Sea Spell by Jennifer Donnelly: A Review

Sea Spell (book 4) by Jennifer Donnelly

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Cover Rating: 9/10 it’s gorgeous! One of my favorite things about this series is the covers. They are stunning. The black and white with jacket to give Astrid the look of her personality it’s so well done. Eye catching for sure.

Publish Date: June 14th, 2016

Number of Pages: 357

Received: thrift store buy

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

At the end of Dark Tide, Book 3 in the Waterfire Saga, Astrid leaves her mermaid friends to confront her ancestor, Orfeo, the evil force behind the rise of the monster Abbadon. Orfeo possesses one of the talismans that the merls need in order to keep the monster locked up forever. But without the ability to songcast, how will Astrid be able to defeat the most powerful mage in history? Meanwhile, Serafina and her Black Fins train goblin troops for battle against her uncle Vallerio’s death riders. Will Sera ever see her beloved home–and her beloved Mahdi–again, or will the Volneros take over the mer realms while Orfeo takes on the gods themselves? Nothing less than the fate of the underwater world is at stake in this breathtaking finale.

Opening Sentence: “Manon Laveau, regal on her throne of twining cypress roots, regarded the merman before her.”

Musings:

You know a book is solid when it’s been two years between the time you read one book to the next and your not confused at all when your reading again and being reintroduced into the world. That in itself is an accomplishment. I’m in love with this riveting story about friendship and magic and doing anything to make things right in a time that is going terribly wrong.

What I loved:

The world itself! Jennifer does an amazing job at making you feel like your truly underwater. Her world building is incredible. There is no filler and every detail adds to the story in such a rich way.

The sisterhood! These girls have gone through so much over the course of this series. They’ve had drama between each other, two of them basically acted as enemies for a while, and together they’ve experienced so much loss. Through it all they’ve become so strong together and nothing could tear apart their friendship. They’ve lifted each other up and pushed each other to be the best versions of themselves. It’s such a beautiful thing of hope to see.

These lines:

I love great romance! These lines were so good especially in the deeper context of the rest of the story. Made my chest glow in joy. Had to take pictures and send them to my partner with the excitement I felt reading! I love these storylines!

The romance is there, but not at all central to the plot. The romances in this book are great and lovely, but the focus is centered around the girls friendship and their quest to save their realms from great evil. It makes me smile to see a book that has such a wonderful balance to it like Sea spell does.

The pets! I swear I love a book with pets. Plus, these ones are so unique. For example, the adorable octopus Opie owned by Marcos. I love it so much!

All in all:

I don’t want to be too spoilery in a review on a fourth book in a series. I’m just going to say that I greatly enjoyed Sea Spell. It was truly magical.

About the Author:

Jennifer Donnelly is the author of the adult novels The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose, and The Wild Rose, as well as the young adult novels These Shallow Graves, Revolution, and A Northern Light, winner of Britain’s prestigious Carnegie Medal, the LA Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature, and a Michael L. Printz Honor Book Award. She lives and writes full-time in Upstate New York. You can visit her at jenniferdonnelly.com or follow @JenWritesBooks on Twitter.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

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Writing Advice Series: An Interview With Author Diana Anderson-Tyler

This series is one that I have been thinking about creating for a very long time. I wanted a place where authors could share their advice for new authors as well as sharing their own experiences. To be honest, I was scared to approach authors at first, but at this point I think I have the means to create a regular series.

Diana was one of the first authors I created a connection with through blogging. In a lot of ways I would even consider her a friend. The way that she put herself out there working hard and taking any avenue she could to achieve her dream makes her a person that I look up to. Her unwavering relationship with God is another reason I greatly respect and admire her.

To me it was important that she was the first I ask to be a part of this series. One that I have hopes to continue well into the future. I hope all the aspiring writers take some inspiration from this. I know it’s something that I am going to look back on when I need a writerly boost.

On to the questions!

1. Diana, something that has always inspired me about you is how dedicated you are to fitness as well as your books. How do you find the time to accomplish all of your goals?

