ARC review--Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen

Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands.

But she soon learns that her husband, Calix, is motivated only by his desire to exterminate the Elementae—mystical people who can control earth, wind, air, and fire. Even more unsettling are Shalia’s feelings for her husband’s brother, which unleash a power over the earth she never knew she possessed—a power that could get her killed. As rumors of a rebellion against Calix spread, Shalia must choose between the last chance for peace and her own future as an Elementae.

This intense, richly drawn high-fantasy by the author of Scarlet will hold readers spellbound.

I received this ARC from the publisher for a voluntary and honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Reign the Earth is my first book by A.C. Gaughen and I must say it was quite the powerful read! I love me a good fantasy read! Ones filled with magic of the mystical kind and a good romance on the side doesn’t hurt either! Reign the Earth had all that and more! It continued to amaze me with every page I turned!

Shalia is marrying a king in order to help end the strife between her people and his. Shalia comes from a clan who have a different set of beliefs than the king, Calix does. There are also Elementae about in the world, they are ones, as you can imagine, who can control an element such as Earth, Fire, Water, and Air. But despite all the hardships they’ve had, a truce has been made. Shalia isn’t too keen on an arranged marriage, but as her parents told her, love can still come from such things for their marriage was an arranged sort.

Off the bat, you can kind of already tell that Calix isn’t going to be our hero to swoon over. There’s this coldness to him that’s sort of off-putting. Shalia is new to romance and such things and when it comes time to consummate their marriage, she’s afraid and while Calix isn’t yelling and berating, he isn’t 100% kind and gentle either.

Soon queenly life moves on for Shalia though there is still unease in the kingdom. Shalia knows that her brother Rian is said to be leading a Resistance group against the king who is against all Elementae. He wants them all eradicated while Rian and his group are for allowing them to live peacefully. You can pretty much see where things are going.

Then we have Galen, Calix’s brother and captain of the guards. There is a sort of connection buzzing between him and Shalia, if the description of the book is anything to go by. Though it’s a slow and gradual thing. And even though Shalia is technically married, it doesn’t really come off as the sleazy cheating scenario. Calix, as you will see, is a cold and selfish sort. I mean I was really rooting for his demise far sooner than necessary it would seem! Lol! Calix is searching for an elixir of some kind that is said to remove the powers from an Elementa. He wants the Elementae exterminated to put it bluntly, hence the reason for the Resistance group.

The pacing to this one was a touch on the slow side, but in a way, I’m kind of used to that when it comes to fantasies. Fantasy world-building takes time and A.C. does this gradually, but not in a way where you feel like giving up on the book entirely. There’s a lot of secrets going about with the characters. Not so much in a mystery sort of way, but just carefully guarded secrets that take time to reveal.

It’s truly the characters that kept me reading! I grew to love Shalia as she’s the type of heroine I love most! A strong-willed young woman who wants to do what is right and protect those she loves. There’s great friendships building throughout this book as well and the ending is one that will leave you reeling! I was positively shocked! And this really comes about in the last ¼ of the book or so! So early shock factor geared towards that ending!

There is still a lot left unsaid, mostly wondering about certain people or things. Nothing majorly killer in the cliffhanger territory. I will definitely be looking forward to the sequel!

Reign the Earth is a magically exciting kind of read that will leave you breathless! It has the right kind of energy for a fantasy read that sweeps you off to a mystical world that you will long to return to! Counting down the days to the next one and this one hasn’t even released yet! I’m in way over my head here! Lol!

Overall Rating 4/5 stars

Reign the Earth releases January 30, 2018 

Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Purple Princess of The Purple Booker.

Here are the rules:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a page

3. Pick out 2 lines that are SPOILER FREE
4. Name the title, author, etc.

Oh yeah! I'm getting caught up in The Others series!! One more book to go! And at the time of writing this I am nearly at the halfway point!! To help set this scene, Meg and her fellow female friends are watching as the guys lead a bunch of bison into the Lakeside Courtyard.

