#BookReview : The Way Home (Ashes of Olympus #1) by Julian Barr @OdysseyBooks #AshesofOlympus #TheWayHome

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The Way Home (Ashes of Olympus #1) by Julian Barr
Publication Date: July 31st 2018
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Genre: Greek Mythology
Stars: ★★★★☆

The gods betray you.

The winds are hunting.

Nowhere is safe.

The journey begins…

The war of the gods has left Aeneas’s country in flames. Though he is little more than a youth, Aeneas must gather the survivors and lead them to a new homeland across the roaring waves. Confronted by twisted prophecies, Aeneas faces the wrath of the immortals to find his own path.

First in a trilogy based on Virgil’s epic poetry, Ashes of Olympus: The Way Home is a tale of love and vengeance in an age of bronze swords and ox-hide shields. 

*** Note: I received e-copy this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Odyssey Books. ***

The Way Home was Greek Mythology, a story of Trojan hero, Aeneas, and his journey to find a new homeland when Troy fell by Greek warriors led by Odyssey. It was about love and vengeance, strife between goddesses, dangerous prophecy, and Gods’ politics. As mentioned in synopsis, it’s a retelling of Virgil’s epic poetry- Aeneid.

We all know how Odyssey led Greek warriors within the walls of Troy by hiding in horse but what happened after that, after they destroyed Troy from within. Well this story told about it wonderfully.

So much happened in the beginning. A roaring fire was set in Troy by Greeks, Gods turned against people of Troy, King and heirs of Troy were perished. A deity was saving Aeneas from being killed.  It was clear he was not ordinary human, he was a demigod but he didn’t know about it until tragedy struck. (I googled so I know, who was his mother)

Few people survived by bravery of a commoner and Aeneas led survivors out of Troy. Survivors were relying on him, they already considered him their king but he was skeptical, he was not made to rule people and was drowned in his own grief. A help of a spirit, and a mercenary and faith of people encouraged him to lead them and find a new homeland. But safe heaven never comes without path through hell.

Writing was simple and easy to follow. The story was third person narrative mostly from Aeneas’s perspective and some chapters were from Hera’s perspective as well. I didn’t know Hera had huge part in Trojan war until I read this book. Her perspective was most intriguing. I couldn’t figure out why she was so adamant on destroying all heirs of Troy until her visit to Apollo. I must say she was most cunning goddess. Aeneas’ perspective was all about their journey and adventure. Each chapters ended with a twist or turn that kept me hooked to story.

Characters, both Gods and Humans, were great in the story. I have read about Greek Gods so didn’t have any trouble recognizing gods or their characteristics or their relations, but first timers may struggle a bit. There is just enough information that one can figure out who is who. You don’t get to know characters in depth as so much was going on but you can tell how they felt and how things affected them by their action here.  And I’m just telling about Aeneas.

Aeneas was just 19 year old, with a son. He was not ready to take responsibility he was forced into by destiny. At the same time he was humble and courageous enough to lead people as leader, as their own and as a friend. He quickly made friends, gained trust of survivors and made right decisions, mostly. I could empathize with him and his emotions felt genuine. His development was great. He turned into braver, wiser, and a true leader by the end.

In secondary characters, Mnestheos, Sergetos and Beroe were my favorite. There wasn’t much story for them but I liked them from their little intro and their conversations with Aeneas. I agree with Aeneas’ thoughts in the end. They were true hero, without them, he wouldn’t have reached so far. While we are speaking about hero, I tell you Aeneas was no Hercules. He didn’t have that strength or could fight monsters alone, and like him he wasn’t son of three big Gods. His strength lied in his people and heart. 

Their journey through sea was the best part of the book. It was arduous, many fell ill, they were attacked on the lands, and winds were hunting them. It was admirable how Aeneas and his companions’ spirit was not discouraged. They faced all the challenges with brave heart and determination.  And another favorite part was Aeneas’ conversation with Andromache was insightful. I loved the way she told story of Trojan war.

Climax was tense and action packed. So much happened between climax and end. I’m still thinking about how that fight ended, how much a right choice could change, bring peace and change the direction of prophecy. It showed humans, specifically demigods, are just pawns of Gods’ game. I loved Aeneas’ meeting with his mother and the choice he made and that last conversation between God and goddess. End had a tiny winey cliffhanger. I would love to see what happens in next book.

Why 4 Stars-

I get the depth of story and conversion. I wish there was more depth to characters. As I said, I could understand what characters were feeling by their action but it didn’t touch the heart. They were forgettable.

Overall, it was interesting, entertaining and adventurous mythical fantasy. Readers of any age who loves Greek Mythology will enjoy it.

