Mundie Moms

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, Book Review

By: Holly Black
Published by: Little Brown
To Be Released on: 1/13/15
Source: arc from publisher at BEA
Rating: 5 Stars - I Loved It
Pre-Order from:  AmazonBarnes & Noble
Add it to: Goodread

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

This is my new favorite Holly Black book. This book has been on my 2015 Most Anticipated To Read Lists, and it definitely lived up to the hype I had hoped it would. The Darkest Part of the Forest is a story I loved. Holly Black's writing is engaging, and easily lured me into this enchanting, dark world where humans and fae exist. 

Holly Black and the fae world are a match made in YA awesomeness. No one can write fae like she can. She has this ability to make them alluring, but she doesn't go all Hollywood with them. Meaning she's doesn't overly glamorizing them. True to the tales about fae, they are just as beautiful, as they are creepy looking. Being creatures of the woods, Black describes them just as I had imagined they would look. I felt that I would have thought the same things about them, as Hazel did. There is more to them than just their looks. 

As Hazel finds out, the fae are also cunning, dangerous, and are known to have a way with words. Though they can't lie, there can be a double meaning in their words. Things may not be done as one perceives things to happen, as Hazel realizes. Once you make a deal with them, they uphold their end of the bargain and excerpt nothing less from Hazel. Though the fae are cunning, Hazel proves she can be just as cunning as they are. I loved what she does towards the end of the book. If you guessed that I am not going to say what that is, then you would be right. I'm keeping this a spoiler free review. I'll just say that Hazel proves she can hold her own with the Fae.

One of the things I like about Holly Black's characters, is that all of them are broken in some way. Which translates to, they're all relatable on some level. I like that they're flawed, and imperfect. It makes it easier for me to sympathize with them, and understand, at least on some level, why they make the decisions they do. I like seeing their weakness, and their strengths, and how they learn from their weaknesses. Black's characters are not victims of their weaknesses. They learn how to turn their weaknesses into strengths to accomplish their goal/destiny/purpose.

Oh the setting! I love a forest setting. This setting was perfect. It's one that is exciting, alluring, beautiful, dark, dangerous, and the perfect place for two young kids to set off on great adventures. I really enjoyed the flashbacks to the adventures that Hazel and Ben had when they were young. There's a lot that readers discover from these flashbacks, about the characters, and what's happening now with the fae posing such a huge danger to their human world. 

There are so many elements to this setting that I loved. Much of the story takes place in the forest. Black does a fabulous job in the way she tied each character to the setting. I'm not going to lie, if I lived in the same tiny town Hazel did, along the edge of the wood, I'd most likely have found myself wondering the woods with her, her brother Ben, and their friend Jack, when they were younger. I felt like the setting was it's own character in the story.

True to Holly Black's writing, one of the things I loved the most about this book, is everything is NOT what it seems. There are many layers with this book that Black beautiful unravels. With each unravel, she reveals another twist or turn within her plot. I really like how the story was written. Yes it has is dark. No, it's not as dark as some of her other YA books. I think this is one of her best books. I love that this is a stand alone, even though part of me wishes there was going to be a continuation of this story.

I think Holly Black fans will enjoy this. If you've not read a YA book by Holly Black, this is a great first book to pick up. *There is some very mild language and under age drinking in this story.

Vendetta by Catherine Doyle; Blog Tour / Book Blitz Sign Ups & A Giveaway!

Hello & welcome to the first Mundie Moms blog tour sign up for 2015!

You guys, I am so excited about this debut book! Vendetta by Catherine Doyle will be out on February 24th from Scholastic, and it's one of those books that I think YA fans are going to love. 

Here's what author Victoria Scott had to say about it:
“Fan-freaking-tastic…I honestly can’t say enough good things about it! I would read anything Cat Doyle writes after flying through Vendetta!!”

I'm thrilled to be teaming up with Scholastic to host the official blog tour, and release day blitz. Before I tell you about the tour, and how you can enter to win a ARC of Vendetta, let me share with you a little bit about the book:

Vendetta by Catherine Doyle: Releases February 24, 2015

Blood Will Spill, Hearts Will Break: With a fierce rivalry raging between two warring families, falling in love is the deadliest thing Sophie could do. An epic debut set outside modern-day Chicago.

