Colorless by Rita Stradling @stradling_rita @Xpressoreads

Rita Stradling
Publication date: August 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
In Domengrad, there are rules all must live by: Fear the Gods. Worship the Magicians. Forsake the Iconoclasts.
To Annabelle Klein, the rules laid down by the Magicians are the mere ramblings of stuffy old men. As far as she’s concerned, the historic Iconoclasts, heretics who nearly destroyed the Magicians so long ago, are nothing but myth. She has much more important matters to worry about.
Heiress to a manor mortgaged down to its candlesticks and betrothed to her loathsome, lecherous cousin, sixteen-year-old Annabelle doubts the gods could forsake her more.
Then Annabelle is informed of her parents’ sudden and simultaneous deaths, and all of the pigment drips out of her skin and hair, leaving her colorless. Within moments, Annabelle is invisible and forgotten by all who know her.
Living like a wraith in her own home, Annabelle discovers that to regain her color she must solve the mystery behind her parents’ murders and her strange transformation.
Meanwhile, hundreds of the Magicians’ monks, with their all-black eyes and conjoined minds, have usurped control of Annabelle’s family manor. An Iconoclast is rumored to be about—a person who they claim goes unseen, unheard, and lost to memory, yet is the greatest threat to all of Domengrad. For the first time in a hundred years, the monks plan to unleash the dire wolves of old.
Their only target: Annabelle.

Author Bio:
Rita Stradling is the author of The Deception Dance series, the Dakota Kekoa series and The Fourteen Day Soul Detox Novella Serial. She has a BA in Art History and a particular love for modern and medieval art.
Rita lives with her husband and son in Northern California.
She has an insatiable novel addiction and mostly reads young adult and adult: romance, paranormal, urban fantasy and high fantasy.


April 2017 Reads

Another eighteen books this month. I marked a few off my TBR list, read a couple picture books with my boys and got into graphic novels. Here they all are in no particular order and don't forget to read my reviews for these books. You can find them on the left side of the page under the post list. Happy April...

Moon Called - Patricia Briggs
Is a Worry Worrying You? - Ferida Wolff

Ivy in Bloom - Vanita Oelschlager
We Were Liars - E. Lockhart

Magic Words - Unknown
Royal Bastards - Andrew Shvarts

Red Sister - Mark Lawrence
The Wonder - Emma Donoghue

Mask of Shadows - Linsey Miller
Arena - Holly Jennings

Gauntlet - Holly Jennings
The Radium Girls - Kate Moore

Who Killed Superwoman? - Phil Jimenez
Deadman - Sarah Vaughn

Under-The-Bed Fred - Colin Jack
Who She Was - Stormy Smith

Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman
The Hidden Legacy - Christine Rees

#BookReview | Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Title: Red Sister
By: Mark Lawrence
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Publisher: Ace

Summary from Goodreads: I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

Review: I've heard it said that Red Sister is the adult version of Harry Potter, but I didn't see that correlation here. In fact, this book was much better written and the story was its own. The only common factor the two stories has is that the young girls are trained in a school like setting to use magic. 

I enjoyed this world. It was full of mystery and darkness. The sisters of the convent were strong and full of power and I loved each and everyone of them. I do admit that I was a little lost some times with the progression of the story, but I quickly caught up.

Mark Lawrence has come up with an epic tale of magic and wonder and I can't wait for the sequel.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

#BookReview | Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love by Sarah Vaughn

Title: Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love
Genre: Graphic Novel
Release Date: October 5th, 2016
Publisher: DC Comics

Summary from Goodreads: Trapped inside an old gothic mansion, Deadman must battle the forces of darkness alongside Berenice, a young woman with a complicated love life who is gifted-or cursed-with the ability to communicate with the dead. Romance, mystery, and evil await in the new, bimonthly miniseries DEADMAN: DARK MANSION OF FORBIDDEN LOVE, by Sarah Vaughn (Alex + Ada) and Lan Medina (FABLES)!

Review: What really drew me to this read was the name. I've never heard of Darkman, and the Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love just sounds so strange. I love it. The story started out a little slow for me, but once I got into it, I couldn't put it down. 