"'What are you going to call them?' Meg asked.

'Lunch?' Simon offered.

The female pack gave him a look that made him think running away would be a good idea, if he wasn't the leader and couldn't back down." p 177 

TITLE: Marked in Flesh
AUTHOR: Anne Bishop
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
RELEASE DATE: March 8, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week's topic is: Books I Can’t Believe I Read

*in no particular order
**I'm saying I can't believe I read these books for various reasons, shock, astonishment,! 

10. WRITTEN IN RED by Anne Bishop--yup! The very series I am reading astonishes me that I am reading it! It definitely has a slower pace to it than I would normally prefer, but the characters are truly amazing and what keeps me coming back again and again!
9. HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE by Jeaniene Frost--as I might have mentioned, I stumbled upon this one in the romance section of Borders. Sadly I had been "burned" before by books Borders shelved in romance because I was thinking maybe it wouldn't be OVERLY romantic filled but it was. *shudders* I was amazed by how much I loved this one and how the romance was only a small part of the story! 
8. STRAY by Rachel Vincent--you can pretty much take that same answer from above and apply it here! You also want to take note that when I was making my decisions over these, I wasn't in the blogosphere yet. I had no one to get opinions from or advice on books! So my taking the plunge on these two, was a seriously big leap of faith! Lol!

7. TWILIGHT by Stephenie Meyer--I am ashamed to admit I read this series! I know a lot of people loved it or that it just holds a special place in their heart. But me? I am sooo ashamed! I read it out of curiosity because everyone was talking about, the movie was slated to release in about a year, so I thought let's give this a try. It was okay. Nothing extraordinary. I had read a lot of paranormal or vampire YA books already so this one was just meh. I think I was more irked later on when people wanted to say books that predated Twilight were too much like Twilight...they obviously didn't bother to check publication dates and just thought oh this new covered book came out after Twilight, it is definitely trying to be like Twilight. It's a long standing "thing" that just enrages me. Lol.
6. THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO by Alexandre Dumas--there's nothing paranormal. Nothing fantasy. Yet this tome of a book completely enraptured me when I read it! I guess I have a vindictive side and looooved seeing the Count get his revenge...even if it took decades to put into the works!
5. TIGER'S CURSE by Colleen Houck--another one that was pretty long and loaded with mythology, I admit I was overwhelmed at times, but yet I couldn't get enough of the series! Cannot wait for book 5 in the coming months!!

4. SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi--I had seen people gushing over this book, so when I found it in the bargain section one day I decided to try it out. Despite a few issues I really did enjoy it! I cannot wait to see how the new additions will play out because omg, I can't wait to return to the gang!!
3. FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT by Darynda Jones--when I initially saw this book, I admit, the cover turned me off. I thought it would be a "chick book" despite the scythe and skull sandals on the cover. I must have read a review or two before finally breaking down and buying a copy...then OMG I was hooked! 
2. ZERO REPEAT FOREVER by G.S. Prendergast--this novel isn't for everyone, I will admit that. Again, we have a slower pace and for some reason, I was still hooked! There's just enough details being revealed, just enough mystery and questions going on that had me turning the pages as fast as I could!

1. HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE by J.K. Rowling--yup, I had hesitancy over this one!! I didn't read it when it came out, it was more around when there were 3 books out our teacher was reading it to us and I found myself really into the story! My main reason for avoiding it at the time? Because it was about a boy! Lol! Yeah, I was a weird kid. When I read, I would place myself in the story and I couldn't picture myself as a boy or felt like I could get interested in a boy's story! Well, our teacher reading it to us proved that it was possible! So Harry was pretty much my first book from the male point of view!


Let's Discuss: Rocko's Modern Life Oddities

So the other night, I was watching Rocko's Modern Life! A classic from the 90s Nicktoon era! I loved this show as a kid, even though it could get kind of gross, but I guess as a kid, I never really realized how odd this show was for kids! 