Book Links: Goodreads
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What do you think about the book and my review?
Have you read this book already or any book by the same author?
Are you going to add it to TBR?
Which is you favorite retelling based on Greek mythology?

HAPPY READING!!

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#BlogTour #Excerpt : Limited Truth by Kay Bennson @YABOUNDTOURSPR

Hello readers! Today I’m happy to share excerpt as a part of blog tour for this interesting Sci-Fi, Limited Truth by Kay Bennson. Check out the book details and tour-wide giveaway in this post. I hope you enjoy it.

Limited Truth by Kay Bennson
Release Date: February 2018
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Genre: YA Sci-fi/Speculative Fiction

Synopsis:

WAR GAME XRI

YOUR SCHOOL. YOUR HONOR. YOUR DUTY.

These words have more meaning than fourteen-year-old Cassie Routhier and her classmates can comprehend when a strange group called the Chi Rho Iota Corporation take over their high school. Suddenly, they are thrust into a state of the art war simulation that is supposed to prepare them for World War III.

It doesn’t take long for rules to be broken, for people to fight dirty, and for it to seem like something is amiss with the federally mandated simulation. Cassie and her squad are faced with discovering the intentions of the Chi Rho Iota Corporation as well as partaking in a war game that claims to be harmless when it’s anything but safe.

Nothing is as it seems in LIMITED TRUTH.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt:

“Good morning!” Owen called over the crowd. “And good luck.” He turned and faced the principals. “If the principals would shake hands.”

“Wait!” I shouted, alarmed. “That’s it? They’re just going to start it?”

For once Patrick had nothing snarky or sarcastic to say. He looked terrified, his face as white as a ghost. This was really happening and there was nothing we could do about it.

“Students, face each other.”

I looked over my shoulder at Kara and Jared. Their hands were interlaced, bodies ready to spring.

“Enter the simulation now.”

The tingling sensation was back as I pressed the button on my I.D. bracelet with a trembling hand. Just like the day before, the outside edges of the high school disappeared with a blue ripple and the vivid colors returned, but I was too scared now to enjoy them.

Owen’s voice continued to give instructions: “Turn on all weapons.” The sound of tasers activating became a dull roar while the excess electricity seemed to dissolve into air already thick with expectancy. I clutched my weapon tightly as I watched Aaron several feet away twirl his taser in his hand in anticipation. I knew the only way Squad Treble stood a chance was to never let our weapons go.

Owen, the woman, and the principals moved toward the Super Children, out of the way of the battle about to take place. I looked to Patrick who held onto his staff like his life depended on it. It would have been so easy to watch him run to his own demise, but I couldn’t do it—I was too terrified to be alone. Despite everything I felt, I knew I had to follow him to that supply shed or be eliminated as I stood there in fear.

“Prepare to battle! Ready…”

Patrick gave me a curt nod as he got into position, ready to run. I took one last glance around, trying to remember partnerships and positions, even faces I recognized from other squads, just in case.

“Set…”

I took a deep breath and attempted to focus; what happened now would set the stage for everything else. A moment’s hesitation and it could all be over. I had to believe I would make it longer than that. I had gone toe-to-toe with a Chi Rho Iota lackey. Knock out in the first few minutes was not an option.

You know that feeling when someone is watching you and you can feel it? I turned my head just in time to see Brayden’s soft brown eyes looking at me. His face was grave, and it made my heart palpitate. I would have been elated had my time not run out.

Go!”

Purchase Link:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Limited-Truth-Squad-Treble-Novel-ebook/dp/B079X3CTPP/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1578189731&sr=8-4

About the Author:

Kay Bennson is from Northwestern Connecticut where she lives with her husband and son. She doesn’t remember a time where she wasn’t writing stories (in fact, some of her best ideas were forged in high school classes and at part time jobs). When she isn’t writing, she enjoys video games, Irish dance, gymnastics, and fanfiction.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

GIVEAWAY: 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/252a033c2/

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Happy Reading!!

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#Review : Currently by Sarah Mensinga

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Currently by Sarah Mensinga
Publication date: December 27th 2018
Publisher: Chattersketch Press
Genre: Fantasy / Steampunk / Sci-fi
Pages: 364
Stars: ★★★★★

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Every year, Nerene’s village shelters in Varasay City while the surrounding lands flood. Yet Varasay only protects those who obey its laws, and after Nerene’s boyfriend Sande starts a riot, he’s in danger of being cast out. Nerene manages to contact Lord Osperacy, a traveling thief with enough power and money to save Sande, but he’ll only help Nerene if she agrees to work for him.

