Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?

*******Ani’s Review*******

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman is a wonderful sequel to Hartman’s beautiful first novel, Seraphina. In this book, Seraphina, half dragon, is searching for others of her kind in order to counteract the dragons attacking her home. As in the first novel, Hartman shows us how we are all prejudiced or biased in some way. In Shadow Scale, Hartman expands Seraphina’s world view to include the lives and hardships of other half-dragons. She begins to question whether she is right to collect other half-dragons and her self-doubt returns as she learns new information about how their religious beliefs were founded. This book is a mix of adventure, self discovery, and above all, love. Recommended for mature middle readers on. Click to read my review of Seraphina or buy Shadow Scale by clicking below.

Books for Lunar New Year

Happy Year of the Goat!

Golden-New-Year-Goat-2015

In honor of Lunar New Year (BTW, I was born year of the Tiger) I wanted to share some Asian-inspired reads. I may be wrong but it seems to me that there aren’t that many mainstream books with an Asian influence. Here are some that I’ve read and enjoyed. Leave a comment and let me know of your favorite Asian-inspired or Asian-centric books or movies. Thanks for reading!

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. Probably the most well known of this article. The movie was fantastic also. It follows 4 women and their female children as they come of age and come to terms with their mothers. A fascinating story and so well done!

Eon & Eona by Alison Goodman. This short fantasy series is an amalgam of Asian inspired culture and superstitions. It also speaks to drug use, gender issues, chauvinism and women’s roles in any culture. The dragons are a bonus. Well written, inventive, and exciting.

Gilded by Christina Farley.  After her mother’s death, Korean-American Jae-Hwa returns to Seoul with her father only to discover she is hunted by a demigod to be his mistress. Farley portrayed Jae-Hwa as a typical teenager that discounted everything her family cautioned her against and, if I must say, was a tad annoying because of it. However I enjoyed the story a lot overall and really appreciated the glimpse of Seoul – it was like taking a vacation.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. The least “Asian” story of them all. Park is half Korean in middle America during the 80’s. This love story is a must read for anyone who grew up in the era of big hair and power ballard or for fans of realistic YA. Rowell does an amazing job of writing about misfit teenagers falling in love. Fans of John Green will appreciate this story.

 

September at-a-glance

September turned out to be romance month. My list, as you will see, is heavy on that subject and was a lot of fun. Historical, contemporary, fantasy. It’s all there as well as some steampunk to mix things up. Here are most of the books that I was able to fit into this very busy September (see my other September posts for the rest). And, BONUS! many of them are either free or very inexpensive! I hope you find something to your liking. Happy Reading!

The Abducted Heart by Jennifer Blake – A young woman in the catering business gets accidentally “abducted” by her client who didn’t realize she was still on board his plane when it took off. What ensued was one of those situations where neither party wanted to openly admit their attraction or love for the other and caused pain on both ends. I wasn’t able to really get into these characters because the way it was written all but screamed 70’s era but the grandmother I really enjoyed.

A Soft Place to Fall by Barbara Bretton  – Annie, a widow, is pulling herself away from the brink of bankruptcy due to her husband’s gambling debts when she meets Sam who has come to her small town to hide out from his former employer. Instant chemistry happens between the two and they easily fall in love. Neither shares their past so when the men in suits arrive, everything they didn’t know about each other becomes public knowledge. I really enjoyed this story. Bretton painted a very detailed description of the northeast and the small town characters as well as some really interesting main characters.

The Silver Pear by Michelle Diener – The second and last in this fantasy series. This story brings Soren and female sorceress Mirabelle into the story where the his brother Rane’s and Kayla’s story left off in the Golden Apple. I was glad Diener wrote this book because not only was the Golden Apple really enjoyable, I was not liking Soren in that book. This story gave him more essence and showed his character in a much better light. Mirabelle was very interesting too as the only female sorceress in this fantasy world. The copy I read was an uncorrected ARC so I am explaining any confusion away for that reason. I would highly recommend reading these books back to back if possible in order to keep the supporting characters straight. Otherwise, a great set of books.