Rocko's Modern Life Oddities

I mean first off, Rocko came to America from Australia like when he was a kid while his parents were still there? In one episode there was a flashback that showed young Rocko playing with young Filbert. In the current time frame, Rocko is an adult. He rents a house, he has a job, drives a car and yet...on Halloween he dresses up and goes Trick or Treating with Heffer and Filbert! What's up with that?!

And then Filbert gets married in one episode. It's just weird! I know, I'm analyzing cartoons too much. It's what happened when you're laying in bed and watching them late at night! Lol! I guess I can understand most of it, except the Trick or Treating part! I mean, you drive a car! You have a job! You rent a house! Why are you Trick or Treating?! Lol!

I haven't seen the last episode come around yet! As I know that it ended with everyone being on a rocket ship and ending up in space! And then there is going to be a new TV movie about it! Rocko and everyone comes back to O-Town but it's been 22 years since they were gone! It's bound to be a fun one!

Here's where you can watch the trailer if you care to! According to IMDB it airs on April 1, 2018! I tried to embed the video in my post but it was most uncooperative for some reason!

ARC Review--The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

I received this ARC from the festivities at BFest last year in 2017 for pure enjoyment purposes. I was in no way compensated for this review.

I was all kinds of crazy excited for Melissa Albert’s debut, The Hazel Wood! It screamed fairy tale book all over! The cover is just gorgeous and bespeaks of the fairy tale delights (or not so delights as real fairy tales run kind of dark) ahead! While I found the book to be interesting for sure, I wasn’t as swept away as I would’ve hoped for. I’m not sure how to describe what I mean, but I will do my best.

Alice and her mother Ella have been moving from place to place ever since Alice could remember. They always seem to be running from bad luck of some kind that continues to chase them around. Just as Alice thinks things might be settling down when her mother marries a man and they move into his apartment suite, the bad luck comes back! Alice comes home to find her family gone and it’s not until her stepfather and stepsister return with a story of being taken and that Alice must go to the Hazel Wood if she wants to get her mother back that the crazy adventure truly begins!

The Hazel Wood is the name of the estate where her mother grew up for a time and it’s where her grandmother lived and wrote the stories that became known as Tales from the Hinterland. This was a book of fairy tales, not the ones we all know and love, but a completely sort. Odd thing is, try as Alice might, she cannot find a copy of the book anywhere and she tried to find it once upon a time when she learned her grandmother wrote them. I would’ve thought it would be interesting to actually get to read these tales. It might have even helped with my reading if I had a better background on things, for this story sort of revolves around this elusive book.

Alice starts a journey to get to the elusive Hazel Wood, for no one really knows where it’s at. There’s plenty of secrets in this book. Joining her in her journey is a fellow classmate, Ellery Finch. Ellery knows a lot about Tales from the Hinterland as he too was a bit obsessed with the book growing up and he had a copy long ago before it was stolen. It seems though that their journey will be anything but easy as they hit roadblocks at every turn!

This book was a certain kind of weird. It’s almost an enjoyable sort of weird too! Again, I really feel like if I had known more about the Tales from the Hinterland, I would’ve been able to understand things better. I love fairy tales, so when I see certain elements from the variety of tales I’ve read, I’m able to get a better understanding of where this story is headed. Since Tales from the Hinterland is a fictional book from a fictional book there’s really no source for what they are made of. True, Ellery knows the tales backwards and forwards and will relate them to Alice at certain points, but there is the occasional interruption and truly, this drove me mad!!!

If you’re expecting there to be a romance building between Alice and Ellery, well, you’d be sort of wrong. There may be some fleeting feelings and moments between them, but soon other things start to happen and well…there just really wasn’t any romance at all in this book. Which I thought was sort of odd since it was fairy tale like in essence. I mean, a good chunk of fairy tales revolve around a romantic kind of love. Not all of them, true, and in this one we do see those other kinds of love, so that was nice in a sense too.

