Review: Thrones and Bones: Nightborn

Nightborn (Thrones & Bones #2)
By Lou Anders
Publisher: Penguin Random House/Crown
Published: July 14, 2015
Copy received from publisher for an honest review. 

Goodreads Summary
From the author of Frostborn comes Book 2 in the acclaimed Thrones and Bones fantasy-adventure trilogy for fans of Lloyd Alexander and Brandon Mull.

Karn Korlundsson is a gamer. Not a riddle solver. But in order to rescue his best friend, Thianna Frostborn, he will need to travel to the faraway city of Castlebriar (by wyvern), learn how to play a new board game called Charioteers (not a problem), decipher the Riddle of the Horn, and tangle with mysterious elves.

Meet Desstra. She’s in training to join the Underhand—the elite agents of the dark elves. When she crosses paths with Karn, she is not all that she appears to be.

Everyone is chasing after the horn of Osius, an ancient artifact with the power to change the world. The lengths to which Karn will go in the name of friendship will be sorely tested. Who knew that solving a riddle could be so deadly?

The novel includes instructions for playing the board game Charioteers. Visit for additional games, maps, character profiles, and more!
This review has spoilers in it from book 1 if you have not read it. I want you to be aware!
Ahhh, back to the complicated lives of Karn and Thianna! I love it!

From Book 1, Frostborn, we met our duo. We had a backstabbing uncle who tried to kill Karn so he could inherit the family farm. He was taken care of by Helltoppr and Karn and his family were okay in the end.

We had Thianna, who is a half giant/half human who had women tracking her after she blew a horn that was her mother's.

Because of that horn, Karn and Thianna were running for their lives and ran into a dragon, Orm. The dragon and other creatures of the same type, we found out, were controlled with the horn. The goal of the women who were hunting Thianna in the first book was to get the horn so they could still control the creatures. The creatures, however, wanted the horn destroyed. That was done!

Come to Book 2, Nightborn, we found out there's a second horn. Yowzas! The dragon, Orm, sent Thianna on a quest to find and destroy the horn. Karn was also recruited after Thianna went missing.

As Karn went on his long journey to find his friend, he found more riddles and a new "friend." The new friend, Desstra, was a dark elf that we met in the beginning of Nightborn (hence the title). She had disguised herself as a wood elf to fit into the city they were in. He thought she was a friend trying to help him find Thianna, but she was part of a group of dark elves trying to find the second horn.

Thianna and Karn were eventually reunited. She had been held captive by the group of dark elves. The pair were together, but left by the dark elves to be killed. Of course, they escaped! They're an awesome duo!

All through their quest to find the horn, they met more people and challenging situations. Their friendship was the top priority. Karn looked for Thianna and didn't hesitate because she was his friend.

This book ended with the pair having a third person with them...Desstra! She didn't believe that she had to kill, hurt, or trick people like the other dark elves. She decided to stay with Karn and Thianna. And, they let her stay with them.

The adventures and events (chariot fighting, y'all!!!) were amazingly described and I could see the images clearly in my head. This book was definitely a movie for my brain. Lou Anders is a great fantasy storyteller!

I am still thoroughly enjoying this series and I cannot wait for the next book! Again, if you enjoy middle grade, fantasy, adventure, or friendship, this is a book and series for you.
Karn and Thianna are sticking with the 4 Mickeys from me! Their adventures and the story were great!

Review: Thrones & Bones: Frostborn

Frostborn (Thrones & Bones #1)
By Lou Anders
Publisher: Penguin Random House/Crown
Published: August 5, 2014
Copy received from publisher for an honest review. 

Goodreads Summary
Meet Karn. He is destined to take over the family farm in Norrøngard. His only problem? He’d rather be playing the board game Thrones and Bones.

Enter Thianna. Half human, half frost giantess. She’s too tall to blend in with other humans but too short to be taken seriously as a giant.

When family intrigues force Karn and Thianna to flee into the wilderness, they have to keep their sense of humor and their wits about them. But survival can be challenging when you’re being chased by a 1,500-year-old dragon, Helltoppr the undead warrior and his undead minions, an evil uncle, wyverns, and an assortment of trolls and giants.
It has been a while since I've read and reviewed a book. I am glad this opportunity presented itself because I honestly enjoyed Frostborn. The story definitely took me back a few years to when I used to play an online RPG. My heart smiled and my memories came rushing back. 

In Frostborn, Lou Anders created a fictional world with a bit of mythology and fantasy figures. Think Lord of the Rings, but for a younger crowd.

Our story begins with a typical boy who has no desire to take over his family's farm. He would much rather be a kid and play his favorite game, Thrones and Bones. Each year, Karn's family travels to meet and trade with the frost giants. This year, Karn meets Thianna, a half-giant (half human, half giant). Since they're the only 2 "kids", they decide to hang out.

