Sunday, November 10, 2019

NaNoWriMo 2019: Day 9

Words Written: 4260

Song: Chandelier by The Wind and The Wave

Lunch was going to be a disaster. I could tell the moment I walked in and there was a blood on the floor.

NaNoWriMo 2019: Day 10

Words Written: 2904

Song: Dance For Me Wallis by Abel Korzeniowski and Don't Believe the Things They Tell You (They Lie) by Tegan and Sara

I looked at my fallen queen. Then I lifted her up and began to reset the board. Elias’s hands lay in his lap, his eyes following mine and I put everyone back where they started.

“Another?” I asked. Elias said nothing but he nodded. He lifted a hand. “No.” I said and he froze. “This time, I make the first move.”



NaNoWriMo 2019: Day 8

Words Written: 2055

Song: Familiar by Nils Frahm

When he was cold, I wanted to run. But when he smiled, I so desperately wanted to touch his lips, the slight wrinkles at the corner of his eyes. To prove to myself that despite the fact that his blood ran purple, he was still alive. I flushed at the thought.

NaNoWriMo 2019: Day 7

Words Written: 2037

Song: Kingdom Underground by Matt Duke

He peered down at me and I wasn’t sure what to think with his face this relaxed. It almost seemed more dangerous than when he had no emotion at all. “When you decide to go to war, what’s the first thing you should do?”

I looked up at him. “Pick a weapon.”

NaNoWriMo 2019: Day 6

Words Written: 1773

Song: Gold by Wake Owl

So this is what this competition was. A battle of pain and power and cruelty. How did the scales work, I wondered. What did it take to win? What was left if you lost?

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

NaNoWriMo 2019: Day 5

Words Written: 2402

Song: Born Ready by Zayde Wolf

Why had he been nothing but cordial, when he was now in a battle with his siblings for the throne. Why had they all looked at him, when we’d arrived at the palace, as if sizing up his choice? As if he, until I’d arrived, had been the biggest contender.

What did that mean?

NaNoWriMo 2019: Day 4

Words Written: 1698

Song: Seisouso from Quidam by Cirque du Soleil

As I grew older I imagined how it would feel if he held my hand. If instead of a ribbon he caressed my hair. What it would be like if we were to kiss.

And now, with Elias’s lips pressed against mine, I knew it was the thing of dreams and nightmares.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

NaNoWriMo 2019: Day 3

Words Written: 3109

Song: I Did Something Bad by Taylor Swift

Thirty years ago was the war between the Fair Ones, a battle of blood and magic between the queen and her most trusted general. It began with a poisonous snake in the bedchamber of the queen’s oldest daughter, and it finished with her body speared on one of the spires of the palace, pushed from the tallest window. And in between was a war between those loyal to the old queen and those loyal to the general, and blood colored red and purple.






NaNoWriMo 2019: Day 2


Words Written: 905

Song: Dark Side by Bishop Briggs

“Excuse me.” The ground hadn’t moved under my feet but it might as well have. It took all my strength to stay upright, to not sway at the sound of a voice I hadn’t heard in years. I looked to my left.

“Elias.” I said, though I didn’t really make a sound.


Friday, November 1, 2019

NaNoWriMo 2019: Day 1

It's that time of year again!

Also hi, hello, it's been a while.

Check in here for NaNoWriMo Updates!

This year's project is...*drumroll* STRONG ARE THE WICKED. Some of you might recognize this name but for those of you who don't it includes dark magic, fae like creatures, and three sisters. The Selection meets The Cruel Prince.

SpoooOOoOooOooooky.

Words Written today: 2956

Song: Precious Things by Tori Amos

"Sometimes I’d try and assign each sound an instrument. My footfalls were a drum, the wind a flute, the trees groaning the low sound of a standing bass, a behemoth of a string instrument that made the floor rumble.

I liked to think that Wicked sang it just for me. It didn’t give me magic, but it gave me something arguably more beautiful."

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Finale by Stephanie Carber - Review

Welcome, welcome to Finale, the third and final book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Caraval series!

Welcome, welcome to Caraval...all games must come to an end.