Fitness has been a huge part of my life since I was sixteen and my tennis coach suggested I start lifting weights to strengthen my one-handed backhand. I quickly fell in love with the gym and found it incredibly stress relieving and rewarding. The discipline it fosters transfers beautifully into other areas of my life, such as writing, of course! Sticking to a regular workout routine instills discipline, persistence, and perhaps most importantly, patience!

As far as time management goes, I have a pretty regimented daily schedule that, in a nutshell, consists of writing for the first few hours of the day, working on things like marketing, editing, checking email, and blogs and interviews like this in the afternoon, and then working out for roughly an hour in the evening. I find that having a routine that rarely ever varies is critical for productivity. Otherwise it’s easy to let distractions, excuses, and procrastination take over!

2. Not everyone knows the path they are meant to be on from the very beginning. What was the moment you realized you wished to become an author?

This is going to sound like such a cliché answer, but it really is the truth: I’ve always wanted to be an author. I remember sitting at my little wooden table before I knew how to write and drawing pictures of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with unrecognizable designs (intended to be words) scribbled around them. As I grew older, I constantly wrote stories and poems in my journals and penned silly plays for my friends and me to act in. I actually studied screenwriting in college, not so much because I wanted to write movie scripts, but because I knew it would provide a firm foundation on the craft of storytelling.

3. You write both fitness, inspirational, and mythical novels. What is the main message that you try to send no matter the genre?

I never intend to embed any specific theme or message in my books (at least not in my fiction). I prefer to let the story and its players have the spotlight from cover to cover and for readers to read between the lines, connect with the characters, and find personal takeaways as they will. I think that were I to consciously try to convey a theme or “moral of the story,” it would just come off as preachy and heavy handed.

For my nonfiction work, such as my fitness books and my memoirs, I’d say the primary message is full surrender to a loving, mighty, and eternally faithful God.

4. In the past several years you have managed to write quite a few books. Which one of them was the most difficult for you to write and why?

Definitely my fantasy series, The Petros Chronicles. For one thing, writing about Greek mythology required a vast amount of research (which I loved doing!), and for another, writing a series is always tricky because you have to juggle so much information in your head and take detailed, meticulous notes so everything remains logical and consistent. I’ve had to learn the hard way to keep what’s referred to as a series bible that contains everything from character names and descriptions to key dates, important places and the events that occurred there.

5. Writing processes are different for everyone. Do you have a set process or is it different from book to book? What does your typical process look like?

My process usually changes somewhat from project to project, although for my last two novels it’s looked something like this:

• Establish a synopsis first (this gives me a macro view of the story that I can refer to as I write the first draft).

• Write a broad outline that includes things like the inciting incident and major plot points and twists.

• Writing a beat outline which breaks down what happens in each chapter. I will note that this outline changes as I go, but I write it at the beginning so I have a road map of sorts – it’s a great confidence booster/safety net!

• Start writing! I’m not a fast writer, but I am a consistent one. I try to write for two to three hours every morning.

6. One of my favorite books of yours is Armor for Orchids. I loved how much I felt my own relationship with God grew while reading it. What role does your love for God play in the books that you write?

That’s so wonderful to hear, thank you! People often speak of a Muse when it comes to inspiration. Steven Pressfield, one of my favorite authors (of both fiction and nonfiction), actually invokes the same Greek Muse Homer did in the beginning of the Iliad and Odyssey before every writing session. I love Greek mythology, but I don’t invoke its deities. The only god I call upon is the God of the Bible, and I believe it’s He who bestows creative ideas and equips us with the tools to bring them to fruition. This verse in the New Testament book of James comes to mind:

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17

I believe that my ability to write is a gift from my Creator, and therefore I consider every writing session as an opportunity to hear from Him, talk to Him, and honor Him with my words. Even if the story isn’t explicitly faith-based, I believe He infuses it with things like symbols, motifs, and though-provoking prose or snippets of dialogue that can touch readers on a spiritual level.

7. One of the peskiest parts of writing is editing. How do you go about editing your novels?

After setting the manuscript aside for a few weeks (or months, in many cases), I print it off and read it with the intent to pinpoint big-picture issues, such as pacing, character development, and making sure each scene “works” as its own mini story. Then I read it again for more minor issues, like continuity errors and atrocious grammar and glaring typos.

