The Whimsical Mama

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Top Ten Tuesday #90: If You Like Underrated Fantasy Books, Try These September 29, 2015

b301e-toptentuesday

Each week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is:

Top Ten Underrated Fantasy Books to Try

I’m all about some fantasy, and these are some of my favourite underrated reads.

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1. Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore


2. Waterfell by Amalie Howard


3. Chronicles of Faerie by OR Melling


4. The Falconer by Elizabeth May


5. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows


6. The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows


7. Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White


8. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer


9. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch


10. Everneath by Brodi Ashton

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*ARC Review* Infinite by Jodi Meadows March 20, 2014

***I was granted permission to read this by the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotations may change between ARC and publication. Many thanks to Jodi and HarperCollins!***

Rating:5 stars
Pub date: 28 January 2014
Publisher:Katherine Tegen Books a HarperCollins Imprint
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format:ARC via author & publisher
Status:Book three of the Incarnate/Newsoul series

Summary:

DESTRUCTION
The Year of Souls begins with an earthquake—an alarming rumble from deep within the earth—and it’s only the first of greater dangers to come. The Range caldera is preparing to erupt. Ana knows that as Soul Night approaches, everything near Heart will be at risk.

FLIGHT
Ana’s exile is frightening, but it may also be fortuitous, especially if she can convince her friends to flee Heart and Range with her. They’ll go north, seeking answers and allies to stop Janan’s ascension. And with any luck, the newsouls will be safe from harm’s reach.

CHOICE
The oldsouls might have forgotten the choice they made to give themselves limitless lifetimes, but Ana knows the true cost of reincarnation. What she doesn’t know is whether she’ll have the chance to finish this one sweet life with Sam, especially if she returns to Heart to stop Janan once and for all.

With gorgeous romance and thrilling action, the final book in the Incarnate trilogy offers a brilliant conclusion to the compelling questions of this fascinating world, where one new girl is the key to the lives of millions.

My thoughts:

Honesty moment. I read this ARC in November. I was so overwhelmed by its perfection and beauty that I was incapable of writing my review then. Since I was passing it along to Mary (Mary Had a Little Book Blog) and Alex (Peace, Love, and Fangirl), I just wrote down a synopsis in the format I wanted for my review. I even went ahead and scheduled it for January, closer to the release day. I knew I would have it done by then. Life happened and along comes January and my most embarrassing blogger moment. My notes went up. I’d never completed my review. OOPS! Thankfully, before too many people saw it, Jodi let me know when she checked out my “review” Oh, I was MORTIFIED. Thank you, Jodi, for not going postal on me! (:

I was so surprised when Jodi handed me the coveted Infinite ARC at the end of October when we met up for lunch. I was already losing it that I was getting to have lunch and hang out with one of my favourite authors. I really don’t know how I held myself together! Jodi is a super awesome person and if you ever have the chance to go to an event, DO NOT hesitate!

It’s such a bittersweet moment when you’re faced with reading the conclusion to a beloved series. I left Infinite in my TBR pile for a few weeks because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. Then the time came. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye, but I was ready to read. And after reading, I was ready to fangirl EVERYWHERE. Now it’s time to fangirl and give my final review of the Incarnate/New Soul series.

Infinite was hands down my favourite of the trilogy. It was simply superb. Jodi time and again ripped out my heart and stitched it back together. Bringing back Cris? *dies* Sam and Ana drama? *dies* Sam and Ana makeouts? *dies* The feels. Oh, the feels. I can’t even begin to talk about the feels!

Right from the beginning, Ana & Sam are in danger. That’s to be expected with the way things ended in Asunder. Ana’s been exiled and Sam is going with her. An earthquake strikes as soon as the Year of Souls begins. Sam is hurt (of course, he can’t escape chapter one before Jodi starts being mean!) and Ana helps bandage up his hand.

“It’s probably smart to get away from Range. I’m glad you’re coming with me.”

“I’ll always go anywhere with you.”

Ana and Sam, pg 11

Um. OMG. ❤

The danger increases from the beginning. Jodi does such a fantastic job with everything. The thing she does the best, as she has in the previous books, is develop Ana and Sam’s relationship. From their chance encounter in the woods in Incarnate until the epilogue at the end of Infinite, Jodi continues to add layer after layer of depth to their relationship. Not only are they eventually a couple, but they are great friends. A good relationship needs love and friendship and Jodi gets Ana and Sam spot on! Not only are they talented musical duo, they also prove that they can be accomplished burglars in Infinite.

“So I take it you’ve broken into a lot of private archive rooms?”

Snow quieted his reply, keeping it from carrying. “I admit to nothing except that Stef is a bad influence.”

I snorted. “You can’t fool me. I know better than to assume it’s all Stef corrupting you.”

“But you know her well enough to realise that most of the trouble I’ve gotten into is her fault, right?” He flashed me a look of boyish innocence.

– Ana & Sam, pg 62

Oh, Stef. Always a bad influence!

