November 27, 2018

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Do You Procrastinate Writing Reviews?

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post on Rainy Day Ramblings, where the blog's owner Heidi discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog.
Here is what is on deck this week:


I bet you know the answer to this one 😄. I've been spending the last year and a half scheduling EVERYTHING that was supposed to go into my blog, so...
OF COURSE, I don't get many (digital) ARCs, so time is not really a factor for me. I can review most of my books when I please. But regardless, this year I even drafted two ARC reviews MONTHS ahead of pub dates...I want to have the book fresh in my mind when I write (that's why I reread even my old, should-know-by-heart-by-now books before I review them...).
Also, I've learnt that - just like any kind of writing - reviewing takes some discipline. Sometimes you don't feel "inspired", but once you set down to work, the creative juices flow. You could postpone the darned thing for ages and never seem to be in the right mood for it, but when you take the first step, something always happens. More often than not, something magical.

I love this man, BTW

November 16, 2018

C.W. Snyder: "Queen of Nod" (ARC Review)

Title: Queen of Nod [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: The Balance (2nd of 3 books)
Author: C.W. Snyder [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Afterlife, Fantasy, Mythology
Year: 2018
Age: 14+ (it's marketed as NA, but since I don't have a NA section on my blog, I shelved it as YA. However, it's a complex and dark fable that will appeal to adults as well)
Stars: 4/5
Pros: As with Book 1, imaginative, multilayered tale weaving lots of literary and mythological references into a fresh story. Evocative prose.
Cons: The many (often disjointed) worlds and characters will set your head spinning, at least until a second read. Also, this one ends with a half-cliffhanger.
WARNING! Contains many elements of horror and gore.
Will appeal to: As with Book 1, both the young and the adult reader seeking a strong, dark-but-poetic example of revisited and enhanced tropes.

Blurb: Alice hoped to find peace after the death of the Red Queen. Instead, she faces a new foe: a plague of madness that threatens to bring Nod to its knees, shaking the foundations of the afterlife. Forced to flee from her home and abandon her throne, she is led on a journey that has the potential to remake or break her. From the forest world of the Fae to the expanse of the multiverse, Alice and Zee search desperately for a cure before it's too late. Along the way, they meet new companions and enemies - the powerful and deadly Magi, the changeling princess Maggie, and the Triad, a sinister trio of brothers who would stop at nothing to subjugate all they see. The fate of Nod hangs in the balance, and the key might just lie in the one place Alice has never dared to go - the depths of her own mind. (Goodreads)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I received this book from Curiosity Quills in exchange for an honest review. To be more precise, I specifically requested a review copy. That didn't affect my opinion and rating in any way. All the books I've received from CQ so far have come with no strings attached, and it's always a pleasure for me to work with them and discover more (sometimes underrated) gems.


The first installment of this series was a self-enclosed story - so the possibilities for the sequel were endless. What the author decided to do was challenge Alice and her friends with a deadly plague (because you can actually die more than once...otherwise it would be too easy 😉) spread by a new enemy, though a character from Book 1 resurfaces and ultimately becomes an enemy too. We meet an older (well, virtually, because of course one can't age in the afterlife) and stronger Alice in this book - and I'm talking about inner strength here, since her powers have a unique source (and a non-replenishable one at that), and she has to reach inside her mind and draw on her intelligence and willpower in order to use them. And mind you, your average powers are good and all, but this is a really refreshing perspective. Then again, Alice's own mind harbours an enemy, along with an old ally. For a while, the book alternates between her quest for help and her pursuit of the bad guys, and her struggle to eradicate the thing in her brain, making for some interesting scenarios (both gruesome and funny, also thanks to the ally who's along for the ride in Alice's head). [...]

November 13, 2018

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Why Should You Comment?

