Cover Makeover Golden Valley Silver Flowers

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This week’s Cover Makeover Challenge is for the recently published book Golden Valley Silver Flowers.

This is the published cover.
This is the published cover.
This is the base photo before it cropping. Since the book involves subject of war, I went with this ghost forest, the remnants of an earthquake in Alaska. It has a certain desolate and destroyed look about it.
This is the base photo before cropping. Since the book involves subject of war, I went with this ghost forest, the remnants of an earthquake in Alaska. It has a certain desolate and destroyed look about it.
I cut this house out of the photo and placed it in the original photo. Then I took a second house, placed it upside down in the lake and faded it a bit to make it look like a reflection.
I cut this house out of the photo and placed it in the original photo. Then I took a second house, placed it upside down in the lake and faded it a bit to make it look like a reflection.
These white azalea blooms are from this spring in the front yard, cut from the photograph and placed in the sky to add a touch of life in the midst the death of war.
These white azalea blooms are from this spring in the front yard, cut from the photograph and placed in the sky to add a touch of life and romance in the midst the death of war.

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Sponsored by Lucile de Godoy and DesleyJaneGo HERE for all the cover’s for last weeks challenge!   

library croppedCover Makeover Artist: Toby

The Darkest Part of the Forest

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The Darkest Part of the Forest

Holly Black
Little, Brown and Company, 2015

Hazel lives with her non-attentive parents and big brother Ben in a town where fairies and monsters coexist with humans. It is a place where the town residents are usually safe but tourists and outsiders are fair game for all sorts of mean fey. Growing up Hazel fancied herself a knight and together with Ben’s musical talents they fought monsters in the forest. In the middle of the forest lies a glass coffin where a beautiful horned boy has slept for hundreds of years. One night he is awakened and seeks out the brother and sister to fulfill his destiny.

MAIN CHARACTERS:
• Hazel, a reckless teenager, wakes up one morning to find herself covered in mud and sticks with glass in her fingers. When she gets to school that morning she finds out the latest gossip: the elf-boy asleep in the forest has either woken up or his body has been stolen because his glass coffin is destroyed.
• Ben, older brother to Hazel and a senior in high school, was touched by a fey woman when he was just a babe and was given the talent of being able to play music that could stop a monster in its tracks. But after a tragedy at school, he broke his own hand in such a way that he could never play music again.
• Sevrin, the horned prince in the glass coffin, both alluring and dangerous, weaves a terrifying story of sorrow, murder and a hope for redemption to Ben, who falls tragically in love with him.
• Jack, a changeling, fey by birth but brought up by human parents, is best friends with Ben and Hazel, leads Hazel to dangerous places where they both must confront their hidden selves – an each other.

SECONDARY CHARACTERS:
• Alderking, the fey king with whom Hazel makes a bargain and must sacrifice 7 years of her life to him. Little does she know that 7 years lasts longer that she expected.
• The Monster at the Heart of the Forest, aka, Sorrow, aka Sorrel, a fey who married a mortal man but when he died she grieved so deeply that she became the embodiment of grief itself.

I enjoyed reading this book; the story moves along quickly and has just a touch of romance (which is about all I am able to tolerate) and the few violent scenes are necessary to the story but not overly graphic. As I was reading it I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr. Of the two stories, I do prefer Wicked Lovely as that story-line grabbed my emotions and wrung them dry; whereas this story, while enjoyable, did not engage my feelings at all. Also, I am always disappointed when an author spends two- or three-hundred pages building a story only to have it resolved in the space of a few pages. I felt a little shortchanged because I had invested my time in reading the book and then, “wham-o” it’s all over. For those reasons I must give it a. . .

Rating of 3 out of 5 paws.

We read this book as a part of the Summer Reading Challenge – Category: Read a Book Your Friend Recommends because our Auntie recommended it.

100_2282Reviewer: Piper

FD8E3382 Holly Black

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Desert Tales

 

 

Desert Tales, a Wicked Lovely novel

Melissa Marr

Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2013

Desert Tales is a side story to the Wicked Lovely series. Its’ place in time is during Keenan’s disappearance and just after his reappearance in Huntsdale. As Summer King he is seeking ways to strengthen his court and after decades of absence he seeks out Rika in the desert to ask for her allegiance. Typically, he doesn’t realize just how angry Rika still is with him for tricking her into becoming a faery. Once Rika was freed from her Winter burden she fled to the desert and lives life as a solitary fey. Her only friend is Sionnach, the Desert Alpha – not a king but one who keeps the solitaries in line. Rika falls in love with a mortal and is (quite unwillingly) drawn into Desert politics and infighting.