Another relationship Jodi does well is Stef and Sam. They are the best of friends and it’s an easy friendship, but also a friendship that continues to build. I loved getting to see how their friendship began in Phoenix Overture and it adds so much more insight into the relationship in the rest of the trilogy. Stef also is a great friend and ally to Ana and that relationship continues to build too. I love Stef. Jodi also throws in a bit of humour at Stef’s expense by showing that her technology is not infallible.

“Can’t you take back control?” Whit asked.

If I had more time, and a data console. My SED just isn’t powerful enough.”

“Stef’s Everything Device isn’t everything after all?” Whit teased.

Stef glared, and no one laughed.

– Whit and Stef, pg 98

Don’t mess with Stef’s ego!

While the group is searching for a way to destroy Janan, they run into trouble and in the nick of time the sylph come to the rescue led by Cris. YAY CRIS! Oh, I love Cris. I still wish he would ‘fess up his story to Jodi. I need more Cris! I really loved getting to learn the back story of the sylph. My heart really went out to them. I wanted to cuddle with them (but not get burned, thanks) and tell them it would be okay. Fine, you caught me, I really only want to cuddle with Cris, but you catch my drift. Sylph = screwed unless Ana helps to redeem them. (No extra pressure on Ana, right?)

I was really excited to finally discover why the dragons hate Sam and are always bent on killing him in every other life. Jodi did a great job with the dragons. (: It would’ve been nice to see more banter between them and Ana! Oh, Acid Breath! I also really enjoyed the role the dragons played in the great battle.

Speaking of battle… there’s an epic battle at the end. Of course, right? We KNEW this is where we were heading. How could it not? Battle = death. Death = what Jodi does best by torturing her characters and readers. Amirite? Things hit the fan. Big time. Loved characters die (I cried, a lot), options are offered, and choices are made. Jodi is definitely evil and a true artist at her craft. You’ll have to read it to see just how evil she is and how it all comes together in the end. Does everyone get a Happily Ever After? Does Acid Breath eat Sam? Do Ana and Sam finally, you know? (;

For me, Infinite was the perfect ending to this glorious trilogy. I am so sad that it’s over, but I am happy to have been a part of this ride. I highly HIGHLY recommend this incredible series. Jodi is forever and always on my read ANYTHING she writes list. PS Be sure to check out her brand spanking new series Orphan Queen when it comes out in 2015. You better believe I will pimp it out just like I do Incarnate!

 

About the author

Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy and the forthcoming ORPHAN QUEEN Duology (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen). Visit her at www.jodimeadows.com

*A Kippy is a cat

I said I pimp out Incarnate, right? Well, that’s fortunate for you, dear reader, because I happen to have a SIGNED copy of Incarnate just waiting to be won and devoured. This giveaway is open to US only (Sorry international readers! I promise I will one day have giveaways for you too!) Entrants must be 13 years old to enter. Those entrants under 18 MUST have parental consent. Giveaway is open March 20th 2014 (12am) through April 10th 2014 (12am). I reserve the right to disqualify entries in violation of my giveaway policies. All entries WILL be verified. Good luck. May the odds be ever in your favor! (:

GIVEAWAY LINK!!!

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*Review & Giveaway* Phoenix Overture by Jodi Meadows November 25, 2013

Rating:  5 stars
Pub date: 3 September 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format: e-book, personal copy
Status: Novella from the Incarnate series

Summary:

This breathtaking and lyrical novella captures a thrilling and momentous decision for a young man and the people he loves. Told from the perspective of Sam, the sensitive musician from Jodi Meadows’s Incarnate series, lifetimes before he meets Ana, Phoenix Overture is a story of love and loss, strength and courage, and facing the consequences of the hardest of decisions.

Phoenix Overture offers existing fans a deeper insight into a favorite character and the intriguing history of Heart, while new readers will find a stunning introduction to this rich world and the romantic, captivating fantasy of the Incarnate series.

In the wilds around the Community where Sam and his family have taken shelter, life is dangerous. Dragons, trolls, centaurs, and other monsters fill the world. The word comes from the council that everyone must leave and journey to rescue their leader, Janan, who has been abducted by a mysterious new enemy in the north. Faced with overwhelming threats that bring death and destruction, Sam and the others reach the northern Range and, reunited with Janan, are given an unimaginable opportunity. Although it would give them the privilege to live and learn and love without fear, the choice is not without its own dire consequences. And lives—though not theirs—are sure to be lost. Just how much are they willing to give up to save themselves?

HarperTeen Impulse is a digital imprint focused on young adult short stories and novellas, with new releases the first Tuesday of each month.

My thoughts:

***SPOILERS FOR ASUNDER!!!! This is a prequel, but has MAJOR spoilers for the second series book***

Oh, Dossam. I don’t think it’s possible to love him any more.

After Ana sees the skeletons chained together in the tower, I HAD to know what led Sam and the others to agree to their reincarnation while Janan devoured newsouls. What could be so important to let them sacrifice so many others for their own immortality?

I let out lots of fangirl squeals when Jodi announced that she was working on a novella from Sam’s point of view. No, I’m not ashamed to admit it. When I finally got my hands on the novella, I was so ecstatic. You know who was more excited? My toddler. He asked me numerous times while I was reading to “Read, mama, please.”

