the spiritual message would be with this book. After the end of each chapter is a suggestion or tip to meditate and reflect on. Some of it seems like common sense but I think everyone needs to hear that sometimes. I'm going to make my teenage daughter read this book. She lacks self-confidence and feels strongly. Hopefully this book will validate a lot of the things I already tell her.

an Unapologetic Life is so honest and personal, like the author was talking to me, we were getting to know each other. It really made me miss a women's group I used to be part of when I lived in Fort Knox, PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel), because of the connection I felt. There was hurt, humor, and healing and NO SEX.

What did I not like about the book?

The cover makes the book fall into the NSFW (not safe for work) category, I've even seen it listed as porn, which suggests the content would be racy or raunchy neither which are true. It was marketed towards romance and erotica readers. The cover is EXTREMELY misleading and I think that may put a lot of people off from picking it up. The content is a woman overcoming her spouse's infidelity by reconnecting with herself and God by finding the Divine all around.

Date Started/Finished : December 16th-December 27th 2018


Recommend? YES

Its a light read
Rating: 4/*****
based off Goodreads' ratings: 4 stars – really liked it, really enjoyable

content rating system
PG-13 = Includes some f-words, religious profanities (such as "God d*mn", "Jesus Christ!" and other crude terms such as "*sshole", "d*ck", "sh*t") non-explicit sex scenes (no description of the sex act or private body parts)


I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Disclosure: This book was provided to me at no cost. Whether positive or negative, my blog review is my own and may differ from others opinions. This review is simply a compilation of my thoughts and opinions of this book.  If you have any questions, just post them and I'll be happy to answer as best as I can. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
**No monetary compensation was received for this review. Posts may contain affiliate or referral links. Thank you for your support!**

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Muse of Nightmares Review

Muse of Nightmares
Title:  Muse of Nightmares
Series: Strange the Dreamer duology, book 2
Author: Laini Taylor
Where to purchase: Amazon
Print Length: 514 pages
Publication Date: October 2nd, 2018
Edition: I listened to the audiobook version narrated by Steve West on Overdrive
Genre: fantasy, young adult
BOOK LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon |  

I purchased this book in the Dreams and Nightmares box by LitJoy. All opinions are my own.  

Synopsis:

Sarai has lived and breathed nightmares since she was six years old.

She believed she knew every horror and was beyond surprise.

She was wrong.

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice—save the woman he loves, or everyone else?—while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the Muse of Nightmares, has not yet discovered what she's capable of.

As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel's near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?



Main Characters

  1. Sarai- the Muse of Nightmares/ Goddess of Dreams. Sarai isn't ready to move on. She has a new relationship and finally can see another way to use her power. Her unique ability to see other's dreams and nightmares has given her insight into human emotions. Sarai wants to help others in their minds. As a ghost she learns she has restrictions she didn't have while living but she has several new skills she develops throughout the story.
  2. Minya- initial antagonist- her origin story. Super tense situation: vengeful Minya is the only thing keeping a dead Sarai tethered to ghost life and she has a list of demands. The author describes Minya SO WELL! I can simpathize with her and understand the burden of clinging to the past and being a protective mother-like figure to ungrateful children, trying to make the best out of a horrible situation. I have learned to love the 'bad guy'.
  3. Godspawn; Lazlo Strange, Sparrow, Feral, Ruby. They have a minor role in the story where they continue to grow and effect the plot as supporting characters.
  4. Eril-Fane (God-Slayer), Azareen (Eril Fane's wife), Suheyla (Eril Fane's mom): Still suffering from being prisoners of the Gods and the consequences of slaying the (almost) entire race in the Citadel they learn to move on from the past and stop judging everyone else that is different colored skin by the actions of a few.
  5. In Weep: Calixte, Tzara, Theon, Ruza; these relationships/supporting characters give insight on what is happening in town after the Citadel moved and they found out there are still Godspawn in the sky.
  6. Other story: Nova + Kora: sisters from a different place and time


Plot

Muse of Nightmares is a complex plot told from a few different perspectives about a couple stories that weave together to answer so many questions we had from Strange the Dreamer. Minya and Strange have a showdown over Sarai. Of course Lazlo, the cinnamon roll character that he is, caves to Minya's demands. Thankfully Minya is drugged and her back story is revealed with more clarity what life was like before the gods died and that fateful day she saved the children.

Good little girls don’t kill. They die.
And Minya was not a good little girl.

The alternate plot line of sisters: Nova and Kora

Theme

Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation
MAGIC

What did I like about the book?

  1. EVERYTHING! The magic, the characters, the relationships, the origin stories, the dialogue, the comic relief, all the feels, the answered questions, the quests, the mythology, the expanse of the world and ideas of so many other stories! HOW DO YOU EVEN EXPRESS THAT?!
  2. If I can't have a stand-alone, duology would be my second choice for length. 
  3. I know I mentioned characters in 'everything' but specifically the growth, nuances, love, bonds, and strength of everyone. Each character has a story that is their own world with love and loss, joy and other emotions, success and hardships. The minor characters pulled at my heartstrings just like the main ones.


What did I not like about the book?

The pacing was a little slow. The whole book happens in a very short time span with the characters generally wondering; 'what do we do now?'. I don't actually mind the slow pace because I got to really connect with the characters,  but I wouldn't mind a faster pace either (and SO MUCH HAPPENS which I know is the opposite of what I said- also not really bad/dislike).

Date Started/Finished : December 11th-15th, 2018


Recommend? YES!

Rating: 5/*****
based off Goodreads' ratings: 5 stars – it was amazing, highly recommend




About the Dreams and Nightmares box:


Dreams & Nightmares @litjoycrate unboxing 
🦋 Muse of Nightmares by @lainit 
🦋 Moth @babymybook book sleeve: Beautiful and full of monsters? All the best stories are.
🦋 lavender Goddess of Dreams sleep spray by @thesoaplibrarian
🦋 Lazlo & Sarai notebook by @sandrawintherart 
🦋 Enamel moth pin 
🦋 Citadel candle by @whiskeydiamondcandle 
🦋 mugging cake mix 
🦋 Charm bracelet
🦋 Lull tea by @adagioteas (tastes amazing!)
🦋 trading cards; Minya, Sarai, Lazlo, Nova, Kora


I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
**No monetary compensation was received for this review. Posts may contain affiliate or referral links. Thank you for your support!**