It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.

Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancĂ©, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finaly, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win...and those who will lose everything. . .

-------------------- Amazon, B&N, Goodreads ---------------------

I absolutely fell in love with Caraval when it released. It was a sleeper - I mostly picked it up because the author is local to where I grew up (holla Roseville!) and it became one of my favorite books of the year. When it was announced that there would be a third book in the series, I was elated! 

Finale begins shorty after Legendary ends. Scarlett is my favorite character, so I was happy to have the book split between Tella and Scarlett's stories as each try and do everything they can to stop magic from wreaking havoc in their world. Legend and Julian are now co-stars in this story and I appreciate how each compliment Scarlett and Tella in different ways. The real winner here, though, is Stephanie's amazing writing. Lyrical and magical and mysterious, I love the way the story is told and the world is described and how Scarlett and Tella interact with the world in different ways. It may be because I've had the chance to hear Stephanie talk about her inspiration and such, but I think that the things at the heart of the series - sisterhood, family, identity, facing your fears - are evident during key moments in the story. 

The world has expanded greatly from the first book, and even the second. The lore and magic are interesting and related to the magic from the caraval that started it all but there were moments when I got a little lost. I missed the whole charade aspect from the first two books - the magic was closer to more traditional fantasies, in my opinion, than the feelings I got from the first two books, the 'is it real or all just an illusion' type. I think that the book stands well on it's own, but it's a great departure from the original story. That being said, I'm glad that Stephanie had the chance to wrap things up and finish it the way that she wanted, and the conclusion was satisfactory, if not a little predictable. 

Overall I really enjoyed Finale. It was different than I was imagining, but stands strong on it's own in the series. Tella and Scarlett's determination and fearlessness in the face of overwhelming forces propel the story forward and make for a magical, adventurous tale. 
Find out more about the author here: http://stephaniegarberauthor.com

Stephanie Garber is the #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author of Caraval, Legendary, and Finale. She grew up in Northern California, where she was often compared to Anne Shirley, Jo March, and other fictional characters with wild imaginations and stubborn streaks. You can find her on Twitter and on Instagram.

Happy Reading!
Jasmine


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan - Review & Excerpt!


A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

---------------------------- Amazon, B&N, Goodreads -------------------------------

If you don't want to read my kind of long and ramble-y review, skip to the bottom for an excerpt!

My Thoughts

I am so happy to be a part of the Wicked Saints Blog Tour! Thanks for stopping by! 

Just to start off, I have to say that this book has literally everything I love in a fantasy. An incredibly developed world, an interesting and nuanced magic system, complex and lovable characters. And even then, there was so much more about this book that I loved, like the push and pull between faith and choice, between believing in yourself and believing in others, and that people are often more than they appear. 

In many ways this world will remind readers of Leigh Bardugo's Grisha series, particularly in the Russian influences and social structure. However, Emily Duncan's world is completely unique, filled with monstrous humans and misguided princes, a temperamental pantheon of gods and magic forged by blood. I found the tensions between the characters and people the most interesting - one ruled by a complete trust in the gods and the other strengthened by the idea of being able to forge one's own destiny. And more importantly, people on either side who work together and believe that maybe, just maybe, there is room for all of them. 

Nadya's sarcasm is balanced by her loyalty not only to the gods that only she can talk to but also her friends. I loved seeing her grow as her way of life was challenged by outside forces after she must flee the convent in which she grew up. The mysterious Malachiasz and the people she meets on her journey change the way she sees the world as much as she changes their perspective, and the conversations around why people do the things they do were a joy to read. Though on opposing sides, seeing the world from both Nadya and the warrior prince Serefin's points-of-view felt like watching two trains racing towards each other, waiting to see what would happen when they collided. People are so much more than they appear in this book, for better and for worse, and following all of them on the beginning of this adventure was a treat. 

There's a lot more I could gush about but I think you probably get it by now. Wicked Saints was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. Even beyond all the tropes I love, the writing is haunting and atmospheric, the characters believable and flawed, and the world and magic enchanting. I cannot wait for the next installment! 
Thank you Wednesday Books for including me in the tour! 