Main characters

·         Rika, former mortal who was one of the many girls Keenan manipulated into taking the “test” to see if she was his queen; when she wasn’t she became the Winter Girl until Donia came along. When she was finally freed from winter, she  retreated to the desert to live in near seclusion, nursing her anger and grudges at Keenan

·         Sionnach (pronounced shy-knock), a fox faery complete with pointed ears and a tail. Just like the creature he takes after, he is sly, sneaky and manipulative.

·         Jayce , a 18 year old mortal boy, the object of Rika’s affection, as well as an artist, rock climber, and skateboarder.

Secondary characters

·          Maili, troublesome faery who challenges Sionnach and Rika over being Alpha

·         Keenan, Summer King visits Rika several times trying to enlist her help in ruling the desert faeries

·         Donia, Winter Queen, she took the cold from Rika and became Winter Girl in Rika’s place. Rika enlists her help in keeping Keenan away from the desert.

New  characters

·          Del & Kayley, Jayce’s friends, typical mortals.

 I enjoyed this book a lot. It didn’t have all the crazy plot lines of the main series nor as many characters or agendas. After the rollercoaster ride that is the Wicked Lovely series (but nonetheless still a good ride), Desert Tales was like a palate cleanser for the mind; it sort of finalized the series in a way Darkest Mercy was unable to. Both Rika and Sionnach are completely likeable and I hoped they would end up together after Rika gets over her mortal-puppy love.  It was originally published as a manga trilogy and I am glad Ms Marr put it all together in one non-manga book.  Great as a stand-alone novel, Desert Tales is a worthy read.

Rating: 4 Paws for Sionnach, one really cool fairy, even if he is in the likeness of a fox!

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laura close up 2 Reviewer:  Laura

 

Manga Series

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Wicked Lovely - Rika Color by xiannustudio   Wicked Lovely - Shy Color by xiannustudio   Wicked Lovely - Jace Color by xiannustudio

Courtesy xiannstudio

 

 

Darkest Mercy

Darkest Mercy

Melissa Marr

Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2011

Finally we come to the end of the Wicked Lovely saga. With Faerie safely sealed off, the Winter, Summer and Dark Courts are left to duke it out with the queen of madness herself, Bananach. In the beginning Keenan is off in search of allies but he returns in time for War. Niall goes around the bend because of Irial’s injury and cages Seth – literally – in a giant bird cage suspended from the ceiling. Leslie (Ink Exchange) makes a timely reappearance and the love triangle that is Keenan-Aislinn-Donia is finally resolved. Favorite characters are lost, never to return and more than one who dies returns to live another day. And, as if that isn’t enough chaos for everyone to contend with, add in a death fey stalking the regents and their courts and you get a book that is exhilarating and very satisfying.

Main characters –

·         All of the original characters are back in this final book – Keenan, Niall, Irial, Aislinn, Seth, Donia, Bananach, Gabriel

Secondary characters –

·          Sorcha, Devlin and Leslie make only a brief appearance;

·         Evan, Donia’s advisor

.          Tavish, Aislinn’s advisor

New characters –

·         Innis, a water faery who agrees to an alliance with Keenan

·         Far Dorcha, a Death Fey, is in town to collect a specific faery

·         Ankou, who is Far Dorcha’s sister,  collects the bodies of the dead 

 

**SPOILER ALERT**

So I read this book in one 4-hour marathon sitting. It was that good. I read it so quickly that I may have to go back and reread parts of it but the series concluded beautifully. Aislinn finally grew into her own as Summer Queen – especially after Keenan gave her the full force of Summer because she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, commit herself only to him. Instead he chose to become a solitary fey so he could be with Donia. With the full force of summer, Aislinn was the one who dealt the death blow to Bananach. I admit I teared up when Irial died but rejoiced when he was brought back to life. Oh, and when Keenan gave up his winter side for mortally wounded Donia (remember Keenan was born of both winter and summer) to survive, I felt a pang of sorrow. Far Dorcha allowed him to live as well, but only as a mortal. And true to his former summer nature, Keenan wasn’t worried about being a mortal with a finite life; he loved Donia and if all he had was a short time he was going to make the best of it. (I will hold the Epilogue twist back and so I don’t spoil an even better surprise!)