While they're playing and talking, they develop kind of a friendship. I loved that Thianna took pride and was happy each time Karn called her big or tall. Since she was a half-giant, she wasn't near as tall as the giants and was often made fun of by some of the younger giants.

When we get to the mystery involving a spirit and Karn's [evil] uncle, something bad happens. Karn is then on the run!

When the giants get back to their home, there is a group of women hunting for Thianna. She, also, is then on the run!

The two of them, fortunately, end up together while they're running and hiding.

Once together, the two manage to get into trouble and run into creatures that no one wants to run into. However, since they were together, they were able to survive. If not together, they wouldn't have made it individually. Thianna had some frost magic and brute force, whereas Karn had brains and thinking skills.

I really enjoyed that the two of them really relied on one another. They built a fantastic friendship, even though they were running for their lives. I was turning pages so quickly because I was so worried (and excited) as to what was going to come at them next. Karn and Thianna formed an everlasting and strong connection.

If you are a fan of middle grade, RPGs, fantasy, LotR, or even The Lion King, you will enjoy Frostborn! Yes, The Lion King! There were so many parallels that it made my little Disney heart pitter-patter!

Frostborn gets a solid 4 Mickeys from me. It was an adventurous and entertaining read.
Praise for Thrones and Bones: Frostborn:
“Future fans of Tolkien and George R. R. Martin can happily cut their serial-fantasy teeth on this first book of an eventual series.” —Kirkus Reviews 
“A fun, fast-paced, and highly enjoyable tale.” —Garth Nix, bestselling author of the Abhorsen trilogy
“A powerful, fast-paced tale. . . . The setting is rich, the characters well-defined, and the danger ever-paramount.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred
“An excellent choice for readers new to the genre. The themes of staying true to oneself, teamwork, and individuality will resonate with readers.” —School Library Journal
“The most delightful fantasy I have read in ages. . . . Put me on the waiting list for book 2!” —Amy Plum, international bestselling author of the Die For Me series

Spelled: Spotlight (w/ Giveaway!)

By Betsy Schow
Sourcebooks Fire
June 2, 2015

Advance Praise for Spelled
“A cute adventure with romance set in a world full of fairy-tale mash-ups. Readers will love Dorthea’s evolution from spoiled princess to strong, confident heroine… For Oz fans, this work is a great clean-read alternative to Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die.” -School Library Journal

“This wickedly funny, fast-paced adventure has it all: brains, courage, and heart. (Plus a kickin’ pair of heels.) .” --Jen Calonita, author of The Secrets of My Hollywood Life and Fairy Tale Reform School series

“Fairy tale survival rule #1, do NOT read this book late at night. You will wake up your entire family with loud laughter. Fairy tale survival rule #2, if you love the Wizard of Oz, clever fairy tale mash-ups, and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing what will happen until the very end, you MUST read Spelled.” --J Scott Savage, award winning author of Farworld, Case File 13, and the Mysteries of Cove series.

“A hilarious and snarky reimagining of the world of Oz, along with many other fairy tales injected throughout, "Spelled" is one fabulous read…Kick off those silver slippers and tuck in with this wonderful tale!” —Senator Sipes, Lil Book Bug (Palmdale, CA)

Book Info:
Talk about unhappily ever after. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the not-so-charming prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.

Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving Dorthea with hair made up of emerald flames and the kingdom in chaos. Her parents and everyone she loves are stuck in some place called “Kansas.” Now it’s up to Dorthea and her pixed-off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse…before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.

Betsy Schow:
Betsy Schow is the author of the memoir Finished Being Fat, and has been featured on The Today Show and in The Wall Street Journal. She lives in Utah, but travels the country with Color Me Rad 5k, and partners with nonprofits to teach kids creative thinking and how to reach their goals.

Excerpt from Spelled:
Most of the crowd had dispersed. The final few stragglers looked at me with the all­too-common look of fear mixed with trepidation. Pix ’em. They were just servants. It wasn’t like their opinion mattered.

Only one remained, watching me with open curiosity. He looked to be in his late teens or was magically enhanced to appear so. He could have been a hundred for all I knew. I’d never seen him before in my life. He was handsome enough, for a commoner, even in his worn leather pants and cracked work boots. A foreigner, his hair was unruly and dark auburn, which complemented his tanned but dirt-smudged complexion, though the tall, dark stranger vibe was ruined by his piercing pale blue eyes.

Well, I’d had enough of being a sideshow for the day. “If you’re the new gardener, the hedges are overgrown and in need of a trim.” I pointed in the direction of my father. “While you’re there, you can help the king with the wisps.”

The young man’s expression clouded over, but he didn’t move.

I stamped my foot and pointed more forcefully. “Off with you. Courtyard’s that way. Be sure to clean those awful boots before coming back in.”

