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Bookworm Dreams

Hi, my name is Dragana, and I’m a book-o-holic. My goal in life is to read all the speculative fiction novels in the world. (or at least try)  :)

You can also find me on: Bookworm Dreams Blog

Solid sequel but romance was annoying sometimes

Bridges Burned (Entangled Teen) (Going Down in Flames) - Chris Cannon

Bryn’s life has literally gone down in flames:
“A few months ago, I was a normal girl living a normal life in a public high school. My biggest worry was who I’d sit next to at lunch. Now it seems like I’m living in a foreign country on the brink of a war. A lot of people hate me. Some of them are trying to kill me.”

From Going Down in Flames I mostly remember Bryn’s love for weird lingerie patterns and how much I liked the world of dragon shifters Chris Cannon invented. There were some cliches, but I don’t know why I didn’t rate Going Down in Flames higher. I must have been very annoyed by that cliffhanger ending.

Bridges Burned continues where Going Down in Flames ended. A lot of things happen in the sequel: school dance, terrorist attacks, Christmas family events. But the thing I was looking forward most is missing – more interesting facts about dragon’s special powers. Sadly, world-building was neglected.

There was much less humor in Bridges Burned. Almost no jokes between friends, just two funny lingerie patterns… Everyone are a bit scared of what is going to happen next and the atmosphere is much darker. Good thing at least the banter between Bryn and Jaxon, her arch-nemesis, was still there.
Jaxon sighed as if the situation caused him great pain. “Haven’t we spent enough time together?”
“You’re such a joy to be around I couldn’t stay away,” Bryn mocked.

The one thing that was not neglected was romance. It’s not even a love triangle, it’s a quadrangle. He loves me, he loves me not switches really started to annoy me after some time. Luckily, second part of Bridges Burned was more focused on action. And there are a lot of surprising plot twists!

Bridges Burned was exciting until the very end. Which was (again) a clifhanger. I expected it, but I was still surprised how everything was abruptly interrupted. Now I am waiting for a sequel that will hopefully finnaly have some more information about dragon hybrids.

Bridges Burned is a solid sequel with a lot of action and maybe a bit much of romance drama. Although I wished to learn more facts about the world of dragon shifters, I still think that Going Down in Flames is a nice urban fantasy series for young adults. If you like boarding school setting, dragon shifters and can ignore a couple of cliches, it’s quick and fun read.

Disclaimer: I received this ebook from Ya Bound Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Source: http://www.bookwormdreams.com/book-review-bridges-burned-chris-cannon

Page-turner but the world-building can be overhwelming

The Knife's Edge - Matthew  Wolf

Matthew Wolf, you had me when you picked a book cover with dragon on it. Luckily, this time, my attraction to anything dragon related turned out to be a good thing because I enjoyed reading The Knife’s Edge, the first book in the The Ronin Saga.


The Knife’s Edge follows Gray, a young man, who has no memory of his previous life. The only clue is the tattoo on his wrist and the sword he owns. Gray’s training with stern mentor is cut short by a surprise attack and that’s how his adventure starts. There will be epic battles, magic, betrayals, big confrontations, …


Plot of The Knife’s Edge reminded me of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (WOT):

  • The Origin of a hero is unknown
  • The hero is learning to master his magical powers. There is a lot of struggling with darkness and his resistance to succumb to it.
  • On his travel hero gathers large group of friends and allies. They even were similar to WOT characters, not in an appearance but in the behavior and in some character traits (Karil & Rydel – Moiraine & Lan).

Please, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of original features in The Knife’s Edge. I am just talking about the general feeling. Also, The Knife’s Edge has so many things happening – it’s like you squeezed 3 or 4 WOT novels into one (for epic fantasy) short book.


That’s the biggest flaw of The Knife’s Edge – it needed more pages. When I started reading I was overwhelmed. I can not accuse Matthew Wolf of info-dumping. The story has a nice flow. But there is just so many things you need to remember. The scope of The Knife’s Edge is huge with a big land, long history and a lot of characters. I took Anya‘s advice and gone with the flow hoping that I will eventually memorize names of all countries, towns, kings, heroes, … More pages with more descriptions and time for us to process all the data could have solved this problem.


On the other had, if it was thicker, The Knife’s Edge would not have been such a page-turner as it is now. There is always something new happening and the intrigues and surprises keep you reading, because you never know what is going to happen next. I didn’t care that, sometimes, I could not place some names or remember how some creatures looked like. I was glued to the pages because I had to find out what will happen next.


Oh, and if you are wondering about dragons. The cover does not lie, they do appear in The Knife’s Edge. But dragons are evil and usually their biggest part of the story is that they fly down from the sky and skewer someone with their sharp talons.



The Knife’s Edge is an intense start to a new epic fantasy series. If you are not easily overwhelmed with complex world building, it will be a real page-turner for you. Or maybe you will just go with the flow, like me, and enjoy it nevertheless.

