Cover Reveal: The Rebels of Gold (Loom Saga #3) by Elise Kova

Elise Kova is a wonderful writer who has quite the literary publishing history. Not only is her Air Awakens series a highly popular indie series, but all five books were released in less than a year. That’s an amazing treat for readers and an incredible feat for an author, due to all the hard work put into such an endeavor.

The Loom Saga, whose first book The Alchemists of Loom released in January of this year, is (sadly) wrapping up this December. You’ve still got two months to catch up with the first book and its sequel, The Dragons of Nova, but in the mean time…

 

…today is the cover reveal for the final book! YAH!! Artist Nick D. Grey has done a fantastic job at bringing another visually stunning piece of work to the Loom Saga.

Ready for it?

 

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Title: The Rebels of Gold by Elise Kova

Series: The Loom Saga (Book Three) – Final book!

Release Date: December 5, 2017

Pre-order THE REBELS OF GOLD from:



| AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY |
| BOOKS A MILLION |

(more pre-order locations to come)

If anyone wants to preorder, please know that there is a PRE-ORDER GIVEAWAY that you can enter your info for. The more people that enter, the more swag that will be included! Follow this link here to see more: http://elisekova.com/pre-order/

A new rebellion rises from the still-smoldering remnants of the five guilds of Loom to stand against Dragon tyranny. Meanwhile, on Nova, those same Dragons fight amongst themselves, as age-old power struggles shift the political landscape in fateful and unexpected ways. Unlikely leaders vie for the opportunity to shape a new world order from the perfect clockwork designs of one temperamental engineer.

This is the final installment of USA Today bestselling author Elise Kova’s Loom Saga, THE REBELS OF GOLD will reveal the fate of Loom’s brilliantly contrasting world and its beloved inhabitants.

Books in the Loom Saga:

  1. THE ALCHEMISTS OF LOOM
  2. THE DRAGONS OF NOVA
  3. THE REBELS OF GOLD

Have you read any of the Loom Saga books so far? What are you most looking forward to seeing resolved in The Rebels of Gold? Let’s discuss in the comment section below. 🙂

 

 

 

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.
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Review: Outcast by Lauren Hillman

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Published: 19 July 2017

Publisher: Self Published

Category: Fantasy/Middle Grade

Merissa is a faerie with no magic, no memory… and no friends. Until a hummingbird arrives with an ominous message: The Queen wants her dead.

With the help of the hummingbird Chippen, Merissa sets out on a dangerous journey searching for the one faerie who may know the truth about her past. Instead she finds more questions when they meet Griff, a gypsy boy with pale grey eyes and one heart-melting dimple and Merissa discovers they have a strange connection. Soon her past will endanger them all.

But she is a faerie. And faeries are protectors. So if anything will help Merissa regain her lost powers it will be to save her friends.

Rating:  3 Stars

Faeries were one of my favorite things to read about when I was in the middle grade age group. While I still read quite a bit of fantasy and there are faeries in those books, there’s something special about the ones that inhabit the books of children. Going back to that kind of story in Outcast was immersive and fun.

Merissa is introduced right away as a faerie that doesn’t know what kind of Faerie she is. That’s a problem in a society that separates the faeries into what they can do: Earth Faeries nurture the earth, Frost Faeries bring the frost, etc. It’s self descriptive and when a faerie is born, they’re meant to know who they are. Merissa, our main character, cannot recall her beginning and despite her best efforts cannot summon magic of any kind. Now an Outcast, she goes about her life with a niggling thought as to what she might be, something not talked about in Faerie society and forbidden: a changeling, a human that was altered to become Fae. Is this why the Queen wants her dead? It’s that thought and that threat of death that sends her on a quest to discover who she is.

The venom that came from her fellow faeries in Reya, their town/village, was deep cutting and very harsh. I was feeling horrible for Merissa as well as anger at her “friends” for betraying her and turning their backs when she had questions. Rather than be supportive, they succumbed to fear and cast her out as much as they could. While this was hinted at in the summary, plus the obvious title, I was shocked to see how it was conveyed in a few simple actions and words.

