Sphinx’s Princess

6135633.jpgSphinx’s Princess by Esther M. Friesner

Guess what, guys? We’re delving back into Ancient Egypt once again!

By this point that probably doesn’t come as a surprise…

Sphinx’s Princess is a retelling/origin story of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti, one of the most famous–and mysterious–female figures in Ancient Egyptian history. She is most known for her part in religious heresy with her second husband Akhenaten, but Sphinx’s Princess follows Nefertiti (meaning ‘the beautiful woman has come’) in her life before even her first husband. Nefertiti’s family is conned by her beyotch of an aunt into marrying her to the crown prince Thutmose but make a deal to delay the wedding so the novel focuses on Nefertiti’s trials and tribulations in the palace with the royal family. Continue reading

Tangled Webs

18368525Tangled Webs by Lee Bross

Before we begin, I have something very important to show you all. Now, if you’ll please direct your attention slightly to the left of this screen…

LOOK AT THAT COVER!

I should know better by now than to go judging things by covers–but really, I think we’d all be lying if we tried to deny it–but this was just impossible to resist! Couple that with promises of blackmail and merchant ships and and eighteenth-century secrets and ohhhhhhhhh man. Come to mama!

(PS. I already regret that last sentence).

It really is a crying shame that appearences are so deceiving. Like a good politician, Tangled Webs left me so many empty promises. Exhibit A: the cover may be amazing but the book inside is mediocre. Continue reading

Graceling

3236307Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Anyone else remember all the hype Graceling got YEARS ago?

I’d assumed it was an exaggeration–isn’t most hype?–but I was wrong. I was very wrong.

IMMA GO AHEAD AND HYPE IT UP ALL OVER AGAIN NOW 8 YEARS AFTER THE FACT BECAUSE IT’S JUST. SO. GOOD!

Graceling follows the teenage assassin of the king whose special magical skill, her Grace of killing makes her largely unconquerable. But then she meets Prince Po whose fighting Grace makes him the closest to an even match she’s ever experienced. So when Po leaves to investigate a sinister magical plot on the other side of their world, Katsa joins him on his journey. What follows is a sometimes harrowing tale of a mysterious king, a secret power, an entire kingdom corrupted thanks to one man’s powerful lie and the pairing set to right it all. Continue reading

Doon

17745703Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon

So good so good so so so good!

Doon‘s synopsis promised pretty much everything I’d like. Scotland? Magic? Medieval castles? Princes? Romance? Best friends? Basically all of my favourite things to read wrapped up in one paperback package? And it came to me with a lot of hype, but for some reason despite all this I just…never read it.

BUT NOW I HAVE AND IT WAS GRAND.

The story follows Vee and Kenna, two best friends who are spending summer at Kenna’s late aunt’s home in Alloway, Scotland. Vee’s been seeing an apparition of sorts of a hot blonde Scotsman everywhere and it’s her ‘hallucinations’, a mysterious letter, and a magical set of rings that send she and Kenna over the Brig O’ Doon and into the magical hidden kingdom of Doon. But of course, as with any good magic kingdom, evil is awakening and the girls must find a way to stop it or risk destroying Doon and being trapped in its ruins forever. Dun dun dunnnnn. Continue reading

Unrivaled

26116460Unrivaled by Alyson Noël

The degree to which I was dreading reading this book just proves how moronic I must be.

You see, I read the first two books of Noël’s The Immortals series and had to stop. There was something about the writing, I thought, that I just wasn’t fond of so when I finished book two and seriously disliked it I thought it best to steer clear of her books since they must just not be for me. Then Unrivaled came along with it’s pretty gold-dripping strawberry cover and featured position on that fateful Costco table and suddenly I found myself walking out of the store, book in hand, despite the fact that a) it’s by an author I don’t like, b) the synopsis is not a book I’d typically enjoy, and c) reviewers compared it to the PLL books which I gave up after #1 because I didn’t like them. Basically I only bought it because it looked pretty so when a BookTubeAThon challenge was to read a book you got for the cover, I knew this was it. And I whined about the prospect of having to get through it.

That was a spectacular misjudgement on my part because oh my stars Unrivaled is. so. good! Continue reading

Heartless

18584855Heartless by Marissa Meyer

I seriously underestimated Heartless.

To be entirely honest, at first there was a part of me that didn’t even want to read the book. I know Alice in Wonderland, I know the Queen of Hearts–do I really just want my heart broken?