Recommended for fans of classic epic fantasy adventure series like Wheel of Time, Lord of the Rings etc.


Disclaimer: I received this ebook from Kismet Book Touring in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Source: http://www.bookwormdreams.com/book-review-knifes-edge-matthew-wolf

Great sequel, even better than first book!

Hatshepsut's Collar - A.W. Exley

Last year I have read and thoroughly enjoyed Nefertiti’s Heart, so I was excited when a sequel landed in my greedy paws. I had to celebrate it with quick re-read of Nefertiti’s Heart, to freshen up my memory of important facts. Mostly, how awesome Cara is and how much sparks do Cara and Nate make together. Mmmm… Simply delicious. If you haven’t read the first book in Artifact Hunters series, go and read my review of Nefertiti’s Heart. If you did, continue reading to find out what Hatshepsut’s Collar has in store for you.


The plot of Hatshepsut’s Collar happens six week after the events in Nefertiti’s Heart. We get to hang out with all of our favorite characters again. Cara is feisty firecracker, nothing slows her down. Nate is obtuse and always tries to do everything his way. And you know what that means – there will be delicious, sparkling conflicts between them again.

“If he’s pulled this stunt just to get me to wear his ring, I’ll kill him myself.”


There is a bit less banter with Jackson, but there will be Miguel, another Nate’s employee, to make things interesting. Fraser, inspector with Her Majesty’s Enforcers, has a very small appearance in this book. I was sad because I liked his interactions with Cara.


Another Egyptian artifact is going to make problems for our heroes. And you can guess by the title – it’s Hatshepsut’s collar. This time troubles caused by this object will be even worse. Cara and Nate will have to travel from London to Saint Petersburg. Prepare for some wonderful architecture, glamorous balls and harsh Russian winter.


And I am going to tell you a little secret: Dragons will have a small appearance in this book! That was the only thing missing to make this series more awesome.


I won’t lie to you. I do not read this kind of books for deep characterisation. I read them for action, plot twists that keep me on the edge of the seat and some great romantic scenes. A.W. Exley is not going to get Nobel Prize for literature. But the question is, do you really want that? Sometimes you don’t want a culinary masterpiece. You just want a fat, juicy burger. It’s not healthy, but it’s so yummy!


Hatshepsut’s Collar is a solid sequel that continues the story about Cara and Nate in the same thrilling manner. I enjoyed it and can’t wait for the next book: Nero’s Fiddle.


Recommended for all fans of paranormal romance or urban fantasy with a bigger focus on love story (like Night Huntress series). If you like historical London with slight steampunk flare, kick ass heroines, romance full of angst and sparks, bad boy heroes, action, adventure, chase… Artifact Hunters is a series for you.


Disclaimer: I received this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Source: http://www.bookwormdreams.com/book-review-hatshepsuts-collar-by-a-w-exley

Dark, addictive, can't take my eyes of it (the book not King)

King's: Book 1, The KING Trilogy (Volume 1) - Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

If I was not participating in Kindle Freebies Bingo on Goodreads and this book fit the specified requirements, I probably would not have ever downloaded King’s by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff. The cover and summary scream that this is another clone of Fifty Shades of Grey. But I was intrigued with top genres (Paranormal, Romance, Dark) so I decided to give it a shot.


Mia is narrator in the story. Justin, her brother, disappeared on an archaeological dig in Mexico. After not getting any results from any official ways to find a missing person, desperate Mia goes to a mysterious address. They told her there she will find a man who can find anything, for a price. And the price turns out to be her. And no, you dirty mind, not in THAT way. He wants her life. Or in other words, he wants her to be his personal assistant.


The man in question is King. Ruthless, beautiful, blunt. King demands Mia’s full dedication – no other jobs, no boyfriends, no questions. Complete obedience. In no-nonsense tone, he tells Mia what he exactly wants in exchange for finding her brother. And Mia (of course) over and over again breaks his rules and needs to be punished. And, again, not THAT kind of punishment. Although (as King says) he should have slept with her, because her regret afterwards would have been the best punishment.


And it definitely would not be rape. Because, from the first moment, dark side of Mia is attracted to King. Mostly he pisses her off, but she also feels the sizzle every time she looks at him. A lot of time, I was not sure if the attraction was one-sided and if maybe it was all in Mia’s head. As plot progresses, Mia becomes very unreliable narrator. What are her dreams or hallucinations and what is real? I am still not sure about some scenes, and that’s one of the things that makes me itchy to read the sequel soon.


Another big question is – exactly what kind of paranormal creature is King. He laughs at Mia’s accusations and calls magic fairy tales for children. Nevertheless, all of the events surrounding King definitely can’t be explained rationally. But as King says, if today’s science can’t explain it, does it make it magic?