Eager to save her boyfriend, Nerene takes the job. Yet working for Lord Osperacy means leaving Sande behind in Varasay City. It also means tolerating Lord Osperacy’s children who have a supernatural ability to make others do as they wish, an ability the family uses to manipulate and steal.

Just as Nerene begins to despair that she’ll never see Sande again, she meets Cressit, a wealthy, charming musician. Cressit offers to help Nerene reunite with Sande, but she’s not sure he can be trusted. He has a strange interest in the Osperacy family, and he seems to know more about Nerene than he should.

Even worse, the more time Nerene spends with Cressit, the less she thinks about Sande…

*** Note: I received this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Sarah for this beautiful book. ***

Currently was mix of steampunk, fantasy and mythical creature. It revolved around Nerene, her survival in the world filled with slavery, trickery and injustice, her love for her boyfriend and dangerous journey she boarded to keep him safe. It was about social injustice, survival, power, politics, trust, betrayal, friendship, and love; and Siren lore.

That synopsis was perfect. It covers enough without giving away what you are into and its best that way. The book was slow burner and steady paced. It took its time in world-building, characterization and their development. Writing was great. Easy to follow, gripping and filled with emotions. The world-building was best in the book. I loved all the places, unique name and social structure. The description was vivid and impressive. I wish there was a map of Varasay city and the rout they followed.

The book was told from Nerene’s captivating voice and was divided in three parts-

First part was about Nerene and her boyfriend, Snade. Village they lived in, their struggling poor life, how they survived the tide when their village was flooded and their shelter up on the mountain in Varasay city; the priests who called themselves God, their many unfair rules and injustice towards deeplanders (people like Nerene dwelling in villages that are flooded every year); Snade’s protest towards the slavery they were forced into and how that changed their life.

It was emotional to read Nerene’s story and her situation. I felt for her and I could see why she was always cautious, tried to follow rules, and wanted safe and certain life for her and Snade. While Snade was her antipode- rash, reckless, lawbreaker who wanted to run away with Nerene from Varasay, and for that he would do anything. I liked him in this first part. He was brave and bold, spontaneous and smart. It was sad to see what happened to both of them after his stunt in factory. Story took interesting turn from this point.

Second Part was all about Nenrene’s journey through various cities and ports with Osperacy family. I was curious to know more about Osperacys. Melily, Lord Osperacy’s daughter was spoilt teenager, moody, selfish, and her tantrums were difficult to handle. It was Nerene’s job to keep her in control which was amusing. It got her into lot of trouble and also led her to Cressit. Cressit was superstar musician and singer who was filthy rich, selfish but not as much, and tricked Nerene to get what he wanted. There more to both of these character. As I read more about Melily I understood she mostly acted bad to Nerene out of jealousy. She yearned for love and companion. Nobody paid her attention or talked to her about her feelings. While Cressit was actually nicer. As I was reading through Nerene’s eye, I had my doubts towards all characters but Cressit always felt good, no matter what his intentions were or how much the emotions around him was fake or real. What I liked most in this part was Osperacy’s secrets and many illegal things he and his family was involved in, and their supernatural abilities.

Third part and climax was not that separated. Many things were included in this part. Escape plan, Villains following their trail, survival, action. It was tense, exciting, nuanced, and filled with emotions. Characters developed a lot by this point and we see lot of change in them. Most amazing was, Melily’s development. I loved the strong bond formed between her and Nerene, and some more interesting things related to her abilities. It was life altering for characters and I loved the way story took turn from this point till the end.

The insight was great. I found Nerene’s unwavering nature commendable. It was at some point unbelievable, if I was in her place I wouldn’t hesitate from harming the villain but she was such a righteous, law abiding person who followed her conscience all the time. That’s what it said about the story and characters- doing right thing, following conscience takes courage. They wouldn’t be in this situation if Snade has not started riot or Cressite came out clean and many more, there is always an alternative to the rash and reckless path that didn’t involve harming and hurting other or even worst killing; It tells about the power and its greed and manipulation.

I didn’t like Nenrene’s step just before end. Her reason was understandable but it didn’t feel satisfyingandthat End was shocking. I actually expected a closure, but now it left me curious, thinking of all possibilities. An epilogue would have ended it but I guess there might be a continuation and I may get some back and future story in next book, if author decides to write it.

Overall, it was interesting and wonderful novel with impressive world. If you like to read book involving Sirens, you would want to read this. I definitely recommend this book to fantasy and steampunk lovers.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon

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What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book already? Have you read a book featuring Sirens or flooded world? Which is your favorite steampunk book?

