Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Dark Realm (Feyland #1) by Anthea Sharp - Review



❋ ❋ ❋ ❋ 

Feyland is the most immersive virtual reality sim game ever developed and Jennet is the first person to play the prototype since her father works for the company behind it. She had no reason to suspect that the game is real, that the Unseelie Fey are trying to come through into the modern world using VR gaming, but soon enough she's battling the Dark Queen for her very life. In order to get back into the game after being banished with her health slowly declining in the real world, she needs to find a suitable champion to fight in her name to help her defeat the Queen once and for all and reclaim what has been stolen. That's where Tam Linn comes in, he's a fellow classmate at Jennet's new school and he's easily one of the best gamers she's ever met. He could make the perfect hero in the game, but his real-life situation is far from ideal. When he finally agrees to check out Feyland with Jennet, he's blown away by everything the game has to offer. What he doesn't yet realize is that this "game" can have deadly consequences, and that the fey are ready to make their move.

I've had The Dark Realm on my tbr for ages since it sounded so intriguing; however, a friend of mine really made me decide to give it a shot. She stumbled upon it a couple of weeks ago as a Nook freebie and read through it in a day, plus she had nothing but good things to say about it. Luckily, it was free on Kindle as well so I downloaded it and eagerly dug in. Usually, freebie's can be hit or miss, but this one's most definitely a hit. It's well worth the read just to see how the author combines virtual reality gaming and The Ballad of Tam Lin. The two leads, Jennet and Tam, are well-written characters, both of which are relatable for a variety reasons. I liked seeing them open up to one another through the game and become friends when they wouldn't have ordinarily. Marny, Tam's school friend, is my favorite side character - she's a breath of fresh air. I can also say that I would have liked to have seen more of Thomas, the game's creator. The world-building is also excellent, as the author ably creates two very distinct worlds - "the real world" and "Feyland" - with quite visual prose. By the way, the story also goes a little bit meta in a fascinating way.

Overall, The Dark Realm, the first book in Anthea Sharp's Feyland trilogy is a new favorite. If you're looking for an imaginative and slightly futuristic twist to fairy tales, you will enjoy this story. I need book two, The Bright Court, right now!


I read this ebook from July 26 - 31, 2016 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Happiness Tag


I've been tagged by Paein and Ms4Tune to complete The Happiness Tag - thanks very much guys!

Rules:

1. List 5 things that make you happy.
2. List 5 songs that make you happy.
3. List 5 bloggers that make you happy and let them know that they have been nominated.

5 Things That Make Me Happy

1. Reading, of course.
2. My cat, Finn.
3. Spending time with family and friends.
4. Blogging and connecting with the book blogging community.
5. Fangirling over the my favorite tv shows and movies.

5 Songs That Make Me Happy


1. "Happy Tracks" by Jack Greene


2. "Can't Stop the Feeling" by Justin Timberlake


3. "Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News


4. "The Happy Organ" by Dave "Baby" Cortez


5. "Don't You Worry Child" by Swedish House Mafia

5 Bloggers That Make Me Happy

1. Sam @ Tsundoku
2. Gemini @ Ready, Set, Read
3. Anne @ Head Full of Books
4. Mari @ Story and Somnomancy
5. Ellen and Sierra @ Quest Reviews

Mid-Year Book Freak Out 2016


I saw this on The Scribbling Sprite and thought I would take part again this year - I really enjoyed taking part in 2014 and 2015.

Best Book You've Read So Far In 2016





The Lies of Locke Lamora  (Gentleman Bastars #1) by Scott Lynch, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, Vicious (Vicious #1) by V.E. Schwab, and Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine

Best Sequel You've Read So Far In 2016


Tricked (The Iron Druid Chronicles #4) by Kevin Hearne

New Release You Haven't Read Yet But Want To


The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater - I know, I know.  I own my copy, but I'm so nervous!

Most Anticipated Release(s) For The Second Half Of 2016


A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir - To be released August 30, 2016

Biggest Disappointment


Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1) by Brenda Drake

Biggest Surprise


Redemption by Elora Mitchell - I was lucky to have won this ebook!

New Favorite Author


Rachel Caine, author of The Great Library series

Newest Fictional Crush

Umm, I can't think of any new ones since last year...

New Favorite Character


Locke Lamora - Easily one of my favorite pieces of fan art for the character by KejaBlank.

Book That Made You Cry


None, not even Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

Book That Made You Happy


Winter by Marissa Meyer - What an excellent series finale!

Most Beautiful Book That You Bought So Far This Year


A Gathering of Magic (Shades of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab - For some reason, I've put this one off too...

What Books Do You "Need" To Read By The End Of This Year

All of them, but The Raven King and A Gathering of Magic are high on my list!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): The Dark Realm (Feyland #1) by Anthea Sharp


Welcome to The Friday 56, a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice.

These are the rules:
1. Grab a book, any book.
2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader.
3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
4. Post it.
5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.


I'm also taking part in Book Beginnings, a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader.  The rules are pretty simple - you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires.  Don't forget to link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.




This week I'm spotlighting my current free for Kindle read called The Dark Realm (Feyland #1) by Anthea Sharp.  I've had this one on my tbr for quite some time, but I finally took the plunge and downloaded after a friend of mine decided to try it and came back with great things to say about it.  So far I'm on page 58 of 319 and I'm really enjoying it so far.  The story combines immersive virtual reality gaming and a modern take on The Ballad of Tam Lin (one of the main characters is actually named Tam Linn, so it's pretty easy to pick up on) - it sounds like a strange combination, but somehow it's managing to work well.