A lot of mystery in the story makes King’s an addictive read. King’s is one of those books that will leave you confused and unsure what to think – the same as King is messing up with Mia’s mind. I read it so quickly and I am intrigued to find out what happens next. That must mean that story and characters were good, right? Or is it all just in my head?


Recommended if you like urban fantasy with dark characters, ruthless (and handsome) billionaires, heroine with a quick temper, human trafficking theme.
Warning: contains explicit language, violence and near-rape scenes.

Source: http://www.bookwormdreams.com/book-review-kings-by-mimi-jean-pamfiloff

Unusual ya paranormal novel with diverse cast and lyrical writing

The Last Changeling - Chelsea Pitcher

I started reading The Last Changeling expecting nothing more than a little entertainment, a light paranormal story and hopefully sweet romance. I got much much more. Contrary to what pretty cover and summary lead me to believe, The Last Changeling is not just another young adult novel.


In a lyrical, unusual style, that’s fit better for literal fiction than paranormal genre, Chelsea Pitcher weaves her magical web around us. Whether it’s the descriptions of nature or feelings, style of writing is not something you read every day.

But late one night, death offered me an opportunity. She whispered dirty secrets in my ear and pulled back my eyelids with curling hands.

Narrators are Elora/Lora, fae princess, and Tyler, human boy. Every chapter switches perspective. You could not miss who is talking in each chapter, even if it was not written at the beginning. Taylor’s language is modern and short. Elora’s speech has archaic traces, reminded me of Shakespeare’s dialogues (if someone rewrote them for modern-themed Broadway show).


The story is typical. Fae princess comes in disguise to human high school and falls in love with a human boy. But the writing and the characters make The Last Changeling unique. I already mentioned the writing style. As for the characters, when people complain and tweet #WeNeedDiverseBooks – they are saying that more books should be like The Last Changeling. Homosexuality, bisexuality, peer pressure, drugs, bullying, dealing with loss of a family member, complex characters, … It’s all covered.


Sadly, all Chelsea Pitcher‘s talent was pretty much wasted on me. Someone would have enjoyed this book like a rare cup of exotic tea. I sipped it, made face, concluded how I can see it’s good, but it’s not for me. I might even continue readingFaerie Revolutions series, since I am intrigued to find out what will happen next. But it feels kinda like a sacrilege reading and not enjoying it.


In The End…

The Last Changeling is not a book for everyone. But if you like writing styles with literal flare and are looking for a young adult paranormal novel with diverse cast of characters, then The Last Changeling might be the book you will enjoy.


Disclaimer: I received this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Source: http://www.bookwormdreams.com/book-review-favorite-quotes-the-last-changeling-by-chelsea-pitcher

Great world and idea, but I didn't feel the romance

Her Mad Hatter - Marie Hall

When I started reading Her Mad Hatter I expected sexy retelling of Alice in Wonderland. So imagine my surprise when on the first page I met Danika, “fairy godmother extraordinaire” (her description not mine). And when she described a setting for the story all I could think was: YES!


Kingdom series by Marie Hall is not set in any specific fairy tale. Instead the world is a delightful mix of all popular stories. Although I must notice that a lot of time Disney versions were used, not original fairy tales. No matter, it was my favorite type of fairy tale retelling. It sounded too good to be true. And Danika was just the kind of narrator I like: quirky and with a big mouth. Just read what she has to say about some of her colleagues:

Of course that stupid fat cow- oh what was her face, the one who worked with Cinderella- thought she was the best. But honestly, what was her claim to fame? Turning a pumpkin into a coach? Or, how about making mice footmen?
She was a disgrace to all the fairy godmothers out there with her ridiculous bippity-boppity-booing.
Not to mention her clientele. That simpering little doll– a classic Mary Sue if ever there was one. Oh save me, Prince Charming, for I am pretty and cannot do a thing for myself. *Bat lashes, wiggle bottom, ad nauseum.*
Pathetic little creature. Danika would rather gouge her eye out with a spoon. A rusty one! And… and… roughened at the edges.

Obviously Danika likes to have different proteges. She calls them “the bad boys of the Kingdom”. And in Her Mad Hatter we get to read how Danika helped the first bad boy find true love.  As the title suggests it, it’s the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. But imagine something more similar to Tim Burton’s version, not Disney’s.


After the delightful introduction and interesting world I was ready to swoon, to be swept off my feet with romance. Sadly, this is the part of the story that fell short for me. I just couldn’t care less for the couple. I was not sorry for the Hatter, who was going slowly insane. And all I can say about Alice is that her childhood crush felt kinda creepy.

Sometimes the story about destined couples and mates work for me. But not this time.


Most of the book was, as expected, about Alice and Hatter, and was boring for me. I could not wait for it to end. Still, I am not sure if I do not like how Marie Hall does romance or only this couple was the problem. As I said I loved the setting and Danika. Also the descriptions were very nice:

She grabbed hold of the smooth wood, the hum of its power echoing down her fingertips like the swelling vibrations of water dripping on thin metal.