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#Review : Era of Undying by Emilie Knight

Era of Undying by Emilie Knight
Publication Date: January 19th 2018 by Createspace
Genre: Fantasy / Mythology
Pages: 202
Stars: ★★★★☆

There hasn’t been a Blood Warrior for decades. Everyone assumed they were extinct and couldn’t return. Turns out they were just in hiding. Pen chose to revert back to her nomadic life after the death of her family. Life was always safer that way, away from people. Now she’s been caught and odd occurrences have been happening in Ichorisis. People are surviving horrible injuries and illnesses that they shouldn’t be. Now that Pen is under custody of one of the several kings she’s been sent to fix the problem. Whether she wants to or not. 

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. ***

Era of Undying revolved around a blood warrior- Pen and her survival in the world where blood warrior were extinct, her nomadic life and adventures in the Undying world. It was about grief, guilt, accepting death and loss of loved ones, righting the wrong and adventure.

Characters

Pen was strong, independent and fearless fighter but she was loner. Her pain of loss and guilt was undying and empathetic. Her blood magic was interesting and awed me. As I read her story I could see her gift from her perspective, it was more like curse than blessing. Her denial of death and yearn to get her loved ones back was understandable but as she got more close to her mission, she could see the right thing and started to accept the truth and reality. If you like your heroine fierce, practical and who doesn’t go down easily, you will love her.

Captain Tellus was great in the book. He had morals, ethics, was great fighter, and trusted man of king. He was stern and influential but was soft at heart. He didn’t judge Pen for what she has done and listened her story and understood her emotion. I liked him for that. He stood up for her even though he could easily turn back. I wished to see something develop between Tellus and Pen but alas, there is not romance, just friendship.

Characters were developed but they were reckless. Their story was most interesting. I liked some side characters even though they were not exactly likable.

What I Liked-

Books was third person narrative. Writing was easy to read, easy to imagine the world and follow the story. Book was fast paced and pretty short that one can read in one sitting. Plot and the world was impressive. Author drives readers right into the world of undying and blood magic.

Book started with Pen trying to rob in the countryside of Ichorisis, she got caught and ended up in prison. To be free her only option was follow king’s order, go on mission with captain Telllus to find out why people are not dying, what caused this undying era.

Their journey was adventurous and action-packed. They had to find their path based on the myth, follow the river towards its source, the land of dead, find the goddess of death, and restore the world to normal. They had to pass through thieves, thugs, bandits and cannibals who did everything to make their journey interesting and difficult.

I liked the world. People with different hair colors, interesting names for places- Ichorisis, Acheron, Skiachora, Stymphalia, Potamus, Kalymnos and some more. Most interesting was Pen’s blood magic and the main theme of the book, undying which intrigued me read more, to find out what actually happened and how Pen and Tellus are going to restore normalcy. Some scenes were dark gruesome. There was lot of blood spilling, killing, severing limbs and beheading and people not dying didn’t help. It made things even more gruesome.

I liked the message behind the story. Death is sad and miserable thing but not dying is not the blessing, at least not for those who are suffering from disease or infection or with severed limbs and heads. Both Pen and Tellus saw people’s torment and agony on their journey and through their perspective we get to know even death is important in life and so is accepting the death of loved ones, accepting natural order of life cycle.

Twist and turns and suspense was nicely written. I couldn’t guess where story was going, what might have happened, and reason of undying until the climax. The answers were surprising. End was sad and tragic, not exactly what I expected.

Why 4-

Everything was good, nicely written but it didn’t wow me! I constantly felt there’s something missing, I cannot exactly pinpoint it. Maybe because of less depth in world, there was enough information on blood magic and its history but it was not detailed. A bit longer book won’t hurt.

Overall, it was different, gripping, fast paced, dark fantasy that I will recommend to readers of this genre.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Affiliate: Book Depository

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What do you think about the book and review? Have you read it already? Are you going to add it to TBR? Have read any fantasy that has blood warrior or has undying theme? Tell me about your favorite dark fantasy.

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#Review : Vox by Christina Dalcher #100words

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Vox by Christina Dalcher
Publication Date:
August 23rd 2018 (first published August 21st 2018)
Publisher: HQ
Genre: Science-Fiction / Dystopia
Pages: 327
Stars: ★★★★☆ [4.5]

Set in a United States in which half the population has been silenced, Vox is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.
On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.
Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard.
For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.
This is just the beginning…not the end.

Let’s try something #100words review. Count starts now…


What would you do if you are prisoner of your own country? Government take away your voice? No passport, No jobs, no money, friendship or freedom. You can’t speak more than 100 words. Phone, books, reading, writing is banned. But all of this is only for women. I’m not hardcore feminist but this surely boils my blood. 

