25 Dec 2018

Christmas is here!


MERRY CHRISTMAS, FRIENDS!


I hope you are all home and spending the holidays in the company of family and good books!

I wish you all the best in the world; love and peace and prosperity!

I'd like you to know guys that it means the world to me that you accompany me on my bookish journey and visit this blog regularly! 

You are the best, you truly are and I feel blessed for having you around!


Here's my Christmas read this year:


A Muder of Crows
The Ravenscourt Tragedies #1
by Annie Kirke

Synopsis:

A dead father.

A missing Spirit.

An ancient manor with way too many locked doors.

But Abigail Crowe won't let locked doors, corsets, or the straight-laced rules of Victorian society get in the way of finding the truth behind her father's death. Of course, where illegal magic is involved, things are rarely as simple as they appear. Screams in the night, an insane gardener, and a murder blamed on her late father are only the beginning. Could her father actually be a murderer? What is Uncle Edward hiding in the attic? And perhaps most importantly—which family secrets are worth keeping locked up?



What are you reading under the tree? 

23 Dec 2018

My first physical ARC!!!


Today I'd like to feature a book that is special to me becuase this is the first ARC I received in physical form. 

Christmas came early for me when Laurence Westwood was kind enough to send me a paperback copy of his novel The Balance of Heaven and Earth all the way from England. I immediately added this beauty to my January TBR.


Synopsis:

I have been unable to write a judgement that does not seem to offend my conscience, or indeed Heaven, in some manner. Because I do not wish to influence your thinking unduly, I have destroyed all my personal papers and notes in regard to this dispute, preferring you to start afresh. Forgive me for this. All I ask is that you consider and examine Jade Moon most carefully before coming to a decision. I find her fascinating and unsettling in equal measure, and fear the consequences of a wrongful judgement. I will say no more.

My sincerest best wishes to you and your family,

Magistrate Qian
Fifth District, Chengdu Prefecture
1st day of the 2nd Moon, 1085

So ends the letter of welcome (and of warning) to Magistrate Zhu, newly arrived in the remote border town of Tranquil Mountain. He has travelled far from his extensive family estates on the outskirts of Kaifeng – the glorious Song Dynasty capital – hoping to find atonement for past mistakes.

Yet he quickly discovers that Tranquil Mountain is anything but tranquil. The town is beset with simmering tensions since the death of his predecessor. Before Magistrate Zhu even has time to accustom himself to his inexperienced and wayward constabulary and the lowliness of his new surroundings, there is a mysterious murder, rumours of ghosts and blood-thirsty bandits out on the streets, and a disturbing kidnapping to solve – as well as the tragic and tangled legal circumstances of the local heroine Jade Moon to unravel.

For the balance of Heaven and Earth to be maintained, and to prevent catastrophe coming to Tranquil Mountain, Magistrate Zhu is well aware that not a single injustice can be allowed to stand. As he struggles to reach the correct judgements, he realises he has no choice but to offer up his career and perhaps even his own life for the greater good. And, in so doing, he discovers that as Jade Moon’s fate rests in his hands, so his fate ultimately rests in hers.  



I haven't read many books set in China, let alone 11th century China, so I'm looking forward to dive into this mystery piece, which I'm sure will be a rare treat.

Review to come in January...

21 Dec 2018

Review - I, Guinevere by -C.K. Brooke


Title: I, Guinevere

Author: C.K. Brooke

Publication Date: October 14, 2018

Synopsis:

Your legends have it wrong. Arthur never pulled that sword out of the stone. I did. I, Guinevere.

On the winter solstice, a mysterious sword in a stone appears in the churchyard. Not even the mightiest of the village men can remove it, until fifteen-year-old Guinevere gives a try. The sword heeds the unsuspecting maiden, proclaiming the unthinkable: she is the blood of Pendrakon, heir to the vacant throne of Camylot.

Guinevere never dreamed she was born royalty. Now, between apprenticing the eccentric wizard, Merlyn; swordplay lessons with an abrasive—albeit, attractive—boy named Lance; and clandestine, magical meetings with the formidable High Priestess of Avalon, Guinevere is swept up in a whirlwind of training and preparation for her monumental new role as future queen. But invasions by the barbarous Saxyns and visitations from mysterious dark forces constantly warn that she may be in over her head. Can Guinevere defend the kingdom from the darkness and deception that threaten to seize it? Despite her doubts and the sinister forces working against her, can she harness the power to wield Exkalibur and rule the realm? Or is Camylot already destined to fall? 