I will have to investigate further. Luckily for me, I managed to grab first three books of Kingdom series as they are free Kindle ebooks. The next part Gerard’s Beauty is inspired by Beauty and the Beast, one of my favorite fairy tales. Lets hope I will like the characters this time.


In The End…

Her Mad Hatter is a typical paranormal romance set in Wonderland. Recommended if you like to read the version of story where Alice and Hatter get together and you don’t mind that romance will be instant, because they are destined to be together.

Source: http://www.bookwormdreams.com/book-review-her-mad-hatter-by-marie-hall

Looking for a #sf to engage all your brain cells?

The Genome: A Novel - Sergei Lukyanenko

If The Genome was not written by Sergei Lukyanenko, it would not have caught my attention. But I’ve been planning to read Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko for a long time, because it sounded like interesting urban fantasy series. The fact that Sergei Lukyanenko is from Russia only increased my curiosity.


Let’s make things clear. The Genome does not have even a tiny bit of fantasy. This book is pure science fiction. And it’s the best kind of science fiction – with believable future and technology.


The human race has long ago spread its wings and left the planet Earth. A lot of planets are colonized. Intergalactic travel is not a dream but reality. Genetic engineering is commonly used at conception by parents. Embryos are modified for specific professions by altering physic appearance and mental capabilities. This genetically altered humans are called ‘spesh‘. I wont go into details here, but there are a lot of explanations about whole process through the book.


Alex Romanov is a narrator and, we could say, the hero of The Genome. He is a spesh and a spaceship pilot, who just got out of a hospital after a fatal injury. The amount of modifications Alex had to become a master pilot is astounding.

“You’ve been modified for gravity overloads?”
“Exactly. I retain mobility at six Gs and consciousness at twelve.”
“And measure distances like a radar.”
“Both distance and velocity.”

We follow Alex as he is looking for a job, crew for his new ship and during his first flight. Since we were present during interviews I felt like I knew members of the crew. Like they are one big quirky family.


After a great start, with a lot of interesting stuff about genetic engineering and Alex getting a new job and crew, the events started to get a bit boring. My enthusiasm for a book lessened and I was afraid that it’s going to be a bore-fest until the end. But then – BOOM – a murder happens. And we get a murder mystery complete with a classic ending where all suspects are in a same room while evidence who is the villain is presented. It reminded me of Agatha Christie’s Poirot.


The only thing that I can say that really bothered me, was romance/sexual aspect of the story. Alex has sex with multiple partners (not at the same time). Sure, he was not in a relationship with any of them, but still… Maybe I would not have been troubled by this, if one of his sexual partners was not a 14 year old young girl, half his age, who hero-worshiped him.


The Genome is a great book for a book club. There is a wide range of topics that can be discussed: cloning, genetic engineering, freedom of choice, love, … Yes, even love. And this is a reason why:

“Damn it, Kim. My ability to love is removed. Artificially removed.”
Her features froze. Then came a sheepish little smile. “Alex … you’re kidding, right?”
“Nope. It’s true, baby. I’m incapable of love. Anything but that.”
“How can … love be removed?” Kim’s voice quivered. “It’s like breathing … walking … thinking … Alex! You’re pulling my leg! You’re joking, right?”
“Kim, I’m telling you the truth. It is common knowledge that pilots, detectives, and tax collectors are genetically modified to be incapable of love.”

Why love interferes with pilot’s job? Can emotions really be removed? Are beings who do not feel love still humans? Some of these questions will be answered in The Genome, the rest are up to us…


In The End…

The Genome has something for everyone. Genetic engineering, spaceships and intricate planets for science fiction fans. Intrigue and thrill of unknown for action fans. Classic detective investigation for mystery fans. I can honestly say that it kept all my brain cells busy. I am not disappointed with Sergei Lukyanenko‘s writing and I am looking forward to read more.


Disclaimer: I received this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Source: http://www.bookwormdreams.com/book-review-the-genome-by-sergei-lukyanenko

Can guys and girls ever really be just friends?

Better off Friends - Elizabeth Eulberg

It’s not a secret that books about friends who fall in love, is one of the topics that make me instantly buy the book. And, as you can conclude based on the title alone, Better off Friends is just that kind of book.


Better off Friends is a cute contemporary novel. Chapters alternate between Macallan and Levi who talk about how they met, their friendship and all weird situations they got into, because people thought they were more than friends. If you ever had a very good friend of the opposite sex, you can totally relate to their problems.


Each chapter is preceded by a small dialog between Levi and Macallan. They comment, in friendly banter, on the events so far and what is going to happen next. These were my favorite parts of the book. I felt like I was sitting in a coffee shop with them while they were retelling their life story to me.