I truly think the thing that kept me from giving this one 5 stars was that I knew nothing of the Tales from the Hinterland, other than what Ellery knew. Maybe that was part of the point, as Alice never got to read them either, but it just made things a bit more confusing for me as a reader because I wasn’t sure what was really happening in a sense. Things definitely got muddled for me in more ways than one. Again, though, I did enjoy this story in some ways. The Hazel Wood was still fascinating and dark and beautifully told. I just feel like as a reader if I knew of the Tales of the Hinterland, I could’ve understood The Hazel Wood a bit more. Totally weird, right? Wanting to read a fake book in order to understand the book that mentions said fake book?

The Hazel Wood is still remarkable storytelling though! It’s a dark, twisted tale that will keep you guessing at everyone’s intentions. For we already know not to trust the people within fairy tales, but in reality it’s harder to tell who’s trustworthy and who’s not. If Melissa were to ever do a bonus addition that let us read these mystical Tales from the Hinterland, I’d be all over that! And possibly even willing to do a re-read of this one! Which coming from me, as you know, is BIG!! This is most definitely a book all lovers of fairy tales should read! It contains the classic elements we know and love and it is a truly magical read in essence, if a little befuddling at times. I might just be overanalyzing things too much as I read.

Overall Rating 4/5 stars

The Hazel Wood releases January 30, 2018 


It's Monday! What are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It's a fun meme where we gather to share what we've read last week and our reading plans for this week.

Last Week I Read:

Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop (4 stars)
Until Dawn by Erin Kellison (3.5 stars)

Review That Was Posted:

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu (Blog Tour Post) (4 stars)

Currently Reading:

Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

What I Might Start Reading:

Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop 

Other Posts of Interest:

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! The meme is now hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality.

I felt like this week was a drag, which was odd since I had Monday off. I guess I'm still trying to adjust back to normal long weeks without holiday time off! Lol! January always sucks in that sense! I had a pretty good week in the bookish realm too! Didn't add too many to my TBR pile which is always nice! Lol!

I bought:

  Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
What Do You Do with a Chance? by Kobi Yamada & Ill. by Mae Besom

Then I won in a giveaway from Lisa's Lost in Lit an ARC of Moonlight Sins!!! Cannot wait to read this one!!

Moonlight Sins by Jennifer L. Armentrout (ARC)


And then this beauty arrived...

Thankfully I already guessed the book before someone spoiled it on Twitter. Really got to remember to stay off that thing until my box arrives, but I always forget! Lol! I'll share pictures of it later on and possibly on Instagram later today but in a way you can totally avoid seeing it if you want to be surprised! ;)


Let's Discuss: What's the Point of Oreo Thins?

A random idea came to me the other day, it was for the commercial for the new mini Oreo Thins and it occurred to me once again--as it does every time I see these...

What's the Point of Oreo Thins?

Okay, granted, I get it! Oreo Thins are the thinner version of Oreoes! You can have one of your (possibly) favorite cookies, but in a "lighter" fashion.

But seriously?! Look at these things! They are wayyy too thin! Why are we even bothering with the cream? Clearly, if you're eating one of these you are not much of an Oreo person! I can't even describe a comparison to this! Lol! It's just that crazy!

Don't get me wrong, if you love these cookies, that's great! I'm a cookie snob! Lol! But seriously extremely picky with cookies too! I'd much rather have a Double Stuf Oreo or the most delicious MEGA Stuf!

Where do you stand on Oreo Thins? For them? Against them? Or do you not care for Oreoes either way?! Lol!

Book Blogger Hop

This meme is hosted by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addict
This week's question is: When reading a mass paperback book, many people fold the cover back, as if they were reading a magazine. Doing this will eventually create creases in the spine. How do you feel about this common bookish habit? (submitted by Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books)
Needless to say that I think this is sacrilegious!! Like I will have legit panic attack inducing breathing when I see this! Especially if it's one of my books. I'm more likely to buy a person the book they want to borrow rather than let them read my copy*. 
*Note that this is usually just when it comes to my sister! Lol!!