“Someone told me I’d find a princess of great worth here. One with the strength to be the hero this realm needs.” He stared at me with those unsettling blue eyes. They were cold, like ice water—made me shiver from head to toe. Then his gaze seemed to search even deeper. Finally, he looked through me, like I was nothing.

In brisk steps, he strode across the marble to the courtyard. But before crossing the threshold, he turned back to glare at me with his lip curled ever so slightly. “It seems she was mistaken.”

Just like that, I had been sifted, weighed, and found wanting.

I felt my own lip curl in response. How rude! Who the Grimm was this peasant to judge me? I was wearing a Glenda original. Original! Not some fairy-godmother knockoff worn by those servant girls turned royal. I was a crown princess, for the love of fairy, and no one dismissed me.

Before I could put the boy in his place—down in the dirt, where he belonged—a clatter came from behind, making me nearly jump out of my shoes. I checked and was relieved that Sterling had simply dropped his sword. By the time I looked back, the gardener was gone.

After stowing his blade, Sterling held up his shield, not in defense of the entrance but so he could look at his reflection. “Clearly he’s blind and doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

I didn’t ask for Sterling’s opinion, but it made me feel better.

Until he opened his mouth again.

“Worth, pffft. I mean, look around at all the jewels. Your palace has everything you could ever want. Honestly, I don’t know what you’re fussing about. Why would anyone want to leave?”

Because a cage is still a cage, no matter how big or glittering the bars are.

And I would find a way free, no matter the cost.


Giveaway: Ruskerville Harry Potter Planner (Ends 4/7/15)

Hello my dear friends and followers,

I have a special and fantastic giveaway for y'all that I have been so excited to do! This is not part of a hop. This giveaway is just because of something I found on Etsy and just knew that I needed to buy one for myself and one for someone else who is pretty dang awesome: one of you!

One winner will get to choose one of these Harry Potter inspired planners. There are 5 different options to select from: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, or Hogwarts. You will also have the option of selecting which month you want to start your planner with or leave the months blank. While you're checking out each of the links for the individual planners, make sure to look at the other pictures of the inside. The images on the inside pages are great and bring a smile to my face!

Overview (from Etsy)
  • Handmade item
  • Materials: polyfrost cover, 28 lb smooth paper, bronze spiral
  • Made to order
  • Ships worldwide from Menomonie, Wisconsin
Since Lou can ship worldwide, this will be an International giveaway. I can hear the squeals from around the globe, y'all! This is so very exciting. I know! Please review the International shipping guidelines Lou has for the shop before you enter so you know 100% what you need to know for that type of shipping. 

I did chat with Lou from Ruskerville on Etsy. Along with letting me use the images from the Etsy page, Lou has also given everyone a chance to buy a planner with a 20% off coupon. You can hang in there until April 8th to see if you are the winner of the giveaway, or you can use the special coupon code Lou made for all of us to use! The coupon code will be available to use now through April 30th, 2015.

The code to use on Etsy for Ruskerville's shop for this occasion is: WORLDOFBOOKS.

Giveaway Details
  • One winner will get to select one Harry Potter themed planner from Ruskerville's Etsy shop. (Value: $20 USD)
  • International shipping is available, so International entries are accepted! 
  • Entrants must be at least 13 years old.
  • No cheating!
  • The winner will be emailed on Wednesday, April 8. 
  • He/she will have 48 hours to reply to the email or a new winner will need to be selected.
  • Smile!
  • Complete as many entries on the Rafflecopter as you'd like. Everyone should definitely enjoy the FREEBIE! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for stopping by and good luck to everyone! Remember about the coupon code for Ruskerville's Etsy shop that you can use from now until April 30th. The code is WORLDOFBOOKS.

Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop (Ends 3/25)

Welcome to another giveaway! This one is an important one for me since I desperately NEED to clean up my shelves a make room for new books! Hah! :)

Thank you to Kathy, I Am a Reader, for hosting this giveaway.

Make sure to check out the other blogs participating in this hop. There is a linky at the end of this post or you may click here!
Giveaway Details
  • One winner will get to choose TWO books from the books pictured below.
  • US/Canadian addresses only for this particular giveaway. Sorry!
  • Entrants must be at least 13 years old.
  • No cheating.
  • The winner will be emailed on Thursday, March 26. 
  • He/she will have 48 hours to reply to the email or a new winner will need to be selected.
  • Smile!
For the Twitter follow option, your Twitter account must be an account that is used for more than just a "giveaway Twitter account." That irks me. If you use a Twitter name that is not your "real" account, I will just disqualify you. Please don't waste your time...or mine.
Books to select from, in order from left to right:
The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz (hardback)
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick (hardback)
Looking for Alaska by John Green (paperback)
The F-It List by Julie Halpern (hardback)
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (signed hardback)
The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson (paperback)
The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller (paperback)
The 100 by Kass Morgan (hardback)
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd (paperback)
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (hardback)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other blogs participating in the hop!