1001 Islands by K. T. Munson — A Review



1001 Islands by K.T. Munson

RaeleighReads rating: love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236

The sliver of moonlight cast eerie shadows across the deck of The Dark Revenge. The Silence at the helm stood embracing the obscurity. His foreboding presence matched the anticipation aboard the ship, and no one spoke for fear they would break the stillness that encompassed them.

Tonight, everything changed.

The Dark Revenge gained on the Regatta. The raiders said nothing but he could hear the shuffle of taut female clothing and the tension in the air. It hadn’t sensed their existence, and drifted like heedless prey. Princess Roxana slept, unsuspecting of what was hunting her in the inky blackness of the night.

There was only one thing on the minds of The Silence’s crew as they drew near; Hang the Kings, Crown the People.

This was a really hard review for me to write. I wanted to love it, but this ended up being disappointing for me. I thought I was going to get a rip-roaring, swash-buckling adventure, where pirates put their over-seers in their place, but it turned out to be a wishy-washy romance (two romances) novel with a few action scenes that were not nearly satisfying enough, and a few fantasy-esque references. Sad 😦

At the very beginning I was hooked, but as things progressed I kept wondering where my action was and when that amazing opening would come back into play. It did eventually, but it was way too vague. THEN, there’s the whole deal with a captive falling in love with her captor. Stockholm syndrome is not sexy and should not be represented as such. Nope. I don’t care if he was ultimately a “good guy”. This should not be done.

I found the main male characters (yes, there were two), annoying. Both of them. For different reasons, but it is hard to keep yourself going when you don’t like the main characters.

I will say, the writing itself was pretty good (needed another comb-through from a copy editor), and it was a quick, simple read. My update stats (this is a pretty typical timeline for me FYI):

  • January 25, 2018 – Finished Reading
  • January 24, 2018 – 78.0%
  • January 23, 2018 – 60.0%
  • January 22, 2018 – 50.0%
  • January 20, 2018 – 33.0% 
  • January 20, 2018 – 25.0%
  • January 19, 2018 – 16.0%
  • January 19, 2018 – Started Reading

I have a feeling those who like romance novels, and who are not bothered by the questionable use of Stockholm Syndrome, will like this. Everyone else, spend those 4-5 hours reading something else.

Has anyone else read a disappointing novel recently? If you have, please let me know in the comments section below what the novel was and why it was disappointing to you.

Happy reading, friends!


The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye — A Review

26156203The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

RaeleighReads rating: cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3


Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

I am so thankful that the Read Harder Challenge this year instructed us to read, “The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series.” If it hadn’t, I never would have gone hunting for a series I hadn’t hear of yet. Enter:  The Crown’s Game. Not only is this a new-to-me YA series, it is also set in Russia, so it crosses off another Read Harder Challenge, “A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, or South Africa).” Total. Score!

I have been obsessed with Russian history, music/musicians, and fairy tales for ages. So I found this novel enchanting. It’s set in St. Petersburg, with travels to the Steppe and Ovchinin Island. Vika is spunky and determined and an incredible Enchantress with control over natural elements. Nikolai is talented and resilient, and his enchanting has a very artistic bent.

As these stories usually go — during their competition to become the Tsar’s Enchanter, Vika and Nikolai recognize an intense connection between them. The tension resulting from their struggle — wanting to develop the connection they both sense but also wanting to win the competition, makes this a captivating read.

I really, really liked this. I didn’t want it to end! Thank goodness there is a book two. I can’t wait to find out what happens after that EPIC ending!

Read Harder Challenge 2018, #5 A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, or South Africa), and #16 The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series.

Current stats: 6/24

Happy reading everyone!

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle — A Review

13415723A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

RaeleighReads rating: cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3

Following is the synopsis on GoodReads (to refresh your memories 😉 ):

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract”.

Meg’s father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

That opening line, “It was a dark and stormy night…” UGH. That made me cringe. I’m sure I loved it when I was a kid though.

I can’t remember when, precisely, I read this for the first time, but I was much younger. I missed a lot. I remember the fantasy, and I remember liking and hating Meg, especially when Charles Wallace gets trapped on another planet. She was very, very whiny and selfish, and that was irritating to me, even as a child. (It still is.)

What I had forgotten, or perhaps not realized when I first read this, is how overtly religious the text is. I have to say, that really rubbed me the wrong way. I can’t stand preachy literature, and that’s what this felt like, and in a science fiction/fantasy novel no less. I suppose it made sense at the time of publication, but I just can’t see this book coming out today and being well-received by a general audience. Maybe that’s just my own biased opinion — it likely is. Regardless, I think this would only have a place in a Christian book store were it published today.

Despite the religiosity, I was swept up into the fantastical world of tessering and exploring the fifth dimension with Meg and crew. My favorite character was, and remains, Aunt Beast. She just makes me envision warmth and safety, and I love her name! Aunt Beast forever!