Let me put a quick summary on this. Bad things happen. Evil authors are evil. Yup. That can tell you everything you need to know. Not enough? Okay.

Sam’s mother has just recently died. His father blames him and is abusive already. Sam’s brother is torn. He blames Sam, but tries to protect him. His father believes he’s useless. Music is good for nothing. He tells him to go enlist with Janan or never set foot in the house again. On the way, Sam comes across Stef.

Oh, Stef. Mischievous, wonderful Stef. He is the first to start calling Dossam, Sam. Much to Sam’s chagrin and after much protesting, he lets it slide. Stef almost kills Sam. On accident, but still. Stef and his inventions. He’s such a mess!

Now that we know the origins of friendship for the dynamic duo, you know bad things go down, cause well, Jodi cannot NOT be mean to Sam. Don’t believe me? Go ask her. She’ll tell you she has to be mean.

The blissful world of Range and Heart are nonexistent in the novella. It’s chaotic and terrifying. Everyone is in fear for their lives. Janan and his warriors are captured and it is decided the entire population will move to rescue him. Millions of people are forced to uproot and travel for months.

Attack after attack occur. I’m telling you, Jodi can be very cruel. Mean and EVIL. The ultimate death and next attack occur quickly and then you understand WHY they make the choice they do. It really makes you question what you would do in their place.

I loved every single word of this novella. I would totally be okay if Jodi wanted to write the similar back story for say, Cris? Just an idea. (: I loved that even though this is essentially the same world, the tone and flow of the story are entirely their own. It completely belongs to Sam. Just like the glorious music.

Now, what you’ve been waiting for! I’m hosting my FIRST giveaway. I’ve helped with others in my reviews and such, but this is the first of my own choosing. One lucky winner will receive their own ebook copy of Phoenix Overture.

 

GIVEAWAY LINK!!!

Open to US only. Sorry international readers, hopefully I will be able to do one for you soon! Entrants must be 13+ and those under 18 must have parental consent. Giveaway is open until 12AM December 16th, 2013. (NOTE THE EXTENDED DATE!) I reserve the right to disqualify entries in violation of my giveaway policies. Good luck. May the odds be ever in your favor! (:

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*Review* Asunder by Jodi Meadows August 3, 2013

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Rating: 4 stars
Pub date: 29 Jan 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Romance, Fantasy
Format: Paperback, library copy

Asunder (Incarnate Trilogy)

Summary:
DARKSOULS
Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

SHADOWS
Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

LOVE
Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.

In this second book in the Newsoul trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy.

Asunder picks right back up where the excitement in Incarnate ends. Right from the beginning, Jodi’s writing grabbed a hold of me and refused to let go until the final page had been read. As a musician, I love Sam. As a female, I love Sam. Every scene that involves musical teaching or experience between Ana and Sam, I just melt. I love how continually patient he is with her as she learns to bloom in a world that is so against her. As the first Newsoul, Ana is always met with apprehension and eventually with straight out disdain and violence.

Asunder is the journey in which Ana learns the truth behind her existence and why the Oldsouls are reincarnated. The discovery makes her question everything about what she has so far learned. Before she makes this giant discovery, she and Sam spend some time away from Heart in the depths of Range to study her father’s study of the sylph. They are surprised to discover the sylph begin to act strangely toward Ana. They immediately decide that with the way Ana is received in Heart, this is a secret that must be kept at all costs. Ana is feared and misunderstood enough without adding on suspicion of the sylph behaviour.

Despite all of the time spent on the research and music, Sam takes the time to tell Ana how he really feels about her. He confesses his love, and does not get upset when Ana doesn’t immediately say it back. He understands that as a Newsoul, she must sort out everything in her own time as she is learning to understand herself. Ana had always been told that she was incapable of feelings of any kind – especially love. As a Newsoul, she obviously didn’t have the capacity to understand such things after the Oldsouls had been around for hundreds and hundreds of years. they’ve had lifetimes to learn and understand emotions and relationships, how could a girl possibly learn to understand it in less than 20 years? Because of these hateful beliefs shoved down her throat her entire life, she must learn to accept that these things aren’t true and she’s just as capable of emotions and maintaining relationships as any of the Oldsouls.

Through the entire adventures, Ana goes from a timid girl unsure of the world around her, to a young woman who is ready to fight and defend for those she loves. With the people of Heart turning quickly against her and the Newsouls that are born and are to be born, Ana takes it upon herself to become their champion. She must fight for them and for herself and she rises to the occasion beautifully.

Meadows has definitely out done herself again. Questions are answered, and the drama and action continues to rise. It all builds and builds and sets up perfectly for the conclusion of the series: Infinite due out in 2014.

It is hard to say which I enjoyed more, Incarnate or Asunder. I do know this for sure, this is definitely a series that now has a special place in my heart. The author also has a special place in my heart! Many wonderful chats have happened on Twitter, and I am greatly looking forwards to the Infinite book tour and hope that I will be able to go to a location if one is close enough!

Recommended for: Readers who enjoy science fiction, dystopian/utopian societies, fantasy (there are dragons!), and a bit of Sam romance.
Not recommended for: Those readers who do not enjoy reincarnation, futuristic civilisations, or romance

 

 
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