My Thoughts:

I, Guinevere is a short retelling of the Arthurian legend, that turns the original story upside down, since yes! Arthur is barely in it (don't worry, you won't miss him at all).

If you like YA retellings that take a female side-character from the original tale and build up the well-known story around her, this novel is definitely for you.

Merlin, Lancelot, Morgan, Mordred – all the familiar characters are here, but Arthur is no king. C.K. Brooke wanted to give Guinevere a chance to shine making her Queen of Camelot (here Camylot). However, as all rulers she has to learn how to lead her people and through this book we are shown how she grows into a woman who believes in herself as well as in her country.

I enjoyed reading about the magic, obviously it added a little fairy-tale vibe to the whole affair. It was great Guinevere had the ambition to learn magic, because by it and with it she became a figure of connection between Camylot and Avalon.

The settings were enchanting, they had this old-world feeling; Avalon, the lake, castles, misty-foggy landscapes – they were magnificent.

Altogether, the book wasn't extremely action-packed, except for the end that I was very satisfied with (plot twist hey ho...).

Beware, this is YA so except some teenage drama (I, again, realized I'm too old for that uhh), but this can be overlooked if you are not into it, because the book really goes back to and draws much from the original Arthurian legend.

Once again, if YA is something you read a lot of and you also like retellings, you might want to give this novel a try.




About the Author:

C.K. Brooke is an award-winning indie author of over a dozen romance and fantasy novels. Her debut novel, THE DUCHESS QUEST (48fourteen, 2014), was selected by Shelf Unbound Magazine as a Top 100 Notable Indie Book of 2015, and her YA novel, SECRETS OF ARTEMIS, received the Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion Award in 2017. She is also the author of THE WRONG PRINCE, a Readers Favorite five star recipient and Global EBook Award Honorable Mention title, as well as the historical romance, CAPTURING THE CAPTAIN (Limitless, 2016), which was a RONE Award Nominee and a Finalist in the MMRWA Best Banter Contest. She lives in Michigan with her husband and son. Visit her at www.CKBrooke.com




Author Links:

Website: https://www.ckbrooke.com
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/ckbrooke
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ck.brooke
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/+ckbrooke
Subscribe to Newsletter, get a Free eBook: https://www.ckbrooke.com/subscribe
Join ARC Review Team: https://ckbrooke.com/street-team/


The blog tour was organized by:

 

7 Dec 2018

Book Beginnings and the Friday 56 #30


Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56 are weekly memes hosted by Rose City Reader and Freda's Voice.

Rules: 

Book Beginnings: Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 

The Friday 56: Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% in you eReader. Find any sentence (not spoilery) and reflect on it if you want.


My current read is:

(Mythic Maiden)
by C. K. Brooke


Synopsis:

If you think you know the story of King Arthur and his mythical sword, think again. Your legends have it wrong. Here’s the truth: I was never married to Arthur, and he wasn’t a king. Because Arthur never pulled that sword out of the stone. I did.
I, Guinevere.

On the winter solstice, a mysterious sword in a stone appears in the churchyard. Not even the mightiest of the village men can remove it, until fifteen-year-old Guinevere gives it a try. The sword heeds the unsuspecting maiden, proclaiming the unthinkable: she is the blood of Pendrakon, heir to the vacant throne of Camylot.

Guinevere never dreamed she was born royalty. Now, between apprenticing the eccentric wizard, Merlyn; swordplay lessons with an abrasive—albeit, attractive—boy named Lance; and clandestine, magical meetings with the formidable High Priestess of Avalon, Guinevere is swept up in a whirlwind of training and preparation for her monumental new role as future queen. But invasions by the barbarous Saxyns and visitations from mysterious dark forces continually warn that she may be in over her head. Can Guinevere defend the kingdom from the darkness and deception that threaten to seize it? Despite her doubts and the sinister forces working against her, can she harness the power to wield Exkalibur and rule the realm? Or is Camylot already destined to fall? 


Book Beginning:

If you think you know the story of King Arthur and his mythical sword, think again.

Go on, I'm paying attention...


The Friday 56:

A grin broke through as I bent to retrieve my favored sword. 
It glowed lambent for me, grateful that I held it again.

I wonder if she'll have to use that sword.


What are you reading this week? Don't forget to share your link in a comment below!

 

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