Random Thursday

I interrupt sharing from Dave's book for a special post that's still very much Disney related! All last year I kept pages from my Disney Desk Calendar (2017) where I felt like the factoid was pretty much wrong! Like you couldn't be more wrong than this! And I feel like sharing them here because I am a Disney geek!

Okay, so here I'm being nit-picky but I mean come on, these things DO matter! The description is all correct and whatnot, but the picture is totally wrong! Obviously this is THE END of the movie where we assume Jasmine and Aladdin were married and go off to live happily ever after! But obviously since we had a movie later on with the wedding, this is not their wedding scene! Regardless it is at the END and NOT during Whole New World!

Once again, nothing wrong with the factoid, but the picture!! This is NOT Thumper! This is his girlfriend later on! What did they end up calling her, Miss Bunny? I mean there's eyelashes AND a heavy girlish blush!

Sorry for the crookedness, my printer/scanner isn't in the best spot with light and whatnot! All about convenience and space! Lol! Here the factoid is wrong, it's saying the fairies must rush back to the cottage in the glen to find Prince Phillip, but so wrong!!! This is when the fairies are going to the cottage in the glen to raise baby Aurora! I mean Fauna is clearly carrying a baby!!

Okay I'm being nit-picky again here! The quote is when genie complains about having a crick in the neck, yet the picture is concept art during is Friend Like Me song and he's juggling his head. Again, not really anything wrong...just being nit-picky.

Okay, here it really comes down to the terminology. The fairies shrank down to tiny size and flew into what's more of a jewelry box or safe-like box than a closet!

This one was so close to being right! It says Pumbaa thinks he's being chased by Nala because she wants to eat him, they say, no she's not! She's looking for Simba! Uh, WRONG! She IS trying to EAT PUMBAA because there's no food in the Pride Lands! Simba happens to stop her and save Pumbaa and they have their OMG reunion! Duh!

Okay being nit-picky on the terminology again, but come on, you don't call a handmade gown that was torn to shreds a work dress!! Everyone knows that Cinderella was wearing her handmade dress that her little animal friends help make for her but then her stepsisters ripped it to shreds!

Again, terminology here is not quite right. Or the movie wasn't very clear on two dudes who work the fireworks are actually bad guys for doing their jobs! It's says Mushu scares the bad guys away, but the firework guys weren't the Huns, so why are they "bad"?

Mini Review--Until Dawn by Erin Kellison

A witch reality television show, a deadly curse, and a vampire on a mission—a perfect brew for love.

During the live end-of-season Tell All episode of the reality television show, Witching Wild, cast member Judith Kress opens fan mail expecting the usual personal questions, but gets cursed instead. Vampire Calvin Blake is charged with saving her life and discovering the source of the curse, but ends up in deeper trouble than he thought possible. Survival is going to be a dangerous affair until dawn.

I had a mix of things going on today that led me to pull up a novella, Until Dawn by Erin Kellison that gives us another glimpse at the Dragons of Bloodfire series! Though this time, we're following a vampire servant around rather than the dragon itself.

Lady Fane is an old and powerful dragon and a huge fan of the show Witching Wild. When she sees one of her favorite hosts, Judith, have her life threatened she sends her vampire servant, Calvin out to go protect her. Calvin of course does his lady's bidding willingly. 

Judith is a witch with a curse on her from another witch. If she can manage to stay alive until dawn, she will get to stay alive and Calvin is to be her protector in the remaining hours of the night. Naturally, there's a little bit of romance thrown into the mix but there's also a good deal of danger from curses to zombies to a vampire's hunger, there's plenty that might end up offing Judith before dawn!

Naturally with short little reads like this, there's never quite enough to satisfy the reader! We get a nice glimpse into the vampire side of things when it comes to working with dragons. It kind of made me miss my dragons that I've met before though we do get a glimpse of one of them however briefly! 

It was a short and sweet read though I guess this is why short stories don't always work for me as I'm left craving more! Still a fun little read to the series!

Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars