50 Book Challenge 2016 – June

June was a month dedicated to writing and editing, so not much reading got done.I’m not too confident with my reading progress this year, but I’ve been doing so much more reading for school and research that I think I’ll forgive myself for not meeting my goal this month.

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January – 4/4
1. Glass Ceiling by Julie LaVoie <SEE REVIEW HERE>
2. Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #3) by Ransom Riggs
3. Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer
4. The Iron Warrior (The Iron Fey #6) by Julie Kagawa

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February – 4/4
1. Immortal Beloved (Immortal Beloved #1) by Cate Tiernan <SERIES REVIEW>
2. Darkness Falls (Immortal Beloved #2) by Cate Tiernan
3. Eternally Yours (Immortal Beloved #3) by Cate Tiernan
4. Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1) by Sara Raasch

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March – 5/4
1. Annabeth Neverending by Leyla Kader Dahm
2. Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare
3. Godless by Pete Hautman <SEE REVIEW HERE>
4. Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer
5. Queen (The Blackcoat Rebellion #3) by Aimee Carter <SEE REVIEW HERE>

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April – 4/4
1. Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa Meyer
2. Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2) by Sara Raasch
3. Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) by Cassandra Clare
4. Daughter of the Sun (Cult of the Cat #1) by Zoe Kalo <SEE REVIEW HERE>

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May – 4/4
1.Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare <SERIES REVIEW>
2. A Mad Zombie Party (White Rabbit Chronicles #4) by Gena Showalter
3. Offered to the Werewolves (Shifters of Shadow Falls #1) Crystal L Shaw
4. Arena (Arena #1) by Holly Jennings

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June – 3/4
1.Frostfire (Kanin Chronicles #1) by Amanda Hocking
2. Ice Kissed (Kanin Chronicles #2) by Amanda Hocking
3. A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J Maas
4. MEH

2016 Total – 24/50

Book Review: Daughter of the Sun

A book about Egyptian Gods, cats and magic (and it’s released on my birthday?) … I think Daughter of the Sun was meant for me! I am so thankful to Xpresso Book Tours for the chance to review this debut novel by Zoe Kalo.

28934536Daughter of the Sun
by Zoe Kalo
Release Date: May 2016
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Summary from Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Trinity was born during a solar eclipse and left at the doorsteps of a convent along with a torn piece of papyrus covered with ancient symbols. Raised by nuns in the English countryside, she leads a quiet life until she’s whisked away to the Island of Cats and a grandmother she never knew.
But before they can get to know each other, her grandmother dies. All that Trinity has left is a mysterious eye-shaped ring. And a thousand grieving cats. As Trinity tries to solve the enigma of the torn papyrus, she discovers a world of bloody sacrifices and evil curses, and a prophecy that points to her and her new feline abilities.
Unwilling to believe that any of the Egyptian gods could still be alive, Trinity turns to eighteen-year-old Seth and is instantly pulled into a vortex of sensations that forces her to confront her true self—and a horrifying destiny.

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As a self identifying egyptophile, I get so excited when authors choose Ancient Egyptian mythology / culture / history / religion as a base for a new book. As a practicing Pagan, I’m always a little leery about books involving the Gods of Egypt. Of course there were some artistic license when it came to facts about the Gods (eg, Apep is technically not a God and Ammit did not work for him.) However, Daughter of the Sun was a pleasing read on all accounts.

I’ll admit that it took me a while to get “into” Trinity, our heroine. After around the 30% mark I was completely won over and couldn’t put the book down. I loved her chemistry with Seth, and while there was some teenage crushing and hormones flying, I was happy that this book is insta-love free!

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It is also worth noting that Zoe Kalo is presumably a great lover of cats (and if you doubt me feel free to check out all the adorable kitten photos on her twitter). She way she writes cats into the book is astounding. Every little quirk, mew and lick is incredibly authentic. I love it when a writer is skilled at writing about the animals in the character’s story, it makes it more warm and fuzzy, no pun intended.

However, Daughter of the Sun was not without its faults. The plot moved along a bit too quickly for my liking, falling into the “telling not showing” trap that I as a reader and a writer am all to familiar with. I would have like to see things slowed down a bit so I could get to know Trinity better before her life was turned upside down. As the story went on the narration of pacing did improved a lot.

I hope as the series goes on, Trinity stops being afraid of witchcraft and magic and accepts her powers for what they are. It bums me out when magic doers are instantly labeled bad or cast as villains.

Wrapping up, this was a quick read by a new author who shows much promise. The story was wonderfully imaginative and I hope to see more authors taking inspiration from Ancient Egypt. I can’t wait to read the second installment in the trilogy – but sadly there is no indication on the author’s Goodreads page when that will be.

A free copy of this book was provided for an honest review. Thank you Xpresso Book Tours!

*************a Rafflecopter giveaway*************

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50 Book Challenge Update – December

Whew, how fast a year can fly by! I made the 50 book challenge by the skin of my teeth! There’s a slight error in my Goodreads total, because it added books that I DNF and I don’t always record the non-fiction books that I read; so I’m using my blog as the final score.

In hindsight, I wished my reading hadn’t suffered in October and November, but I’ll forgive myself because of mid-terms and NaNoWriMo. I also read a few non-fiction books later in the year, but because I didn’t read cover-to-cover, I decided not to include them in my blog count.

I’m not sure if I’m going to add to the challenge this year coming or not. I think 50 books is a modest goal, but seeing that I lead a fairly busy life, it’s a good one to aim for.