Image result for wrinkle in time aunt beast

I’m excited to see the movie when it comes out in March. I think it will be interesting to see how Hollywood interprets this whimsical and antiquated little novel. I decided to read this again this year to check off one of the requirements for the Read Harder 2018 challenge. Actually, it checks off two requirements:  #3, A Classic of Genre Fiction, and #11, A Children’s Classic Published Before 1980.


Read Harder stats: 4/24

The Fire and the Forge by Jack Geurts — A Review

36283631The Fire and the Forge by Jack Geurts

RaeleighReads rating: cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3

Have you ever seen Troy or The Mummy? Well, that’s where my mind’s eye kept going while reading this, except, this is not set in Greece or Egypt. And there are no quippy one-liners, and you definitely do not get to see Brad Pitt’s ass. There is just loads and loads of fire, and So. Much. Fighting., and So. Much. Death, and stupid squabbling gods ruining things for all the regular folks.

So, why the three cups you ask? Normally I like loads of fire, and fighting, and death? You are correct. I do like those things. This book wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t very captivating either. That said, I was at the tail end of a cruise when I started it, and I was getting sick. I got this horrible, yucky cold, and it is still lingering. So, I was taking some pretty heavy duty cold medicine, and I was very, very sleepy. This may or may not have had some affect on my reading of this novel. Just, ya know, as an FYI.

The Fire and the Forge weaves together several different story lines. We meet Gaius and Imharok, blacksmith and apprentice, neither of whom fit in to their town. These two eventually meet a Qo-Hadast (Shadefolk) girl, Asherah, who opens Imharok’s eyes to the larger world stage. There is Caelos, god of fire, and his brother Ferraros, who falls in love with Caelos’ human wife, Libera. Ferraros and Libera sneak off in the night to try to live a normal life, bringing them into contact with one of the characters we’ve already met. Additionally, there are Gaius’ brother and his wife, Claudia, whose importance doesn’t really come into play until the end of the book.

The telling of all of these people’s stories weaves back and forth, from past to present and back again, from one person to another, until at the end, when we finally get to see how all the characters are related. It got a bit confusing at times, and I’m not sure if that’s because the writing was confusing or because I was hopped up on cold medicine. Le sigh.

Anyhoo, apart from the structure, the writing itself is good, but I’m afraid I just found it a rather forgettable and somewhat bland tale. In fact, I had to go back and look things up so I could write this review. The story did not stick with me. It is book one in the Pantheon series, but I have no desire to read the rest of the series. I guess this one just didn’t click with me. The rest of the reviews I read were pretty much raves, so you might want to take that into consideration.

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Hope by Grier Cooper — A Review

26170198Hope by Grier Cooper

RaeleighReads rating: cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3cup-of-coffee3


Dudes! Two romantic books back-to-back! What even is my life right now?

Okay, it’s not really a romance like Hate to Want You, but the main character’s feelings do get put through the wringer when a fellow dancer seems to be interested in her. She starts to like him back, and it seems like they may be starting a relationship, but then…maybe not? And this does-he or doesn’t-he nonsense is really the last thing she needs.

Hope is about the lives of teenage dancers, ballet (obvs), and pushing yourself to be your best you, while still being a decent human being to those around you. Indigo is the main character, a teenager who struggled very hard to gain her spot at the New York School of Ballet. This school is just a stepping stone on her way to becoming a professional dancer. Following are her thoughts at the beginning of Hope.

Here’s what I’ve realized in the one hundred and fifty-one days since I first arrived at the New York School of Ballet:  Every second counts. It isn’t enough to work hard and sweat; there has to be something more. Each moment is a new chance to reach just a little further, move one step closer to perfection.

Indigo and her group of friends struggle to maintain the balance between dance classes, high school classes, friendships, and boys. Felipe is the foreign, and super sexy, boy who seems to like Indigo, and then maybe he doesn’t, and then he definitely does, and then he doesn’t again. C’mon boy! Make up your mind!!!! Pauvre Indigo. 😦 At least he’s a first-rate pas de deux partner!

Image result for ballet gif

Anyways, these professional teenagers are under a huge amount of pressure. Their ultimate goal: to get a job dancing for a good company. Remarkably, most of them make it to the final performance, the workshop they’ve all been busting their buns (pun intended) to be cast in, without completely falling apart.

I really enjoyed reading Hope. It is the second book in Grier Cooper’s Indigo Dreams series. I didn’t read the first book, Wish, but I felt okay going into book two without much background information. Currently, Cooper does not have a book three. I really, really hope that she plans to write one!!!! Hope ends well enough, but I want to know what’s next for Indigo. Does she get a job? Does she tank the workshop and have to find an alternate career? I NEED TO KNOW.

I would recommend this book to those who enjoy YA fiction, stories about ballet (obvi), stories about friendship, and stories about going for your dreams. I will definitely be seeking out the rest of the series. I just cannot resist a well-told story about ballet and dancing. Who am I kidding, I can’t resist anything ballet! Pretty sure my patronus is toe-shoes. 😉

Image result for ballet gif

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.