For Sophie, it starts as just another slow, hot summer in Cedar Hill. Then a new family moves into the long-abandoned mansion across the street: the Falcone family, with its five mysterious brothers. Unable to resist bad boy Nicoli, Sophie finds herself falling for him--and into his world. But just as the dark secrets of the Falcones begin to come to light, the skeletons of her own family, the Gracewells, rise to the surface, too. And soon Sophie is torn between the desires of two warring dynasties: the one she was born into and the one she's now in love with. But she'll have to choose between passion and honor. And when she does, blood will spill and hearts will break. Because in this twisted underworld, loyalty can mean the difference between life and death.

Find out more about the book via Scholastic.

Watch the UK author video with Catherine Doyle

We have a lot of exciting things in store for the release of Vendetta! More on that will come soon. In the mean time, you can find out what friends have been saying about the book via #bloodforblood #Vendetta

The Blog Tour
The tour will be kicking off on February 14th, and wrap up on February 24th, the release day. This will be a 10 day blog tour, featuring one stop per day. The tour will feature a variety stops including guest posts, giveaways, reviews, and excerpts. 

If you would like to sign up to be apart of the tour, please sign up below. Please note, that by signing up to be on the tour, this does not guarantee you'll be on the tour. International fans are welcome to sign up.

Release Day Blitz
If you would like to be apart of the release day blitz happening on 2/24/15, please use the same form below, to sign up. Everyone who signs up for the book blitz will be sent materials for their blitz post.

The Giveaway
Everyone who signs up to be apart of the blog tour / release day blitz will be entered to win an ARC of Vendetta (US residents only). Two winners will be randomly selected when the tour sign ups close on 1/20/15. ARCs are provided by Scholastic. 

**Please use the scroll on the right hand side of the sign up to scroll down, in order to fill out the form. 

Cover Reveal: Glory and Pretty Sacrifices by Devin O'Branagan

Hello & welcome today's cover reveal spotlight for Devin O'Branagan's Glory and Pretty Sacrifices. 

Glory, (Book 1, The Legend of Glory)

About The Book
Seventeen-year-old Glory Templeton’s blood holds the cure for a deadly pandemic-plague and she embarks on a quest to save humanity. When evil forces conspire to stop her, three supernatural beings are assigned to be her guardians. Forbidden love, mysterious companions, ancient secret societies, and ominous astronomical monuments all contribute to the high adventure that tests the character of this remarkable young woman. The legend of Glory begins!

Read an Excerpt
I floated and it felt good. It was warm and bright and I was at peace.
Dominic appeared. “Don’t go,” he said.
I looked down at my body lying in a soggy ditch in a pool of blood. “I don’t have a choice anymore.”
“I’m here now. I can help if you want me to.”
I didn’t want him to. The world and all its misery had lost its allure. I was done.
He knew what I was feeling and I could feel him too. It was shockingly intimate. He yearned for me to want to return; he needed me to be noble.
“I’m not your salvation,” I said.
I felt his disappointment. He wanted to love humanity for his father’s sake, and I was conscious of his regret at not being able to. I felt his remorse for having failed me, his tenderness for me, and how that new emotion surprised him. I wanted to comfort him and take away his pain. He sensed my affection for him and was moved by it. Our empathic connection was exquisite.
I realized that what we shared at that moment was what everybody longed for—the merging of bodies was a poor imitation of the merging of hearts.
Suddenly, I wanted to do whatever it took to relieve his suffering and the suffering of all those who could benefit from my blood. In that moment, I suffered the pain of all creation. I needed to heal it.
My translucent hand reached for him. “Take me home.”

He didn’t ask which home I meant. His heart knew.

PURCHASE LINKS: Amazon US | Amazon UK 

*A prominent Hollywood producer has contracted with Devin O’Branagan to shop The Legend of Glory trilogy as a possible TV or film project.

Pretty Sacrifices, (Book 2, The Legend of Glory)

About The Book
In the post-apocalyptic world following a pandemic, dark angels arrive in Glory’s small hometown to claim the eternal souls of her loved ones. Targeted by evil because of her heroism during the great plague, Glory fights back with the help of gutsy young witch Kaia, inexperienced guardian angel Sasha, and her intrepid demon-fighting dog Hallelujah. Complicating everything, a rift in time reunites Glory with an old flame and forces her to pay a huge price for love. The legend of Glory continues!

* A prominent Hollywood producer has contracted with Devin O’Branagan to shop The Legend of Glory trilogy as a possible TV or film project.

About The Author
Bestselling author Devin O’Branagan writes novels about uncommon heroes. Her genres include young adult urban fantasy, paranormal romance, paranormal thrillers, and romantic comedy. She’s been published by Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books, German publisher Heyne Verlag, Turkish publisher Dogan Egmont, and indie publisher Cornucopia Creations. Her books are available in print, eBook, and audio book formats.