After that, I send the draft off to Penny, my copy editor and proofreader, who takes a few weeks to edit it. Then she sends it back to me, along with her notes, and after I review her changes and accept/discard them as I see fit, it’s formatting time. Once the book is formatted, she proofreads it to ensure that things like spelling, punctuation, and the formatting itself are perfect, or at least as close to perfect as possible!

8. You often talk about your love of Greek myth. Which Greek myth speaks to you most as a writing muse?

Oh man, this is a tough one! But I think I have to go with the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. It’s just so beautiful and heartbreaking and poetic and poignant in its handling of two themes with which every human being can empathize: the power of love and the tragedy of death. A close second is the myth of Demeter and Persephone, for the same reason.

9. Every book has its parts. Which part of a book do you love to write the most beginning, middle, or end?

I love writing the middle because at that point, I really have no idea what could happen. I feel like a reader who’s learning more about the story and characters with every page. It’s exciting to sit down at your laptop and not quite know where you’re being led!

10. Myself and many others aspire to be writers like you someday. What is your advice for the budding author?

Never give up. Even when life gets in the way and every writing door seems to be slamming, never stop writing. Even if it’s just 100 words a day. Even if you have no aspirations to be published or to let anyone see your work. If you love writing, you must write, because, as Franz Kafka so perfectly put it, “A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.”

• Write to express yourself. Write to explore. Write to play. Write to find light in darkness. Write to find hope in despair. Write to find peace amid chaos.

About Diana:

Diana has been writing all her life, starting with her own versions of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comics when she was four. She’s always been fascinated with Greek mythology and comic book superheroes, all of which inspire her fantasy novels. She’s also a gym rat who loves to pretend she’s Wonder Woman while lifting heavy weights and swinging from rings and pull-up bars. She co-owns CrossFit 925 in San Antonio, Texas with her husband Ben.

Diana currently writes entertainment and media-related articles for movieguide.org and contributes regularly to charismamag.com. When she isn’t writing or working out, she can be found playing Scrabble with her husband, watching Marvel and Pixar movies, and pinning recipes on Pinterest that she never gets around to cooking.

You can find Diana at facebook.com/dianafit4faith, Twitter @dandersontyler, and Instagram @authordianatyler.

Her next fantasy novel, The Petros Chronicles: Age of the Ashers, will be released in 2017. Get the full-length novel for FREE by visiting http://www.dianaandersontyler.com/sig….

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments!

-Till next time!

TOG Books 2-4: A Discussion

At the beginning of this year, I started off my reading with Throne of Glass… as the year progressed a little I finished books 2-4 consecutively with no regrets. I was going to do a review of each, but then I realized I cannot talk about one without talking about the others.

So here we are… with a super spoiler filled discussion of books 2-4 of the Throne of Glass series.

Let’s start off with Crown of Midnight

“A line that should never be crossed is about to be breached.

It puts this entire castle in jeopardy—and the life of your friend.”

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

Rating: 5 Stars

Everything that was lacking in TOG was completely forgotten in Crown of Midnight. In this book we get some true Celaena assassin badassery. Plus a finally approved ship to route for. Although in retrospect the fact that I said in my original review that both Celaenas og romances felt a bit far fetched and kinda wrong for Celaena was right, but I can’t help but admit that I really enjoyed Choal and Celaena coming together in this book. (Man do things change later, but it was good while it lasted).

In this book we learn about just how bad the king truly is and every time he set Celaena out to kill it filled my head with dread. However the fact that she kept faking people’s deaths and hiding info from everyone gave me hope. However, I want to also mention that a certain “friend” that Celaena is sent out to kill is a complete and utter idiot and and a-hole. When Celaena did eventually kill him I was glad, but the fact that Choal didn’t understand it or really even want her because of it made me so angry. I was glad when she is told to leave.

Also I have to mention Fleetfoot the dog here. I live for the fact that Celaena has a pet! It’s a wonderful addition and their moments together made me so happy!