Um, yeah. Friends lie to make each other feel better. You didn’t know that? Have I told you that you look really cute today?
Thanks, I — Wait a second.

And that’s not the only banter in Better off Friends. The book is full of it! Not only between Levi and Macallan, but also between Macallan and her girlfriends.

“Hey!” I slapped my hand against the table. “Speak for yourself, but I’m a very fun time.”
“Yeah,” Danielle agreed, “read the stalls in the guy’s bathroom.”
“Ha, ha.” I shot her a dirty look.

Point of view for a chapter is represented by his or hers silhouette on a swing (from the cover). This little detail was super cute. I love it when books have something like that. It’s completely unrelated to the quality of the story, but makes it more unique. And I feel that publisher really put an effort to make me like the book.


The biggest flaw of Better off Friends is that, at around half of the book, Levi and Macallan start to realize that they feel more than friendship for each other. From that point, there will be a lot of misunderstandings and missed opportunities to delay the ending. I was bored at times and felt like the end, the final resolution, was dragging on. It could have been much better if their pure friendship continued longer, so we had more wonderful banter and less drama.


In The End…

Better of Friends is about all the problems you will encounter if you have a male best friend. From the annoying questions‘Why don’t you two just go out already?’ to the real danger of losing your heart. If you are looking for some literary depths you might be disappointed. But for a light, fluffy love story with a bit of banter and drama, Better off Friends is a perfect choice.


Recommended to fans of young adult contemporary romance novels about best friends who fall in love, good banter, high school setting, …

Source: http://www.bookwormdreams.com/book-review-better-off-friends-by-elizabeth-eulberg

Solid standalone novel with some nice siege battles

Salvation - James Wymore

Amnesia plot can be a great way to introduce reader to your imaginary world. And it also makes an introduction full of tension. When I read a summary for Salvation, it reminded me of one of my all-time favorite movies The Bourne Identity. So I was looking forward to reading it.


Similar to The Bourne Identity in Salvation wounded soldier is saved from death on a battlefield by two villagers, a husband and wife. They turn out to be scavengers who use a military equipment from the battlefields in everyday life. Still, they do not lack compassion and nurse the soldier back to health. The soldier has amnesia so they name him Elwood. Elwood might turn out to be their salvation when invaders attack nearby small mountain village called Winigh.

“I’ll die before I see Winigh destroyed by Hyzoi.” He made the oath easily, deep down knowing he must already be bound by similar oaths now forgotten.

“I don’t think we need another person to die for us,” Bowen said as he scratched his salt and pepper beard. “Way I see it, we need somebody who can live for us.”

The world building is pretty sparse. But it worked. Elwood has amnesia and does not remember anything. And other characters live in god-forsaken village so they do not know what is happening except some big news. For example: they know there is a war in progress, but they don’t know details about attackers, Hyzoi. This was too bad since they are weird looking amphibians and I would have loved to know more about their culture and reasons for war.


The magic is also not explained. Villagers know that some of them have magic. But how the hell it works they do not know. It just does.


There is even a love story hidden in a plot, but it was shadowed with battles. There is no time for romance in war.


The battles were very well written. I was often biting my nails waiting to see how it will be resolved. There were a couple of good twists that gave the war an air of unexpected.

They saw him as a general who could lead them to victory, but they did not know the cost of victory in war. When they did, he would no longer be a hero. They would think of him as a butcher. His only comfort would be in knowing they would still be alive to have those thoughts.

The ending was too tame and ordinary for me. I expected something more original if we took in regard originality of invaders.


In The End..

I hoped for a lot of action, and of course a good fantasy, and I am happy to report that Salvation delivered all that. And it’s a standalone novel! A rare occurrence in fantasy genre. The world and magic might not be explained much but there are a lot of intense battle scenes to make up for it.


Recommended for fans of fantasy (duh) with amnesia plots, small mountain town settings, siege battles, …


Disclaimer: I received this ebook from publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Source: http://www.bookwormdreams.com/book-review-salvation-by-james-wymore

Refreshing and not only because it's set on tropical islands

Jala's Mask - Mike Grinti, Rachel Grinti

Just one glance at the cover of Jala’s Mask hints that this book will not be the usual fantasy novel. Cover gives us tropical tribe vibe and no medieval looking castle, metal armor or swords in sight. And, trust me, the cover does not make empty promises.


Set on a group of tropical islands, Jala’s Mask stands out in a row of boring same-old fantasy novels. The people of Five-and-One Islands are fierce and reminded me of Ironborns from A Song Of Ice And Fire. They are pirates who attack ships and coastal towns for loot. To them, this is not regarded as stealing, it’s the way of life.


But while Ironborns are all stone and rigid rules, culture Mike and Rachel Grinti invented is full of colors, exotic birds, dances by the fire and interesting customs. And don’t get me started about ships! Five-and-One islanders grow their ships out of corals… I won’t talk about the details, because I want for you to experience all the fun of this new culture by yourself.