The answer is yes, yes indeed I do. Rip it out, tear it to shreds, stomp on it, throw it in a volcano. Or worse. I don’t care. Meyer can do whatever the hell she wants to me if she keeps churning out these masterpieces. C’est magnifique! *chef’s kiss*

The basics: Cath’s a supremely skilled aspiring baker whose status as the daughter of a marquess proves a massive hindrance in her dream of opening a bakery with her maid/best friend, Mary Ann (the name ring a bell?). Mummy dearest is dead-set on Cath marrying the pint-sized king but then Cath meets the insanely intriguing court jester named Jest who drives her mad with forbidden feelings that make her lose her head and her heart. Meanwhile, the nasty Jabberwock is picking off the Wonderlanders and no one really does anything to stop it, least of all the useless king. Add to that the whole side mission from Chess, a raven that quoth ‘Nevermore,’ and Cirque du Soleil-level theatrics and we’re all bound to go a little mad here. Continue reading

Forbidden

18889290Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

So it seems I’ve been on a bit of a Middle/Near Eastern kick lately, this time delving into the scorching world of an ancient Mesopotamian desert! Forbidden is at its core a love story about sixteen year old Jayden who despite her betrothal to her tribe’s sadistic and violent prince of sorts, falls in love with exotic stranger Kadesh. Her mom is gone, her sister is too preoccupied with the sex cult of a new goddess to be of much. assistance, her betrothed is cruel, and her love is forbidden so basically everything she know is falling apart.

This book was good; not great but not bad either, just good. For one, it’s essentially the same story I’ve read a thousand times (albeit with a new setting and original twist which is why I picked it up in the first place) I found that for majority of the novel it felt little else was going on with Jayden than her already-established issues regarding her upcoming nuptials to Herob and mixed feelings about Kadesh. Continue reading

Recreated

27774409Recreated by Colleen Houck

Recreated is another one of those surprising instances where the second in a trilogy is much better than the first.

If any of you read my review of Reawakened last year you’ll know that I did not feel it did my dear beloved Egyptian mythology justice. Or, rather, my too-many frustrations with the MCs rendered me unable to enjoy the history. If it weren’t that Egyptian mythology is basically never used in any form of text nowadays (*wink wink* *nudge nudge* authors!) and my undying love for (read: obsession with) Ancient Egypt, Recreated probably would have been one of those sequels that got put on my TBR list just because I don’t like not finishing series and then remained mysteriously unread until I forgot about it. Not that that’s happened before. Haha. Ha. Nope…

A thousand thanks to the old gods and the new for depriving me enough of Egyptian goodness that I was forced to read this. Please accept the sacrifice of a virtual goat in tribute for my thanks. Continue reading

The Wrath and the Dawn

18798983The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

All it took was opening the cover for The Wrath and the Dawn to DESTROY ME.

You know how sometimes they print an excerpt on the first page of a book, before the title and the copyright and the actual story start?

THAT. That is all I read. And I just…dissolved.

THIS BOOK IS FANTASTIC! BEYOND FANTASTIC! SO FANTASTIC I’M AT SUCH A LOSS FOR WORDS I JUST KEEP SAYING ‘FANTASTIC’!

The Wrath and the Dawn is a retelling of (more so inspired by) the old Middle Eastern story One Thousand and One Nights or The Arabian Nights. In the original story, the basis is that the caliph takes a new wife every night only to kill her by morning until he marries Shaharzad who each night captivates him with a story. By leaving each tale unfinished every night she manages to keep the caliph so intrigued for 1001 nights that he doesn’t kill her. This is the part that Ahdieh takes into The Wrath and the Dawn, as well as her own versions of the traditional tales, but the rest is an entirely new world and an altogether mesmerizing new creation. And it is–wait for it!–FANTASTIC! Continue reading

The Fire Wish

16123804The Fire Wish by Amber Lough

You ever find a hidden gem on the bargain bookshelf? This is one of them.

The Fire Wish follows two girls from very different worlds in the (I think Ancient? Or medieval?) Middle East. Zayele is a human girl forced into an unwanted marriage with the young prince of the caliphate in Baghdad while Najwa is a jinni hiding from humans in underground caverns with a peculiar ability to breach the palace’s magical wards. By chance encounter the two meet and Zayele, desperate to escape her betrothal, makes a desperate wish on Najwa to switch places. And because making magical wishes on errant genies is such a fantastic and not at all dangerous ordeal, Zayele gets what she wants…in a totally wrong, completely dangerous, 100% so-not-worth-it-way-but-also-kind-of-necessary way. Continue reading