The Marquess of Cake by Heather Hiestand - If you haven’t figured it out already, I have a thing about baking. Which is why, when I saw the title of this book, I had to get it. It is a regency romance where the father and owner of a tea and cake shop is being knighted for his delicious treats. His eldest daughter, Alys, has always been happy working at the shop baking and decorating the celebration cakes but once her father is knighted, he fires her and intends to make her marry. Thrown into the mix is the Marquess of Hatbrook, Michael Shield who has his own love affair with sweet treats and stumbles upon Alys in the shop one day. One chance encounter leads to another and suddenly they  are in love but unwilling to admit it etc. This was just a fun story to read with good writing and character development. It was interesting that Ms. Hiestand chose to afflict the Marquess with diabetes.

To Kill A Warlock by H.P. Mallory – For those of you who enjoy fun paranormal mystery stories, and haven’t read H.P. Mallory you must. This particular book is about Dulcie O’Neill, a “regulator” basically a cop for the paranormal species. The story takes place over just a few weeks of Dulcie’s life while she’s trying to solve a murder and gotten wrangled into working with their Relations Office (think Internal Affairs). The story is rife with sexy men from Elves to Vampires a new creature Dulcie didn’t know existed in the form of Knightly Vander, her temporary, new superior from the Relations Office. I really enjoyed Dulcie’s character and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Amanda Rosa by Karen Robards  – Another historical romance. Amanda Rose has been placed in ta convent by her elder half brother and he’s just written that he’s found a husband for her. She takes a midnight walk to think through her plight and stumbles across Matthew Grayson, a wanted criminal who will die if she doesn’t help him. Against her best judgement, and along with a lot of frightening threats from this criminal, she helps him recover from his injuries. They become lovers but are discovered by her brother. This story is about a couple of people with a lot of secrets. I found this tale engrossing and well written. Karen Robards is always a good bet for a nice romance.

Steel Lily by Megan Curd – This book sadly, was a bit disappointing. I really like steampunk which is how this book began but as soon as Avery left her steampunkish Dome, it became more dystopian romance. Avery thought she was leaving her Dome to have a better life but she was really walking into a prettier version of jail. Love interest Jaxon was not described as someone I would think sexy – dredlocks don’t do it for me – so whenever they were mentioned, it broke my concentration. There was a lot of potential here and I think a less mature reader would probably enjoy it much more than I did.

Saved by Lorhainne Eckhart – This story is about Abby, a woman adrift in the ocean and who gets rescued, literally saved, by a US naval Destroyer. Captain Eric, a well-known chauvinist and womanizer falls for this guileless young woman and she for him but neither admits how deep the attraction goes. The Captain comes under investigation for sexual harassment and Abby saves him by being a witness to his innocence. Thus, they save each other. I wish this story had delved into more detail regarding the girl’s plight but this story mostly dwelt on military protocol which was still very interesting. Unfortunately, I didn’t love either character much because of the lack of depth overall. This is a series and it was obviously written with that intent. Since the writing was good, I might be convinced to read the next book in order to find out if the characters develop any further depth.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – Jane EyreI saved the best for last! If you haven’t yet read about the love story between Jane and Mr. Rochester, you must! Click the link below NOW! The story begins with Jane as a young orphan living in her uncle’s home. He is deceased and her aunt has no love for her and neither do her cousins. She is sent off to an institution to be educated and at long last she becomes the governess to a child at Thornfield, home of Mr. Rochester. Over the course of several months, they fall in love but Jane feels she must part with him and runs off into the night. That is only half of Jane’s story and not close to doing it justice. The writing is amazing and very easily understood (I’m comparing to Anna Karenina and Jane Austen’s novels). Jane and Rochester are a delight to read. Their banter was witty and unique and so full of their own personalities, it was a joy to read. Once you read this classic novel, you’ll realize how many authors don’t put nearly enough personality into their characters. I loved this story and it will forever be one of my favorites. Jane Eyre