All in all, this was an excellent series of books, one I am sure to read again. The characters were well formed, beautifully written and incredibly frustrating at times. I do love a book where I either love or hate a character! It adds so much to the whole experience.

Rating: 5 paws for the book and 5 paws for the whole series because of the emotional rollercoaster ride I have been on for the last couple of weeks. Outstanding!!

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 laura close up 2Reviewer: Laura

In case you missed them, here is the whole series:

Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely, #1) Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely, #2) Fragile Eternity (Wicked Lovely, #3) Radiant Shadows (Wicked Lovely, #4) Darkest Mercy (Wicked Lovely, #5)

 Desert Tales: A Wicked Lovely Companion Novel   I’m reading this now – so expect a review soon!

Faery Tales & Nightmares  This is the book I read that got me interested in the Wicked Lovely series! I’ll have to read it again now that I understand the world of Faery.

  Melissa Marr

Radiant Shadows

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Radiant Shadows

Melissa Marr

Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins, 2010

 Another chapter in the Wicked Lovely Saga, Radiant Shadows focuses once again on the darker side of Faerie with the Ani, whom we met briefly in Ink Exchange and a half-mortal, half-faery, being in more danger than she realizes. There is something quite special about her, something that the High Queen, Sorcha foresaw when Ani was but a child. Sorcha saw Ani as a threat and sent her assassin, Devlin to kill her. But one of the few times in his long life he ever disobeyed his queen, Devlin chose to save Ani instead and hid her from Sorcha. Now Ani has come into her own and growing more faery every day. She is used by Irial to find a solution to the Dark Court faeries feeding problems, hunted by Bananach because she refused to do what the mad War faery wanted her to do and Devlin is falling madly in love with her. Meanwhile, Faerie is disappearing because Sorcha is unwell. Devlin must protect Ani and heal Sorcha. He can’t do both, or can he? Ah, the turmoil!

Main characters –

  • Ani, a Halfling, half-mortal and half-faery, a rare combination of both, so rare that she is a threat to Sorcha and a weapon for Bananach to use against her sister
  • Devlin, the Queen’s Bloody Hands, created by both Sorcha and Bananach, “a thing of extreme cruelty and extreme beauty.”
  • Irial, former Dark Court King, still trying to find a way to keep his former court fed
  • Sorcha, Queen of the High Court, “she was order and life…reason personified, sure of her place, certain of her righteousness.”
  • Bananach, twin sister to Sorcha and her extreme opposite, also known as War and Chaos

 

Secondary characters –

  • Niall, Dark Court King, central to the survival of Faerie
  • Rabbit, brother to Ani, a Halfling, and tattoo artist who helped Irial with Leslie in Ink Exchange
  • Tish, sister to Ani and Rabbit, another Halfling, but more mortal than faery
  • Seth, mortal-made-faery by Sorcha who considers him her son and falls ill for want of him
  • Gabriel, leader of the Hunt, father to Ani and her siblings, Niall’s assassin

New characters –

  • Rae, a dreamwalker  and spectral young woman in Faerie who knows the future but is bound to keep it a secret from her only friend, Devlin
  • Barry, Ani’s steed – a creature who can take any form it wishes for the purpose of transporting the Hounds

I enjoyed this book very much. Devlin, in spite of his violent nature, is very likeable as in Ani and it was good to get to know more about the Dark Court’s Hounds that feature in every book. I also didn’t feel like slapping Ani upside the head like I have felt with other female characters in this series. Her inner struggle with her mortal and faery sides was written so that I empathized with her and hoped fervently she wouldn’t die (she didn’t). Devlin, too, struggled with his chaotic and reason inner selves and in a twist I didn’t see coming – at all – he was able to resolve them without his death either. As a couple I really liked these two and hope in the final book, Darkest Mercy, they survive.

My rating 4 paws for Ani not succumbing to the emotional wishy-washyness that drives me crazy!

laura pawlaura pawlaura pawlaura paw

laura headshot Reviewer: Laura

 Wolves feature heavily in the book

 Barry’s favorite form

Irial from Wicked Lovely by AdoraLynn Irial, fan art

Ani by AdiaRoseFire Ani, fan art

 Devlin, fan art

Wicked Lovely: Seth + Sorcha by angel-gidget  Sorcha & Seth, fan art

  Bananach, fan art