Merissa’s journey, once she leaves the little clearing and tiny home she’s known for as long as she can remember, is an enormous one. Not just because she is a faerie that can hide beneath a daisy, but because she has to learn to trust after being shown a lot of unkindness over the course of two years. She learns truths, such as what she is exactly and the identity of the ‘people’ she comes across (Zara, for example); some of these I didn’t even consider during my reading!

I was slightly disappointed in where the story ended because it felt a little abrupt, but overall I think it did make sense. There’s still quite a lot of danger for Merissa and her party. There’s more adventure to come as they search for a safe place, one that may very well lay outside of Faerieland.

I think that the book could have used another once over before publication because I found a couple of examples of errors in printing, things like words missing or extra words that were spelled correctly and so would be missed by a spell check. Also, some of the language was a bit clumsy when in conversation, giving me a bit of a struggle on occasion.

I don’t know how long this series is going to be, but I am anticipating the next book because I need to know what happens. Will the Queen find and carry out what she promised at the end of the book? How will Merissa stay true to her Faerie identity when those she is supposed to protect are not always good?  There’s a lot of find out when Lauren Hillman’s next book comes out.

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I DNF’d or Were Hard to Get Through

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Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can find the prompts here.

There are some books that, no matter how good they sounded or how much others might love them, just weren’t for me. I mean no disrespect to the people that like the books I’m about the list, but there was something about them that I didn’t care for or couldn’t get through (hence a DNF).

Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge

Detention Land by Susan Orion

Perfect Ten by L. Philips

All of these were DNF books. In the case of Fly by Night, I had hoped I’d be able to finish it because I’ve loved the author’s work in the past, but this one felt like one genre book trying too hard to be another and that got annoying quickly.

Detention Land and Perfect Ten were both terribly boring due to the writing style and the characters. I didn’t feel anything for them other than a strong urge to shake them.

Other Breakable Things by Kelley York & Rowan Altwood

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

These books I finished but they were painful. Other Breakable Things had stupid characters that made foolish choices. The Perks of Being a Wallflower was okay until about halfway through and then it felt like the action plummeted. It is one of the few instances where I have to say that the movie is better than the book. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is the worst of the bunch because NOTHING HAPPENS!

You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

Call Me, Maybe by Ellie Cahill

Movie Game by Michael Ebner

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Sherman

You Were Here (DNF) was all about the imbalance between alternative points of few. Some were okay, others were bad in the tone of voice used. Each was told differently (verse, graphic novel style, etc.) and it got dreary.

Call Me, Maybe (DNF) I hated because the characters were so dense and couldn’t make a good decision to save their lives.

Movie Game (DNF) = muddled plot, poor writing, again with idiotic characters. :/

Legacy of Kings (DNF) sounded like a great book, but I started out with the audiobook and couldn’t stand it. I tried a physical copy…nope, same result. I think it was because the writing came across as stilted and there was one character’s point of view that I couldn’t stand. Dreading a good chunk of the book doesn’t speak well for an overall good experience.


What books have you not finished? What’s one thing that puts you off a book? Let me know in the comments down below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: Jorie and the Magic Stones by A.H. Richardson

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Published: 26 December 2014

Publisher: Serano Press

Category: Fantasy/Middle Grade/Adventure

When Marjorie went to live with her frosty maiden aunt, she couldn’t imagine the adventures she would have with dragons – good and bad – and all the strange creatures that live in a mysterious land beneath the Tarn. The spunky 9-year-old redhead forges an unlikely friendship with an insecure young boy named Rufus who lives with his crusty grandfather next door. When Jorie – for that is what she prefers to be called – finds a dusty ancient book about dragons, she learns four strange words that will send the two of them into a mysterious land beneath the Tarn, riddled with enchantment and danger. Hungry for adventure, the children take the plunge, quite literally, and find themselves in the magic land of Cabrynthius. Upon meeting the good dragon, the Great Grootmonya, Jorie and Rufus are given a quest to find the three Stones of Maalog – stones of enormous power – and return them to their rightful place in Cabrynthius. Their mission is neither easy nor safe, and is peppered with perils in the form of the evil black half-dragon who rules the shadowy side of the land. They have to deal with a wicked and greedy professor, the tragic daughter of the bad dragon, caves of fire, rocky mountainous climbs, and a deadly poisonous butterfly. Jorie must rely on her wits and courage to win the day? Can she do this? Can she find all three Stones? Can she save Rufus when disaster befalls him? Can she emerge victorious? She and Rufus have some hair-raising challenges, in which they learn valuable lessons about loyalty, bravery, and friendship.