And now, for the excerpt! 



Learn more about Emily here: http://glitzandshadows.tumblr.com 
(Also follow her on Twitter! @glitzandshadows)

EMILY A. DUNCAN works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.

Happy Reading!

Jasmine


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Archangel's Prophecy by Nalini Singh - Review

Return to New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s darkly passionate Guild Hunter world, where human-turned-angel Elena Deveraux, consort to Archangel Raphael, is thrust center stage into an eons-old prophecy....

Midnight and dawn, Elena’s wings are unique among angelkind…and now they’re failing. The first mortal to be turned into an immortal in angelic memory, she’s regressing. Becoming more and more human. Easier to hurt. Easier to kill.

Elena and Raphael must unearth the reason for the regression before it’s too late and Elena falls out of the sky. Yet even as they fight a furious battle for Elena’s very survival, violent forces are gathering in New York and across the world.

In China, the Archangel Favashi is showing the first signs of madness. In New York, a mysterious sinkhole filled with lava swallows a man whole. In Africa, torrential monsoon rains flood rolling deserts. And in Elena’s mind whispers a haunting voice that isn’t her own.

This time, survival may not be possible…not even for the consort of an archangel.

--------------------- Amazon, B&N, Goodreads --------------------

In case any of you didn't know, the Guild Hunter series is one of my favorite series of all time. I love Elena and Raphael and their motley crew of sassy, dangerous, attractive cohorts. The world is one of the best urban fantasy worlds I've read (and I can relate now that I live in New York!). I can't rave about this series enough and Archangel's Prophecy didn't disappoint. 

One of the best parts of this series is Nalini's ability to make each book its own supernatural murder mystery while also tying in threads to much larger storylines. In this book, Elena and Raphael must prepare for a war with an unknown, powerful enemy, while also dealing with whatever might be happening to Elena. I was left with more questions than answers as even more angelic and supernatural powers are revealed in this book, but it only made me more ravenous for the next installment. I really like how after the first couple books Elena and Raphael's relationship is established and steady - and it makes this book heart-wrenching and filled with tension. 

I do think that in some ways it felt like this book was a lead-up to the next one. It ends on a cliffhanger (warning!) and while there is a solid thread that comes to a head at the end, the questions concerning the Ancients, the Legion, and Elena's place as a mortal made Angel are all poised to be addressed in the next installment. 

Overall I was not disappointed by Archangel's Prophecy, though it left me trying not to scream at 2 AM once I finished it. It's filled with everything reader's have come to love about the series, with more and more secrets and developments to the world that will keep them coming back for more. If you haven't read these books, I highly recommend you start! The first book is Archangel's Blood. 
Find out more about the author here: https://nalinisingh.com

Nalini Singh is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling, Guild Hunter, and Rock Kiss series. She lives and works in beautiful New Zealand, and is passionate about writing.

If you’d like to explore her other books, you can find lots of excerpts and free short stories on her website. Slave to Sensation is the first book in the Psy-Changeling series, while Angels’ Blood is the first book in the Guild Hunter series. The Rock Kiss books are all stand alone and can be read in any order.

Happy Reading! 

Jasmine 


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Books I'm Excited For in 2019 - March

March 5, 2019

38739550

29749094

39875158

March 12, 2019

35707080

March 19, 2019

40556417

39863312

30189974

March 26, 2019

40944082


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

I'm Alive! And a question??

Have I said that before? Probably. Sorry?

Anyway, I'm back! I want to get back into writing updates, reviews, and maybe a few other things thrown in. Inconsistently, probably, because let's be real, that's kind of part of my brand by now *shrug emoji*.

I was also thinking of maybe starting a series or posting here and there about my getting into the publishing industry? What classes I took, how to interview, what it's like, etc? Let me know if anyone would be interested! I know that when I was trying to look into it, I might have benefited from a blog that has some real-talk about how it all works (spoiler: it's kind of wild). Let me know!

Posts will start going back up starting next Tuesday!

Happy Reading!

Jasmine