March 21, 2019

Inferno by Kat Ross | Blog Tour and Giveaway

By Kat Ross
The Fourth Talisman #5
Released on March 15, 2019
354 Pages
YA, Fantasy

In the fifth and last volume of the Fourth Talisman series, the worlds of the living and the dead collide in a final confrontation that will leave Nocturne and Solis forever changed….
Three talismans adrift.Two mad kings.One poisonous crown.
As dark forces gather at the Rock of Ariamazes in Samarqand, Nazafareen discovers that there are worse places than the afterlife. The twisted creature pulling the Vatras’ strings is holed up in the deepest level of the Dominion—and only she has the power to follow him there, though at the potential cost of her own soul.
Prophecy claims the three daeva clans must unite to face their greatest enemy again, but two of the talismans have vanished and the third is a child more used to skulking in the shadows than leading an army. Meb the Mouse might be their last hope—if anyone bothers to take her seriously.
And within the confines of the Rock, a dying king makes a pact with the devil, setting in motion a chain of events that could spell doom for friends and foes alike.
WARNING: This book contains twists and turns, richly deserved comeuppances, shocking revelations, knock-down, drag-out fights, obsessive stalkers, some very nasty monsters…and, of course, true love.

March 8, 2019

Beware the Night by Jessika Fleck | Blog Tour + Review

Beware the Night
By Jessika Fleck
Released March 12, 2019
320 Pages
YA, Fantasy

This book was provided to me from FFBC Tours in exchange for an honest review. I swear on my bookshelf that this has not affected my opinion of the book.
When her world divides, pitting light against dark, Veda must join a dangerous revolution to save her grandfather and fight against injustice...even if it costs her the boy she loves.
On the island of Bellona, life is peaceful--as long as the citizens dutifully worship the Sun, which protects them from all harm. Seventeen-year-old Veda knows that keeping the Sun happy will protect her and her grandfather from the Night, the dangerous people who snatch innocent citizens from their beds under the cover of darkness, never to be seen again. As long as Veda follows the rules, she will be safe.
But when Veda's grandfather is offered up as the next sacrificial offering to keep the Sun's favor, she starts to see that the safety she's been promised comes at a dangerous price. Maybe there is more to fear above than there is below.
With a mysterious young man, Dorian, at her side, Veda has to figure out if the scary bedtime stories she grew up hearing are real--or dangerous lies.

March 4, 2019

The Murderous Nature of Water | Whispers from the Depths by C. W. Briar

Whispers from the Depths
By C. W. Briar
Released on February 19, 2019
YA Dark Fantasy
Trigger Warning: Sexual harassment, gory violence, drowning, and slavery

This book was provided to me from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. I swear on my bookshelf that this has not affected my opinion of the book.

Joyful and blessed are Voice-bearers, for the Heavens have set them apart.
As Whisperers gifted with the Voice, Betka and her people are enslaved. Only they can control the dangerous spirits that haunt the waters, but they are forced to serve under cruel taskmasters. Betka has little hope of freedom from her service or her own bitterness.
They toil for the goodness of others.
A powerful water spirit terrorizes the castle where Betka’s sister is serving. Betka is assigned to the crew sailing to face the foe, and she fears for the only family she has left.
Rage is found nowhere in them.
In the beleaguered, flooded castle, a new threat awaits—a magic more powerful and horrifying than anything they have ever seen. Loyalties will be tested, and enemies will become desperate allies.
Betka is their only hope of escape—if she can subdue the wrath that endangers them all.
She who wields the waters for revenge drowns herself tenfold.

January 25, 2019

Scottish Steampunk Revives Faery Lore | The Falconer by Elizabeth May

The Falconer (The Falconer, #1)
The Falconer
By Elizabeth May
(The Falconer #1)
Released on May 6th, 2014
Young Adult, Fantasy
378 Pages

She's a stunner.Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.
She's a liar.But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she's leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.
She's a murderer.Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.
She's a Falconer.The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother's murder—but she'll have to save the world first.
The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller combines romance and action, steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.

January 14, 2019

Prioritizing Blogger Safety | Why Writing Under a Pen Name is Perfectly Fine

From the first time I logged into a computer, I have been lectured about online safety. Parents, teachers, neighbors, signs in hallways, and TV commercials have all warned me about the dangers of the Internet, especially meeting strangers and giving them my information.

I am not saying that online friends are sketchy or not trustworthy, but the Internet has a lot of types of people and not all of them have your best interests at heart. For the most part, the book community has each other's backs and I have felt safe sharing about my personal life.

That being said, Tessa is not my real name. It's a pen name that my 8th grade self created in order to protect myself on the Internet (and so that I didn't get lectured again from my mom). I have always blogged under a pen name and I don't plan on changing that in the near future.

I have always been very open about my use of a pen name, but recently, a certain author has questioned the trustworthiness of bloggers who use a pseudonym. This event in the book blogging world, involving a case of stalking and invasion of privacy, is the reason that I chose to use a pen name so long ago.

Instead of getting into a debate about the specifics of the event, I would like to give a list of reasons why it is perfectly acceptable for bloggers to use a pen name.

January 9, 2019

What Even Happened this Year? | A Wrap-Up of 2018

I have never had the best grasp on time. I can read for three hours, yet it will only feel like a second has passed. I can nap for five hours, but when I wake up it feels like I only slept for minutes. I can attempt to do homework for half an hour but it will feel like eons have passed. I am always the person that asks what day it is. I will be dating everything in 2018 for at least three months. 

So, when 2019 rolled around I couldn't believe it. There is something about the new year that seems to defy both time and space; things feel so much different yet so much the same.

For that reason, I have shifted away from New Year's Resolutions and vowing to be a completely different person whenever the calendar changed to January 1st. Instead of focusing on huge yearly changes, I want to focus on daily ways to be a better person. 

That philosophical rant aside, here are my reflections from 2018 and my low-pressure goals for 2019.

January 1, 2019

The Best Books I Read in 2018

I know that I say this every year, but 2018 was a difficult year. 

I only had four five-star books. In fact, a majority of the books I read were three stars or below. I am not sure if I was just heard to impress this year or if I was just extremely unlucky with my choice of TBR. Even though there is nothing wrong with three star books (for me the rating means that I liked the book without loving it), not many stories managed to WOW me this year. In the end of the year, when I finally had time to read, I hit a streak of three-star reads that wasn't necessarily a slump, but did disappoint me. 

The stats are not on my side, but that is where the complaining ends. My reading journey this year taught me that not every book will earn five stars, but that doesn't mean that it wasn't worth reading. 

Regardless of the ratings, I still managed to find books that I love and will scream about for the next year(s) to come. Out of the 50 books I read this year (which accomplished my Goodreads Challenge!) I still managed to have some favorites.

Since I loved all of these books so much, I have already written posts about most of them. Instead of trying to rearticulate my ramblings, I have included the links to my original posts if you want to learn more about them. 

Here are my top 10 books of 2018!