Rating: 4 Stars

If a book is about dragons, particularly one with such a lovely cover and in which the dragons are not constantly being hunted, then I’m going to pick it up!

What I liked about Jorie and the Magic Stones is that it reminded me a little bit of The Chronicles of Narnia. Jorie is sent to live with an aunt and while there discovers a pathway to magic and adventure, much like the Pevensies when they stumbled through the back of a wardrobe.

Jorie and Rufus, her new friend that lives next door to her aunt, must find the bravery within themselves to complete their mission. When they become a part of the world beneath the Tarn, a fantastical place with dragons of goodness and wickedness, they discover that Jorie must find three powerful stones in order to save the good guys (*cough*DRAGONS!*cough*).

Dragons are fun to read about, no doubt from this corner, and I appreciated how they weren’t all the bad guys in this story. When they’re all being slain, I get sad because dragons are amazing creatures and I for one would like more stories about them. A.H. Richardson wrote their story, combined with that of a little girl from another world, in an entertaining manner that made the book a good one for bedtime stories. A chapter or two a night and both my son and I were wanting to know what would happen to Jorie, to Rufus, and to the Three Stones.

Jorie and Rufus learn quite a bit in their journey, both what the world is capable of holding and what they themselves are capable of. Nine-year-olds being asked to save dragons sounds insane, but they follow their adventure with more intensity than I’d imagine possible for someone that’s only a few years older than my son.

This book was, as I said, a good one for bedtime stories in my house, but I think that middle grade kids could read this on their own as well as anyone that enjoys middle grade stories. There’s a touch of innocence and fantasy that appeals to the child in everyone, whether or not they’re in Jorie’s age group or not.

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publicity agent in exchange for an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: How I Magically Messed Up My Life in Four Freakin’ Days (The Tale of Bryant Adams #1) by Megan O’Russell

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Amazon  –  Goodreads

Published: 15 August 2017

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Category: Fantasy/Magic

Ever wanted to grow a five-story tall flower in central park? How about fight a deadly battle under the subway tunnels of Manhattan?

Don’t worry. I never wanted to either. But if you’re ever being chased by ladies made of mist and you have to save the girl with the sparkly eyes you’ve never had the guts to say actual words to, there’s an app for that.

I found a magic cell phone, opened an app I shouldn’t have, burned down the set shop for my high school’s theatre, and it was all downhill from there. A drag queen seer who lives under a bridge is my only hope for keeping my mom alive, and I think the cops might be after me for destroying my dad’s penthouse.

But it gets better! Now I’m stuck being the sidekick to the guy who got me into this mess in the first place. It’ll be a miracle if I survive until Monday.

Rating: 2.75 Stars

When I was sent this summary to decide whether or not to review it, I thought I’d go ahead because based on the description alone it sounds like the kind of book a fan of the Percy Jackson series would enjoy. It promises a lot of crazy accidents, fantastical elements in a modern setting, and characters that are just this side of unbelievable.

I like the collection of characters that were presented in the book, with a slight exception for the main one. Bryant’s self-deprecation might have been a quirky character trait at first, but it wore down quickly and became too much. Constantly throwing out sarcastic references to how ugly his hair was or how unlucky he was to be uncool compared to his friend Devon…there’s only so much I read before I started rolling my eyes.

Devon had a couple of funny lines, my favorite of which was after he and Bryant tried to destroy the magic phone:

“It’s the Rasputin of phones,” Devon murmured. “It can never die.”

There was something that I thought was a bit off about the characters, though it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Everyone from Bryant to Devon to Elizabeth, the people that were supposed to be 17 or 18, read younger than that and it made imagining them dealing with the events of the story…sticky. If Bryant’s age hadn’t been explicitly stated, I would have pegged him for 13 or 14. It doesn’t sound like a lot of difference, but it made the narrative feel a bit weird, reading a character as way younger than they’re supposed to be.