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

#BookReview | Under-The-Bed Fred by Linda Bailey

Title: Under-The-Bed Fred
By: Linda Bailey
Genre: Picture Book
Release Date: September 19th, 2017
Publisher: Tundra Books (NY)

Summary from Goodreads: From the team who brought you If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur comes a laugh-out-loud early chapter book about befriending the monster under the bed.

There's a monster under Leo's bed making a ruckus every night. When Leo needs to go to the bathroom, he leaps from the bed to the door -- careful not to put his feet on the floor within the monster's reach. But one night Leo gets tired of being scared and boldly calls out to the monster to see if they can't just work something out. Surprisingly, the monster listens, and Leo finds out that even enormous monsters have fears! Leo and his monster, Fred, team up to face their fears, each with his own unique strengths. Over the course of five easy-to-read chapters, their friendship blooms as they face everything from bullies to bedbugs. A funny and endearing tale of two very different and unlikely friends, in the tradition of Bink and Gollie and Frog and Toad.

Review: This was an awesome read. I love books that I can relate to and my kids can also get something out of. I don't know how many times as a kid, I jumped into bed before something grabbed my feet. Of course, I thought it was an alligator. The art was off the wall, very creative. I loved this book from start to finish.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

#WeeklyMenu Week 194

Happy Monday! We are down to the last week of April and I can't believe how fast this month has flown by. 

My middle boy is almost seven. My oldest has a music concert this week and the wee little man who isn't really that little, still won't potty train... I just can't win. 

I guess if there is one constant in my life, it would have to be chaos. Total CHAOS!

Enjoy this weeks menu...




- Beef Tacos




Tuna Sandwiches

#BookReview | Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Title: Royal Bastards
By: Andrew Shvarts
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: May 30th, 2017
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Summary from Goodreads: Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . . .

Review: I'm always drawn to this kind of book, Fantasy with a little romance. Royal Bastards was a good read, with a fair amount of world building and magical elements woven throughout the story. I found myself really drawn to Zell's character. I loved his whole concept and how we found out what he was really made of in the end. There was one thing that rubbed me the wrong way, but it was minor. Some parts of the book were out of character, like when Tilla said something about the "Guys" or some of the dialogue could be found in todays world instead of this old world setting. Its like the book broke character and thought it was Urban Fantasy for a moment. Even with this little pet peeve of mine, I still gave it four stars. It was enjoyable and I can't wait for the sequel.  

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

#BookReview | Gauntlet by Holly Jennings

Title: Gauntlet
By: Holly Jennings
Genre: Urban Fantasy 
Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Publisher: Ace

Summary from Goodreads: Kali Ling isn’t afraid of dying. She’s been killed hundreds of times in hundreds of different ways. And she knows there are things much more terrifying than death…

There’s a new game in town. A brutal, winner-takes-all, international video game tournament between the world’s most elite players, promising fame, prestige, and unbelievable fortune. But there’s a catch. The game uses new VR pods guaranteed to push digital warriors to their physical and psychological brink—adapting every time a gamer makes a move.

As the first female captain and youngest team owner in VGL history, Kali is used to defying the odds. But as the all-star tournament heats up, her determination begins to waver and the pressures of media, sponsors, and the game itself begin to put cracks in her hard-set convictions.

If Kali’s Team Defiance is to survive, they’ll have to find a way to be stronger than ever before. But battling the system may prove too difficult for even the most hardened of fighters…

Review: That ending! I just want to scream. This book was epic from start to finish. There was so much action, but the story in the middle was just as good. I wanted to root for team Defiance the entire time, hoping that they would win. I can't wait to see whats in story for my favorite gamers.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

#BookReview | Is a Worry Worrying You? by Ferida Wolff

Title: Is a Worry Worrying You?
By: Ferida Wolff
Genre: Picture Book
Release Date: April 15th, 2005
Publisher: Tanglewood

Summary from Goodreads: This book addresses children's worries with humor and imagination, as hilarious scenarios teach kids the use of perspective and the art of creative problem—solving.

Review: I loved how this book digs into how children might see worries in their lives. I have an autistic son who worries a lot. Worries about school, worries about dinner, bedtime, bath time. If anything changes, he worries. I can see this book being an asset for him to read when he is starting to feel the worry monster sneaking in. The art was amazing and the layout was easy to follow. Loved it!

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.