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post on Rainy Day Ramblings, where the blog's owner Heidi discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog.
Here is what is on deck this week:


Commenting is the heart and soul of blogging. That's not to say that, even if you're friend with someone, you have to comment EVERY. SINGLE. TIME they post. There can be times when you simply don't have anything to add to the discussion, or you simply don't have the time right after reading a post and later you get sidetracked. Not commenting is NOT a crime - and not reading every post your friends come up with either. So many factors can play a part in it.

November 03, 2018

Edward Aubry: "Balance of Mayhem" (ARC Review)

Title: Balance of Mayhem [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: Mayhem Wave (4th of 5 books)
Author: Edward Aubry [Facebook | Goodreads]
Genres: Urban Fantasy (the usual sci-fi angle is virtually nonexistent in this one)
Year: 2018
Age: 14+ (note: Book 1 was marketed as a YA/NA crossover. The series has progressively become more mature, and all the main characters have crossed from NA to adult by now - but the whole thing is absolutely teen-friendly)
Stars: 4/5
Pros: Action, cool magic, surprises, moral dilemmas, and kick-ass heroines with a sense of humour.
Cons: Amidst the action, there are patches of telling-not-showing.
WARNING! Some gore and mature themes (but nothing overwhelming).
Will appeal to: Those who like imaginative worlds, lots of twists and turns, strong female characters and F/F romances. Those who are looking for a fresh approach to post-apocalypse.

Blurb: For five years, Dorothy O’Neill has had someone else living in her brain. Strontium, the witch who sacrificed herself to save Dorothy and the two children in her care, saved her own consciousness by fleeing into Dorothy’s mind, a tactic she thought would be temporary. Despite the best efforts of the Council of Mages to regenerate Strontium’s body and restore her to it, that state of affairs is starting to look permanent. So, when an opportunity presents itself to Dorothy to free Strontium and have her own mind to herself again, it sorely tempts her. All she has to do is embark on a quest with Felicia Kestrel, an assassin who has been until this point Dorothy’s mortal enemy. Felicia seeks a scale from the armor of the legendary dragon Hypatia. She needs a witch to help her employ its magic, and claims it has the power to restore Strontium to her own body. Enlisting the aid of a pixie to protect her, and armed with a magical sword, Dorothy leaves her home, trusting that the woman who tried to kill her once won’t do so again. The quest for the Scale proves trickier than expected, with dangers beyond Dorothy’s experience, and the threat of an unknown enemy who apparently desires very badly for her to fail. Each step along the journey brings her closer to getting her life back and freeing her friend, but also brings new and contradictory information about the object they seek, and Felicia’s reasons for seeking it may be far more sinister than she has revealed. (Goodreads excerpt)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I have been talking to the author on a few occasions since reviewing his previous titles (that is, all the books he's released so far). Moreover, I am a semi-regular reviewer of Curiosity Quills titles (like this one), but if you look back at my ratings, this never prevented me from being unbiased.

There's no blaming Edward Aubry for not trying new things, or not spicing up a series even when it's got to its 4th (and penultimate) installment. Dorothy O'Neill - who we met as a child in Book 1, and through the series has grown up to become a 28 y.o. woman - leads an all-female cast here, except for some brief male cameo. Nothing as impressive as the female character amount in Mayhem's Children (the previous installment), but in that case, there was at least a male protagonist, and most of the girls weren't given more than a handful of lines (for plot reasons). This time, we follow a cast of women (and, huh, other female specimens, for lack of another non-spoilery term) in an adventure that starts off a tad slowly, but soon pics pace and thrusts us into a whirlwind of danger and secrets (and no, not your usual you-could-have-told-me-in-chapter-one secrets. Felicia has got her agenda, of course. And Dorothy is afraid that the matter will be taken out of her hands, so of course she doesn't tell anybody. Questionable, but understandable). I love how these women can kick ass and have soft spots/vulnerable angles at the same time, because it's real. It's not like they kick less ass because of that 😉.
(Mind you, this is not a "girl" book/series. We all know by now that "girl books" and "boy books" are a malicious fabrication of dust-covered, mold-smelling evil wizards, right?). [...]