Heir of Fire

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

The bestselling series that has captured readers all over the world reaches new heights in this sequel to the New York Times best-selling Crown of Midnight. Packed with heart-pounding action, fierce new characters, and swoon-worthy romance, this third book will enthrall readers from start to finish.

Rating: 4 Stars

You see this is where things really start melding together for me. I felt that this book was better then TOG but not as good as Crown of Midnight, but I can’t even remember why? The feeling of Crown of Midnight is very different from the other two books and I think it’s more of a transitional book then any of the others.

In this book Caelena is Caelena no longer. She is Aelin. The fact that this book is where Caelena takes on the arduous task of getting over her mental state and claiming herself made the reading of it feel without hope and it made me wish I could speak with her and give her guidance (not that she would listen).

I will say that I was so excited for Rowan to appear. There wasn’t that much romance sparking in this book because it was very focused on getting Aelin to be stronger and become capable with her powers, but I loved Rowan from the moment he came into the picture. He is absolutely incredible.

Queen of Shadows

The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Rating: 5 Stars!

This book is by far the best of the series so far. There is magic and progression and talk of witches with their point of view. A mixture of a little bit of everyone and everything coming together to form an epic apex for this story. Things happen in this novel. Morality is skewed in new ways and Rowan and Aelin are finally fully together and I love how powerful they are together.

However my absolute favorite part of this novel was Manon’s point of you. A Blackbeak and proud of it she is ruthless, cunning, and has a questioning mind. She is a character that becomes so real and so fully developed you can’t help but love her. I am so happy that Manon exists. I love how she seems to grow and take charge with no sense of consequences or anything else. She does as she likes and I’m so excited to see what more happens with her in Empire Of Storms. Especially where the Wyverns are concerned.

This mammoth of a book is jam packed with rises and falls, real decisions to make with harrowing consequences, and a set of characters that all have their own agenda. I hope that this series continues to get better and better. I know that right now, I’m fully in love with it all.

Thanks for reading! What are your thoughts on the TOG series?

-Till next time!

Series I’ve Started, but Haven’t Finished… Yet.

Book series are like beautiful beasts that seem to just keep appearing again and again with no end. There are millions of them out there, many that I will never ever get to read, but there are also series I have started, but haven’t completed and really need to (especially when I own the last book…) 

Anyway, here are some series I have begun and have yet to finish: 

The Divergent Trilogy 

I have read: 


I started reading Divergent way after the Divergent train came and went. Like always I am more than fashionably late to the party. 

What I have left: 

I’ve owned Insurgent and Allegent for a long while now. I really should have read them already. 

Graceling Trilogy

I have read: 

Graceling and Fire are perfect to me. I love them with all my heart. The only reason I hadn’t read Bitterblue yet was because it took me a long time to make sure to go out and buy it. 
What I have left: 


I just recently purchased Bitterblue and I hope to read it very soon I love the first too books too much not to read it as soon as I can!

The Waterfire Saga

I have read:


These novels are so cool! I love the unique journey of following these friends on their journey under the sea. These books are amazing!

What I have left: 


I have these two on my shelves and I really need to get to reading them soon! I simply have to make them a priority. 

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Trilogy 

I have read: 


Probably one of the best contemporaries I’ve ever read. I loved this book!

What I have left: 


I’ve been wanting P.S. I Still love you since forever! Especially now with the new book coming out I need to catch myself up!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy 

I have read: 


This is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read and I loved it! I’m so sad I haven’t been able to read the other two. 

What I have left: 

One day I will buy these and that day will be happy because I would read this immediately. Laini Taylor is a master of her craft!

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post! Writing about books so much has made me realize how many books I have yet to read and that I will never ever read even a fraction of what is out there, but giving myself to those books I have read and love makes my obsession all the more worthwhile! 

Before I go, a mini update on my Kickstarter Campaign for The Raven Book Crates. I got my first two pledges! Hopefully I can make my goal soon enough. There are only 27 days left!

Share. Support. Donate. 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/918284718/the-raven-book-crate
-Till next time!