Vox was mind-blowing dystopian science-fiction that had this terrific world where all of the above was possible, not just possible but was in existence. It was about feminism, oppressive government, hypocrisy and sexism, standing against tyranny to save family and loved ones.


But that 100 words are not enough. I want to write more. I don’t know how women even spend a day in this world speaking just 100 words!

It’s kind of book that one can go blind and enjoy the ride. I don’t know from where I should start. I’m speechless. Was it really a debut novel? Because it didn’t feel like one. It was so well thought, well written and well executed.

Book opened with Jean telling about the pure movement in country. How it started, how people thought it just passing phase and one man’s fancy that turned viral and became country’s reality and every women’s nightmare, how it not just changed whole country, shut up women but also affected her house and her kids’ mentality, especially her eldest son. She almost started to accept her reality, started hating not just the man who started this ridiculous movement but men of her house as well and then opportunity knocked at her door. The more she went along with what she was asked/forced to do and offered in exchange for her work, the more she discovered about government’s sinister plan.

Apparently they were not happy with what they took away. They wanted more… what will Jean do to save herself, her family and other women? Can only one woman bring change?

I absolutely loved this setting. This is the world I don’t want be transported to, not even in dream. I was just 30 pages into the book and I thought this can’t be possible but author showed that it was not completely impossible. You may think women can’t possibly have agreed to it, there will be drastic effect on country’s economy if they take away women’s job, surely men will speak up for their mothers, sisters, wives or daughters, there will be march, protest, violence against government, people will leave the country… wrong, wrong, wrong!!! Everything was well thought. It was horrible, sickening, and outrageous to see conditions of women, creepy rules and punishments, and level sexism.

I could not stop thinking who the real villain here was, the initiator of pure movement, Reverend Carl (I still don’t get from where he got this insane idea!), the stupid president, or the men of states? How can whole country could have followed it in so less time? Money, family, love, power, and ego, whatever their reason was, it just didn’t feel manly and right. But maybe man in their place might have done same in real life. But I was glad to see that not all lost their mind.

Jean was amazing in this book. Her voice was strong, effective, provocative and so real. Her feeling touched my heart. It was easy to see this man ruling world through her eyes that succumbed me into the story deeply. Not just the world she lived in but her private life was also complex. Her relationship with her husband, her kids, and friends was narrated perfectly. I liked back stories of Jean’s life. Her monologues perfectly represented her state of mind that had all jumbled up feeling, love, hate, frustration, disbelief, hope, hopelessness, determination, and guilt. I was surprised to see her not going mad.

She and all other characters were developed. I liked Jackie and Lin. They were inspiring and influential. Their strength was admirable. At first I didn’t like Patrick, but I liked him in second half. There were many characters you will hate in this book and some will surprise you.

The best moments in the book that really stopped me while reading book was Jackie’s warnings about the change, Jean’s realization- how wrapped up she was in her life (that Bubble reference was so apt), how it was too late to do anything, how she and all around her realized there was no way out and how soon things can change the world.

I liked the message behind the story. We should vote and if we don’t and something bad happens you can’t really blame government; we should not ignore the world for our own selfish gains; raise your voice, join the protest and resistance whenever necessary because it counts, every single person and voice, even small effort can impacts/bring the change.  

There were many surprises. Twist and turns were good. Half of the time I could not anticipate what will happen next. Climax was amazing and I liked the end.

I read in acknowledgement author said, ‘I hope it makes you a little bit angry. I hope it makes you think‘. I would say she did brilliant job because it not just made angry I was erupting volcano. Okay that’s over the top but yes I was furious and was thinking a lot. I also I told whole story to my husband and asked some questions to know what he will do in Patrick’s situation (harmless questions you know) and he was like, ‘Oh God, now this feminism thing will go on for a week… Did I give you money to buy that book?… Remind me to read blurbs of books you are reading so I’ll be prepared next time.’ 😉

Why 4.5-

Trust me I was going to give it 5 stars until climax. Important scenes in climax and end, were not detailed or felt rushed. I expected more, little little bit detailed, not just to imagine how the plan was executed at the meeting and what exactly happened there.

Overall, it was mind-blowing, provocative, suspenseful, gripping, terrific and disturbing dystopia, Sci-Fi novel. If you still haven’t read this book, just get it.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Affiliate Link: Book Depository

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and review? Have you read it already? Are you going to add it to TBR? Do you like to read Sci-Fic and Dystopia novels?
What do you think about the ‘Vox world and 100 words quota? I saw many compared it to The Handmaid’s Tale? Do you agree with it, have you read Handmaid’s Tale? Have you read any falling in this theme? If so, recommend me your favorite book.

Share you thoughts in the comment-box belo

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