Jala’s Mask is centered mostly on Jala, a young girl from noble family raised with a hope that she will be a queen one day. And, surprise, surprise young king Azi picks her (although maybe not for the expected reasons). Jala dreamed to be a queen ever since she was a little girl. But will reality fulfill her expectations? When she needs to act will she do what is good for her family, her people or hide in the corner?

She hated that, hated feeling confused and hurt and lost. Better to just jump in and hope everything worked out. Well, maybe not always better. But easier.

Jala’s decisions might not be always be right, but they are never boring. She is not afraid to try. She proves that she is strong and resourceful woman.


A lot of other characters seem pale and shallow compared to Jala, even her husband King Azi. I would have loved to find out more about them. For example, her father was most intriguing character. But since this book is a standalone fantasy novel (a rare beast indeed) I will not complain… much.


The only other person who stood out for me, beside Jala is her childhood best friend Marjani. This is awesome for so many reasons. First because strong female friendships without malice are rare in books. Second because Marjani is kinda having a crush on Jala. LGBT theme is handled extremely well and feels like part of normal live on the islands. Same sex marriages are nothing uncommon.


In The End…

When you are bored with fantasy novels with medieval vibe, Jala’s Mask will be a quick break from the usual. Lovely tropical islands and their charming inhabitants will be like a breath of fresh air. And since it’s a standalone, you don’t need to worry about a sequel. Although there is a chance you will keep an eye out for next book by Mike & Rachel Grinti.


Recommended if you like fantasy novels with dark-skined characters, island setting, pirates, royals, conspiracies, …


Disclaimer: I received this ebook from publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Source: http://www.bookwormdreams.com/book-review-jalas-mask-by-mike-grinti-rachel-grinti-2

Spoiled by insta-love

The Jewel - Amy Ewing

All it took was one glance to get me existed about The Jewel. I mean, look at that cover! Is there a girl who would not dream to have a dress like that in her fictional wardrobe? But because real life does not offer a lot of opportunities to wear glamorous dresses, we settle for collecting books that feature them on covers.


The Jewel is obviously targeting weak brains like mine who are easily bought with shiny covers. So imagine my surprise when the interior of a book offered me cruel, dark society with corrupted nobility and poor girls used as surrogates.  Sure, there is some dressing up and descriptions of fabulous outfits Violet wears, but it’s cast in a shadow by the story about The Lone City.


The Lone City is on an island surrounded by the ocean and protected by huge wall. It’s divided into five concentric circles. Everyone, of course, dream to live in the central circle called The Jewel, where the nobility lives.


Together with Violet, girl sold at auction to be used as surrogate, we get a glimpse behind the walls of noble houses.  Where intrigue, jealousy, malice and murder make the daily life.  Where surrogates are not cherished (as advertised) but chained, bound, treated like a property and abused.


Tagline The Jewel by Amy Ewing


I was glued to the pages. I was waiting for the story to get even deeper. I was waiting for Amy Ewing to really hit me in the feelz.


Well the big surprise happened at about 60% and the feelz were hit. Just not the one I expected. Because my deep, dark, almost-dystopian story  got romance. And it was insta-love kind. With hints of love triangle. Yeah, I know, what a shame.


Don’t get me wrong. The romance was good. There are a lot of swoony moments if you don’t mind that the couple seems to fall deeply in real-true-love as soon as they see each other.

“May I ask you something?”
My heart is so swollen I think it might burst. I inhale his scent of soap and clean linen and something that must be boy. “Anything.”
“What is your name?”
My heart explodes into a million glittering fragments that rain down like fireworks through my chest.
“Violet,” I whisper.

So instead of recommending The Jewel to all my friends who love a good dystopia story, I will only recommend it to those who won’t be dissapointed by huge amount of romance in the second part of the book. It really spoiled the world for me and made it all seem fluffy and not very serious. It downplayed the message of the book. I will still probably buy a sequel since it’s easy to read (I devoured it in a day) and, as eternal optimist, I hope that the story will go back on a right track.


Recommended for lovers of books where there is a lot of dressing ups, small amount of magic, insta-love type of romance and interesting if not a very original setting.


Looking for something similar

World divided in sections, heroine gets to be in the richest one: Extraction or Pawn
Great dress-up descriptions: Throne of Glass or The Hunger Games.


Disclaimer: I received this ebook from Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Source: http://www.bookwormdreams.com/book-review-the-jewel-by-amy-ewing

This is how ya fantasy should be written

Crown Of Ice - Vicki L. Weavil

I have a weak spot for fairy tale retellings, especially when they promise to add something new to the story. Crown of Ice gives an unique twist to the Snow Queen, fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen, because it is told from different point of view. We have an honor to listen to the story from the lips of the Snow Queen herself. You know, I always imagined her like a tall, cold, serious woman. So imagine my surprise when at the beginning of Crown of Ice she starts with:

My name is Thyra Winther, and I am seventeen years old. I have five months  to restore the mirror or suffer the fate of my predecessors.