The family relationship between Bryant and his mom felt very real. I think his mother may be the most normal mom I’ve read in a fantasy book. What I didn’t get was some of her decisions, like the apparent family agreement that’s 30 pages long and has Article 17:

“Article seventeen states that in a true emergency no questions will be asked and no punishment given if the son approaches the mother with a genuine fear.”

While in theory this article sounds like something that might occur in a family, a trust exercise if you will, what does it say that there’s a written out “contract” with something like this and who knows what else? Bryant explains it to Elizabeth that he had his mom sit down and hash it out after the first time he was grounded. To be honest, I don’t get the sense that he’s the kind of kid that think of that sort of thing either now or in the past when he was grounded.

The romance between Bryant and Elizabeth took up a lot of page time, which I suppose would’ve been alright if it didn’t feel so forced. It doesn’t have to do with my reading these kids as younger than stated, but the fact that their interactions felt stale.

Pace wise things moved along decently, something I was grateful for after having been stuck in a slump of slow books. The way the story moved and how the characters were presented to the reader made it a little hard to get invested overall; I’d liken it to watching an action movie: two hours of people and places and fights flying by and you enjoy the moment, even if you can’t fully grasp what the individual motions are.

Overall, I would say that the book was okay for me, though I can see how it would appeal to a wider audience.

I’d recommend this book for fans of fantasy novels like Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, Holly Black and Cassandra Clare’s Magisterium series, and Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co. books.

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

The #BooksBindUs Giveaway

#BooksBindUs Giveaway

Welcome to the #BooksBindUs Giveaway. The brain child of Sarah K. Vetter from @SKVetterWrites, this is a celebration of the books that bring us together. Across blogs and Twitter accounts, following the hashtag #BooksBindUS, you’ll be able to find people representing books that they have loved, that mean something special to them, and that they want to share with the rest of us.

On The Hermit Librarian, I decided to highlight four books: Mask of Shadows, The Tiger’s Watch, Symptoms of Being Human, and Brooklyn Burning.

Each of these books features a gender fluid character, something that has become more important to me lately. Trying to find who I am, coming to realize that it’s okay to figure that out even though I’m older, has been really hard. With more books featuring transgender and gender fluid characters, I’ve been finding people that express feelings that are more similar to what I’ve been figuring out is who I am. Sal, Tashi, Riley, and Kid are just four of the many characters out there that I’ve found through reading and I’m grateful to Sarah for sponsoring this giveaway so that I can share one of these titles with a lucky winner!

In order to enter, I’ll be setting up a simple Twitter giveaway and linking it below. In order to enter, follow me at @hermitlibrarian and Sarah at @SKVetterWrites. The giveaway is for one of the titles mentioned/pictured above, is open Internationally, and will end 9/15. All prizes will ship in the beginning on October. No giveaway accounts (I will check!).

Link to Tweet

 

 

 

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: Ban This Book by Alan Gratz

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Published: 5 September 2017

Publisher: Starscape

Category: Middle Grade/Books About Books

An inspiring tale of a fourth-grader who fights back when her favorite book is banned from the school library–by starting her own illegal locker library!

It all started the day Amy Anne Ollinger tried to check out her favorite book in the whole world, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, from the school library. That’s when Mrs. Jones, the librarian, told her the bad news: her favorite book was banned! All because a classmate’s mom thought the book wasn’t appropriate for kids to read.

Amy Anne decides to fight back by starting a secret banned books library out of her locker. Soon, she finds herself on the front line of an unexpected battle over book banning, censorship, and who has the right to decide what she and her fellow students can read.

Reminiscent of the classic novel Frindle by Andrew Clements for its inspiring message, Ban This Book is a love letter to the written word and its power to give kids a voice.

Rating: 5 Stars

A book about books is almost guaranteed to get my attention, but when the book in question is about a young girl standing up to censorship in her grade school library, that book makes its way a lot higher on my list pretty darn quick.

Amy Anne, the nine year old protagonist of the story, loves reading. It gives her a refuge from a hectic home life where she has two younger sisters that get into everything and, in her mind, get away with everything. In order to find some peace and quiet, she stays late after school to read in the library, making friends with Mrs. Jones the librarian and becoming familiar with the library’s inventory. One book in particular keeps her coming back to check out as many times as she can and, when one day it has been removed because a single parent went over the head of the librarian to have the school board remove it, Amy Anne finds herself starting a journey that will bring her out of her shell and find her standing up for the rights of her fellow students.