Beginning:

Jennet faced the Dark Queen, her mage staff at the ready.  Excitement fizzed through her blood like it was carbonated.  This was it.  She'd completed her quests, mastered each level of the game, and made it here.  The final boss fight.

56:

Tam lifted a finger, and his Sorcerer's arms rose.  Magical energy gathered in a ball of glowing light between his hands, then spread down over Lorne's figure, encasing him in a layer of invisible armor.  Another wave of his hand, and potions appeared, hovering in the air before him.  Blood red, glimmering orange, dark purple - without hesitation, the Sorcerer chose two, uncorked the vials and drank.

Magical preparations complete, Lorne stepped over the litter of bones and walked to the edge of the darkness.

Truth time.  Jennet held her breath as the pebble of fear in her stomach turned to a boulder.  What if Tam wasn't good enough?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Things Fantasy Books Have Made Me Want To Learn Or Do


Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme is Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do Or Learn About After Reading Them.  This week I'm narrowing that down to the fantasy genre.  I'm not going to name specific books in this post, since these should feel familiar to the genre.  Here we go, in no particular order:



Horse riding


Improving my archery skills


Fencing


Dancing at a formal ball


Map making


Tracking


The medicinal properties of plants


Falconry, or training a messenger bird


Master of disguise, or becoming a spy


And, of course, MAGIC


So, what do you think of this week's list?  Would you like to learn any of these skills?

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Ben & Jerry's Book Tag


I've been nominated by TT @ Intro To Blurb to take part in an entirely new to me book tag featuring my favorite desert - ice cream!  If you haven't visited his blog yet, you should really hop on over.  Thanks again, TT!  I won't be tagging anyone specific to do this tag (since I don't know who has already done it), but if you would like to feel free to join in the fun.



Vanilla Caramel Fudge - Pick a light and fluffy contemporary


Geek Girl by Holly Smale -  Incredibly geeky Harriet Manners gets spotted by a modeling agent, and she decides to change up her image.  Lots of fun, with lots of laughs.



Mint Chocolate Cookie - A new release that you wish everybody would read


The Regional Office is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales - This novel was released on April 12th, 2016 and it definitely deserves all of the attention it can get.  It's so inventive and has something for just about everyone!



Cherry Garcia - An ending that was bittersweet


All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill - This was wonderful - I've got my fingers crossed for a decent book-to-movie (or tv) adaptation for this one!



Strawberry Shortcake - A book containing your OTP of OTP's


At the moment that has to be Marko and Alana from Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples!



Milk and Cookies - Two authors that if they collaborated, they would go perfectly together



Jim Butcher, author of The Dresden Files, and Kevin Hearne, author of The Iron Druid Chronicles - Can someone tell me why this hasn't happened already?!  I want to see Harry and Atticus meet up!


Boston Cream Pie - A book that had you turning the pages late at night


The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch - I actually listened to the audiobook in this particular case, but the production is just so wonderful that I just didn't want to stop listening.



Chocolate Therapy - A book that makes you feel better after a long day of life


Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling - Always.

Music Monday: Band of Ruhks


Happy Monday everyone and welcome back to Music Monday! Let's share some songs we've been enjoying lately!  If you would like to play and I really hope you do, please see the rules and link up below.

Rules:

Every Monday share one or two of songs you've been enjoying lately.  It doesn't have to be a specific genre, new, or one of your favorites - just something you'd like to share with others.  If possible, share a music or lyric video of the song and your thoughts on the song(s), artist(s), and/or music video(s).

If you would like to participate in Music Monday, please join the link up by sharing your post's url.


This week I'm spotlighting the bluegrass band called Band of Ruhks.  Ronnie Bowman, Don Rigsby, and Kenny Smith of this band used to be part of The Lonesome River Band in the 1990s and have since gone on to be big names in the bluegrass world on their own.  After a Lonesome River Band reunion in 2010, they realized that they wanted to work with one another again, so they formed Band of Ruhks.  These two songs that I'm sharing this week are two numbers from their first self-titled album together released last year.

Bootleg John (2015) - This is the song that introduced me to their new group, although I was already familiar with the three founding members initially.



Coal Mining Man feat. Ralph Stanley (2015) - This was their first single from their album which features Ralph Stanley!



Friday, July 22, 2016

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous


Welcome to The Friday 56, a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice.

These are the rules:
1. Grab a book, any book.
2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader.
3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
4. Post it.
5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.


I'm also taking part in Book Beginnings, a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader.  The rules are pretty simple - you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires.  Don't forget to link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.



This week I'm spotlighting lighting a current read, Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson.  It arrived for me at the library yesterday and I knew I just couldn't wait to get started! Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, is one of my favorite characters, not just in comics but across the board.  Today, I'll be showcasing my own page photos.

Beginning:


In case you can't make out the text: 

-So once upon a time, the world almost came to an end.

-"I see him.  End of the alleyway.  About to turn left."

-Almost.

-But instead of crashing down in a fiery apocalypse...

-"He's gonna bolt!"

-It simply got more awesome.

-"Hnngh!"

-"Watch your sightlines, Marvel!

-How awesome?

-I'm so glad you asked.

56: This is actually from page 52 because things start to get pretty spoilery right around the actual 56.