The story is probably familiar to you already. Snow Queen kidnaps a young man called Kai and promises to let him go if he makes a word ‘eternity’ from a pieces of ice helps her  assemble the pieces of magic mirror. Kai’s childhood friend Gerda goes on a quest to get him back and encounters a lot of different people on the way.

  •  Who is Snow Queen?
  •  Why is arranging those pieces of ice mirror so important?
  •  What is Kai doing while Gerda is traveling?

All of these questions are left mostly unanswered in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale. If you ever wondered about them, you should read a Crown of Ice.


How much is Crown of Ice similar to original fairytale? This is a tough question to answer. I wanna say very similar, but the Crown of Ice is also very different because of an unique new perspective to the story and characters. Snow Queen spies on Gerda while Gerda is traveling so we will read about her view of all events that happened to Gerda, but also there is so much more going on here. Vicki L. Weavil really gave life to all characters. While I was only able to connect to Gerda in original story, here I felt close to them all.


Since Disney’s animated movie Frozen in some way deals with Snow Queen theme, some of you might wonder how much is Crown of Ice similar to Frozen? Not much. Of course, Snow Queen has power over snow and ice but that’s where similarities between Elsa and Thyra end.

I would love to say that nothing reminded me of Frozen in Crown of Ice, but there was one detail that bothered me through the whole book. Thyra has a saying /motto she uses often:

  •  “This does not touch me. Such words hold no power. Let them fade. Let it go.”
  •  “This can’t touch me. Release these thoughts. Let it go.”

One part is always the same. Sound familiar?

Frozen Elsa Let it goAnd whenever I hear that line I have to start to sing the song… [image source]

Another very important question when book is from a first person point of view is the character of narrator. And I can find only word of praise for Thyra . Aren’t you sick of main characters who whine how they are just plain looking or nothing special? Thyra’s not like that. She’s confident and sure in herself. She knows she is better than any other human out there.

“I’m smart, inventive and willing to save your little friend. Are you coming with me, or do you prefer to cower in the palace?”

How many times did you read a heroine say something like this to a hero/male in young adult novels? Thyra does not cover. She is determined to succeed. But also she is not perfect and sometimes even lies to achieve her goals. Very human and realistic. I liked her even when her thoughts were not good.

I watch Ravn toy with the weapon and consider freezing those long, tapering fingers until they blacken and fall from his hands.

Reading about a person who knows her own worth was so refreshing. I am bored of Mary Sue heroines that are dominating young adult fiction.




I have written so much, but I feel like I only talked about the tip of the iceberg or in this case the tip of theCrown of Ice. There are so many other things I loved in this novel that are worth mentioning:

  •  Wonderful descriptions of snow
  •  Pets with attitude that add spunk and sass (and of course cuteness)  to the story. There is one omg-he’s-so-cute wolf and one talking reindeer.
  •  Creepy atmosphere in the Snow Queen’s castle with ghosts of her predecessors haunting the halls…
  •  Romance. Subtle. Slow burn. takes time to develop. Hits all the right buttons.
  •  Thyra and Kai are excellent mathematicians. Nerds rule!
  •  How Vicki L. Weavil talked about an education as a life goal.
  •  And the ending! Beautiful. Just a right amount of things left for us to imagine. Not a cliffhanger, but everything is not concluded either. There could be sequel writen. But I hope there will not be.  Because it’s perfect like this. Leave me to wonder and to dream!


If I have written ALL of my thoughts about these topics, this review would be so long even I would feel too lazy to read it ever again.


In The End…

Crown of Ice was great young adult fantasy novel. It offers an interesting and refreshing retelling of Snow Queen fairytale,  but also so much more – realistic, confident and a bit bad heroine, magic, cute animals, subtle romance, … I warmly recommend it to all ya fantasy fans.


Looking for something similar? Try Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Why? Because heroine is also confident and kicks ass. Also, similar dynamic between characters and general ‘feel’ of the book.

Source: http://www.bookwormdreams.com/book-review-crown-of-ice-by-vicki-l-weavil
Reblogged from Ned Hayes Writing:
on reading
on reading

Groucho Marx on Reading

Source: http://sinfulfolk.com

Surprisingly good urban fantasy

Black Rook - Kelly Meade, Kelly Meding

Another book that took me by surprise. It’s kinda of a rule that sexy half naked dudes are reserved for paranormal romance covers and kick-ass girls in leathers and uncomfortable poses are reserved for urban fantasy. So, when I saw a cover for a Black Rook, I expected classic paranormal romance plot. Summary, honestly, does not offer or hint at much more. Imagine my surprise when instead I got a surprisingly good urban fantasy novel with mages, werewolves and vampires.