Amy Anne has a lot of ideas in her head about how to be a better person: about how to stand up for herself in a friendship, at home when one of her sister’s gets away with an unfair attitude, and, most importantly, about speaking at the school board meeting regarding the banning of her favorite book from the elementary school library. It’s just incredibly difficult to stand up for what you believe in when you feel like you don’t have a voice. As a child this feeling must be multiplied exponentially because they are all the time being told what to do, what’s best for them, what’s right, and who is right. Amy Anne feels this particularly at home when she feels like her parents favor her sisters and at school when she’s faced with rules that feel wrong. What is she supposed to do: listen to rules that feel wrong or do what’s right?

She and her friends start a small operation: the Banned Books Locker Library, finding and then lending out copies of the original banned book (From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg) as well titles that Mrs. Spencer, the parent behind all this censorship, keeps taking out of the library because she deems them inappropriate.

Banning books like Mrs. Spencer wants, without discussing them with her child or having other parents make an informed decision, doesn’t work and the author makes it clear why in conversation the morning after the first school board meeting when Amy Anne is on the bus.

“Why do you guys care so much?” Danny asked. “Are these books really good or something?”

“They have to be,” Rebecca told him. “Why else do you think they banned them?”

If you hide something from a kid or tell them not to do it without talking to them about it, odds are they’ll be all the more interested in testing it out or discovering the forbidden for themselves.

“Good books shouldn’t be hidden away. They should be read by as many people as many times as possible.”

One of Mrs. Spencer’s problems is that she is deciding to ban these books even though she’s never read them herself. She’s going by a limited number of sources to decide what is good for other people’s children, which is not her right.

“I was lucky. My parents would buy me any book I wanted if I asked them to. But not everybody’s parents would do that. Not everybody’s parents could do that. That’s what libraries were for: to make sure that everybody had the same access to the same books everyone else did.”

Ban This Book makes a lot of good points, not only about censorship and how it is ineffectual, but also about libraries and their importance in a community. Libraries serve the community at large, not a single person or even a small party of people. They provide books and resources for everyone, regardless of their income, making them vital for people like Amy Anne’s classmates who can’t afford to buy all the books they want from a store.

“Look, the point is, once you ban one book, somebody, somewhere, can find a reason to ban every book,” I said.

Censoring is also a huge slippery slope because once one thing gets banned, it opens up the door to other books to be taken away from the people that want or need them. It can be difficult at times because, even though I consider myself quite open minded, there are books I disagree with enormously, but how can I consider myself truly anti-censorship if there are books that I would keep from people? I may dislike them, I may hate the stories they tell or disagree with the message/political leanings of the author, but I can’t tell someone else what they can or cannot read. All I can do is voice my opinion, respectfully, and hope others hear me out.

“And that was it, wasn’t it? All the book challenges, the real ones, were because one person saw a book in a very different way than somebody else. Which was fine. Everybody had the right to interpret any book any way they wanted to. What they couldn’t do then was tell everybody else their interpretation was the only interpretation.”

Reading about Amy Anne and her friends learning how to stand up for themselves and their rights, finding out ways to protect those rights when they’re threatened, was a great time. The writing style got the subtle nuances of nerves, such as when Amy Anne is having difficult making herself heard at home and school, and it encouraged a variety of characters, such as Rebecca, the future lawyer who had some great ideas about the setup of the B.B.L.L., and Jeffrey, a sci-fi geek who has to deal with sudden death of his grandmother and copes with the help of a book from Amy Anne’s library (Bridge to Terabithia).

Alan Gratz wrote a great story about learning when to stand up to the things you know are wrong and when rules may need to be followed (such as Amy Anne’s parents tabling The Hunger Games until the sixth grade). Ban This Book features over a dozen titles, each and every one of which has been banned or challenged somewhere in the U.S. sometime in the last 30 years. I think the book itself will not only be a good time, but will lead to more amazing reading experiences.

 

Have you ever read a banned book? Do you make it a point to do so? What’s your favorite? Let me know in the comment section below. 🙂

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.