If you’re planning on doing the 50 book challenge in 2016 let me know so we can buddy up! Leave a comment here and/or add my Goodreads profile to follow along.  I will be updating my blog with once a month, but my profile is updated on a weekly / “bookly” basis.

I got my 25 books from  bookoutlet.ca and I can’t wait to get them read! I shared a pic of my haul on instagram, which you can see below.

January – 5/4 – goal exceeded!
1. Redeemed (House of Night #12)
2. Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3)
3. Earth Star (Earth Girl #2)
4. Earth Flight (Earth Girl #3)
5. City of Dark Magic (City of Dark Magic #1)
    

February – 7/4 – goal exceeded!
1. #GirlBoss
2. Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1)
3. The False Princess
4. Demon Glass (Hex Hall #2)
5. Spell Bound (Hex Hall #3)
6. Talon (Talon #1)
7. The Heretic Queen
      

March – 3/4
1. Unleashed (Uninvited #2)
2. Southern Fried Wiccan
3. Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles #1)
  

April – 5/4 – goal exceeded!
1. Catwoman: The Game, New 52 (Volume 1)
2. Golden Son (Red Rising #2)
3. A Necklace of Souls (Soul Necklace #1)
4. No Intention of Dying (The Internment Chronicles #1.5)
5. Burning Kingdoms (The Internment Chronicles #2)
    

May – 4/4
1. Nefertiti
2. The Occasional Diamond Thief
3. Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle #1)
4. Secret of the Sevens
   

June- 5/4
1. Modern Monsters
2. The Rebel Queen
3. Rouge (Talon #2)
4. A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)
5. Red Queen (Red Queen #1)
    

July- 4/4
1. The Winners Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1)
2. Synthetica
3. Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle #2)
4. Once a Witch
   

August- 4/4
1. Always a Witch (Once a Witch #2)
2. The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy #2)
3. Superstition
4. The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1)
 

September- 4/4
1. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)
2. The Body Institute
3. Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1)
4. Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2)
   

October- 2/4
1. Captive (The Blackcoat Rebellion #2)
2. Return Once More (The Historians #1)
3.
4.
 

November- 2/4
1. Shadowshaper
2. The Summer Prince
3.
4.
 

December 5/5
1. The Goddess Test (The Goddess Test #1)
2. The Goddess Hunt (The Goddess Test #1.5)
3. Goddess Interrupted (The Goddess Test #2)
4. Thin Space
5. AntiGoddess (Goddess War #1)
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—– TOTAL 2015 BOOK COUNT – 50/50

Book Review: Return Once More

Return Once More (The Historians #1)
by Trisha Leigh
Release Date: June 2015
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Summary from Goodreads:

If you could learn the identity of your one true love—even though you will never meet— would you?
Years have passed since refugees from a ruined earth took to space, eventually settling a new system of planets. Science has not only made the leaps necessary to allow time travel, but the process engineered a strange side effect—predicting your one true love.
If you could save your one true love from an untimely death, would you be able to resist?
Sixteen-year-old Kaia Vespasian is an apprentice to the Historians—a group charged with using time travel to document the triumphs and failures of the past—and she can’t resist a peek at her long-dead soul mate in Ancient Egypt. Before she knows it, she’s broken every rule in the book, and the consequences of getting caught could destroy more than just her new romance.
Or would you have the strength to watch him die?
But when Kaia notices a fellow classmate snooping around in a time where he doesn’t belong, she suspects he has a secret of his own—and the conspiracy she uncovers could threaten the entire universe. If her experience has taught her anything, to changing history means facing the consequences. The Historians trained her to observe and record the past, but Kaia never guessed she might have to protect it— in a race across time to save her only chance at a future.

I’ve never had a thing for time travel, but I have always had a thing for Ancient Egypt, so that’s what drew me into Return Once More. I believe that the author did a good job of describing the futuristic world and the technology that was used within it. I find that some books have to little explanation while others have far too much – Trisha Leigh got this one just right. Some of it did require a willing suspension of disbelief, but that’s why we read fantasy!

The entire premise of being about travel back in time but not forward it time made sense to me. The past is already done but the future possibilities are infinite. As long as you don’t screw up the past and make sure we have a future to return to. The other plot device used was the ability to find someone’s “One True Love” throughout all time and space. For some reason, they can predict someone’s True in the future… but not go there… hm. That felt undeveloped for me. I played along with that, because hey, I love History so the thought of being able to go back and observe was awesome!

Kaia is a great heroine, I enjoyed reading from her point of view. She is a realistic teenager who breaks all the rules when it suits her, but still has a strong sense of what is right and wrong. The supporting characters could have used a bit more fleshing out, as sometimes I was confused about who Kaia was interacting with.

While the book moved and read quickly, some of the pacing felt off to me. I found myself bored every so often and then suddenly it would pick up like a roller-coaster. I really loved the cover for this book. I like the juxtaposition of the modern clothing with the (fantasy inspired) Ancient Egyptian setting.

As I was approaching the end of the book, I knew that there was no way that it was all going to wrap up nicely in the last 10%. I went into this book thinking it was a standalone, so I was left wondering wtf was going on at the end. Imagine my surprise when I realized it was a series! I can’t wait to read what happens next.

In the end, I really enjoyed this book by Trisha Leigh and I look forward to reading the next installment in the series. She does have another series completed with CreateSpace named The Last Year, which I will also be adding to my to-read list. The first installment, Whispers in Autumn is free on Amazon!

*disclaimer* – I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. 
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