Kelly Meade managed to make this usual races of magical creatures sound new. Whether if it’s because of painful shifts of werewolves called loup garou or vampires not being the most powerful race or because hierarchy in loup garou clans was based on fur color… Black Rook offers constantly new intriguing detailsabout Kelly Mead’s imaginary world.


Heroine Brynn is strong and week at the same time. Refreshingly, she does most logical thing and hasrealistic reactions. And when she stands up to someone stronger than her, you really gotta admire her, because there is no hidden catch. She has no super-secret hidden powers. She’s not The One. Brynn is just a girl looking for a place in a world and finding it (and love) in the most unexpected place.


Rook and others are not typical representatives of the species. At least if we compare them to other books from this genre. Werewolves have animal instincts, but it’s up to their human side to explore and determine if that course of action is a good one. Not the usual alphas who are always right and assert their opinion.


Romance is subtle, deep burn, with a lot of cons and little pros.

She wanted him. He wanted her. That was the easy part. Everything else around them made being together impossible.

There might be instant attraction but there is no insta-true-for-ever-and-ever love. Kelly Meade wrote it so good that you really feel how their feelings get deeper and deeper.

“This is impossible, isn’t it?” she whispered. 
“I don’t know.” 
“We’re from two different worlds, Rook. A bird cannot live in the ocean with a fish.” 
“Penguins can swim there, though.” 
She laughed, her breath warm against his neck. The melody of her laughter rumbled from her chest to his heart, and he committed the sound to memory. 
“What if the penguin has never learned to swim?” 
“Then she’ll have to find a dedicated fish who will teach her.”

In The End…

If you are looking for a novel focused on the love story, Black Rook might be a disappointment. But if you would like to read about an old urban fantasy theme done in a new, interesting way, strong heroine, complex flawed heroes and intriguing plot that will leave you craving for a next book - then you must read Black Rook.


Looking for something similar? Try Full Blooded.


Disclaimer: I received this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Source: http://www.bookwormdreams.com/book-review-black-rook-by-kelly-meade

This retelling of Beauty and Beast was not up to my taste

Beauty's Beast - Amanda Ashley

Beauty and The Beast is my favorite Disney cartoon. Grumpy heroes are always so cute and Beast won my heart when he gave a library as a gift to Belle. So, whenever I stumble upon the retelling of this tale I am excited because I hope it will have that same spark, that same magic that will make me hum:
Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme…

On the surface Beauty’s Beast is a perfect retelling of the famous fairytale. Eric is cursed by a witch to slowly transform into the beast.
To fulfill a promise to his dead father and not die without an heir, he gets married to a young girl Kristine who is sentenced for murder. Kristine is so grateful to Eric for saving her from the death sentence and she tries to be a good wife to him. Slowly they fall in love…

What can go wrong? A lot of things:

1.) Since Eric is bent on having an heir pronto, he immediately starts to have sex every night with Kristine. She dutifully and silently lies. At the beginning a lot of times it’s bordering with rape for me.

2.) Descriptions of sex had a lot of archaic descriptions that belong to vintage historical romance novels.
"Desire rose within him, a desire to bury himself within her."
"Her womanly scent rose up to tantalize him, stirring his blood, his desire."
A lot of times I was not sure if Ashley Adams wrote about sex or farming.
"He would go to her tonight and plant his seed within her. If there was any mercy in the world, his seed would take root and he could leave here, leave her."

These two facts made my reading of Beauty’s Beast a boring and irritating task. I kept on reading hoping for some glorious moment that will make all my suffering worthwhile. For a glimpse of true Beauty and The Beast magic to appear. But it never happened.

There were a lot of things that could have won me over:
1. Eric’s fear about losing his humanity as the transformation to beast happens. Fear that he will lose his memories…
2. A lot of my favorite romantic scenes from Beauty and The Beast cartoon were recreated: he saving her from the wolves, she nursing his wounds, …
3. Paranormal elements in story, with witches and wizards and magic. Things go crazy & exciting as the conclusion is near…

But no. All Beauty’s Beast succeeded is to make me gnash my teeth and yell in my mind.
- At Kristine for being submissive, for not standing up for herself from the start.
- At Eric for sleeping with her and enjoying it, although he was conscious she didn’t want it.
- At Amanda Ashley for the outdated writing style.

At the end all I can say is – well at least it is over. But I don’t think I will have enough courage to brave another book by Amanda Ashley again.

Recommended only for fans of bodice ripper historical romance novels who don’t mind that there are witches and other magic in the story. This Beauty and The Beast retelling is not for all fairy tale lovers. Approach with caution.

Disclaimer: I received this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Source: http://www.bookwormdreams.com/book-review-beautys-beast-by-amanda-ashley
Reblogged from Tired of Spamlikes :

Haha this is so untrue for me.