Bitter Demons (The Shadow Demons Saga #3) – Sarra Cannon [BOOK REVIEW]

book review blog diary of difference

★★★

Bitter Demons is the third book from The Shadow Demons Saga, and the third book of my challenge to read my sister’s books. If you haven’t read the two parts, you can read my reviews below:

Beautiful Demons (The Shadow Demons Saga #1

Inner Demons (The Shadow Demons Saga #2

As a third book of this series, I have to be honest and say that this one didn’t deliver. I expected so much more to happen, and so many more questions to be answered.

The story continues where the second book ends, and now we have Harper, that knows she is a Prima and has great powers. She also really likes this handsome guy, who happens to be a Demon. And Demons can’t have relationships with Primas, because demons are supposed to be slaves, and witches are supposed to use their power.

When two Prima sisters come into town and Harper meets them, she becomes friends with Caroline, one of the sisters. They decide to play a game and swap their looks. But Caroline, who looks like Harper is attacked, which means that someone wants Harper dead – and Harper has to keep this a secret and resolve the mystery by herself.

bitter demons - shadow demons - sarra cannon - book review blog diary of difference

Now, of course we get to see a lot of Harper in the book – after all, this book is about her. But we don’t get to see her character or story improve in any meaningful way.

We learn a lot about Jackson and his past, and his brother (ooooh… spooky), and how he tries very hard to resist Harper in any way, but ends up doing the exact opposite.

On another note, we are introduced to new characters, but also some of the old characters are given more time in this book and we get to know them better – which I might of not liked so much. Give me more Harper – please!

We meet Caroline – I loved their friendship with Harper and I loved how nice and cute she was. A bit naive, just like Harper, which maybe got her in trouble.

Mary Anne…Oh, Mary Anne… Even though we don’t get to meet her much and she always only shines in the end of the book, I loved the mysterious bit about her, and her will to make the sacrifice that she did. She was the hero for me in this book!

Brook – We got to see the mean side of her, and wow, how fast she changed! Can people really change that quickly and fall under pressure so easily?

I still love the story so much, and will of course read the rest of the books, but I didn’t enjoy this book as much I enjoyed the first two parts. I am hoping the next book will pleasantly surprise me.

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The Stone of Destiny: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure – Richard T. Ryan [BOOK REVIEW]

book review blog diary of difference

★★★

Fans of Sherlock Holmes, fans of mystery, fans of adventure and suspense – this might be your next favorite book! Now, I have never read a Sherlock Holmes book before, so I can’t compare this book to the original books from Arthur Conan Doyle. But, what I will do for you is tell you all I thought about this book!

The story begins when during the funeral of Queen Victoria, a group of Irish separatists steal the Coronation Stone, on which every royal has been crowned. To retrieve this important object, the royals will hire Sherlock Holmes to solve the mystery. Holmes and his friend Watson travel to Ireland and try to infiltrate the Irish Republican Brotherhood, a group they think is responsible for all that happened.

the stone of destiny: a sherlock holmes adventure richard t ryan book review blog diary of difference

Even though this is a Sherlock Holmes book, we actually unravel the story through a Watson-first-person point of view. He, to me, is a very interesting character, even though he follows Holmes like a puppy and doesn’t seem to have a personal opinion.

As for Sherlock Holmes, even though I really like the mysterious aura about him, and how smart he can be – I also see him as one of the rude aristocrats that refuse to speak to other people that seem to be lower in the hierarchy to them. This is of course, not presented in the book in any way – but I simply had that impression.

I loved the beginning, and I loved the mystery and suspense throughout the whole book. I was never ahead of the book, and my assumptions were never correct. I loved how the author kept us in the dark right until the end.

The small things I didn’t like though, were the slow pace – I have to admit, the pace was really slow for me, and I couldn’t wait until a chapter is finished to see if there would be more action. Then, even the action scenes weren’t as thrilling as I would expect them to be. And finally, there were no big plot twists, which I think we might have used in the book.

But – we did have a lovely mystery solving story, and we had a lot of history information floating around. We also had another book with Sherlock Holmes, that for you – lovers of the Sherlock Holmes books will of course be something you enjoy.

I greatly recommend it to you if you love the good old Sherlock Holmes adventures!

Many thanks to the author, Richard T. Ryan, for sending me an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Inner Demons (The Shadow Demons Saga #2) – Sarra Cannon [BOOK REVIEW]

book review blog diary of difference

★★★★

I greatly enjoyed Inner Demons – the second book from the Shadow Demons series. To see my review of the first book – Beautiful Demons – please click HERE. My sister seems to have a good taste in books – I am very glad I started the Tea’s Wishlist challenge on Goodreads.

Inner Demons continues right where Beautiful Demons end. Harper has been chosen to join the cheerleading team, which means instant popularity and people noticing here. But that’s not all – when you are a member of the cheerleading squad, you not only learn routines, dances and cheers. You also learn how to do magic!

The cheerleading team is the training squad for the magic learne

rs that belong to the group of witches who are called the Order of Shadows. All these witches are powerful, and Harper has a special place in this team.

We get to see Harper discover a whole new world – a world that she didn’t really ask for. We are following her adventure in discovering how powerful she can be, but also how much pressure this role brings. Harper is awesome, by the way! And sometimes stupid. 

The battle between the What-Is-Expected-Of-Me and Who-I-Really-Am is constantly there, and even though Harper is initially a brave girl – sometimes she loses herself into this whole new world. She is such a real character, because she is brave and wants justice, she wants to find out all the secrets, but then she becomes a coward for little things and the next thing we know – she goes into a very dangerous adventure.

inner demons - shadow demons #2 - sarra cannon - book review

I loved all the characters, especially Harper and Jackson ( I am #TeamJackson). In this book, you will also get to know Jackson better and find out a little bit about his spooky past. The flow of the story is so well written and even though it didn’t have major plot twists like the first book – it managed to answer a lot of questions I had, while still managing to bring up even more unanswered questions.

In this book Harper will witness a ceremony of her friend that will change the track of the whole book. When she realises that there are so many secrets that everyone is hiding from her – she will decide it’s time for her to seek them herself.

A lovely paranormal fantasy – filled in with a lot of magic, a wonderful plot behind it, and a fearless female character, I would definitely recommend this book and series. And don’t thank me – thank my sister!

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Interview With Author – Sean Gibson

Interview with an author

 Hello All!

I have to admit – this is one of my most precious interviews! Sean Gibson, the author of The Camelot Shadow is probably the funniest and most interesting writer I have met. If you haven’t had a chance to pick this book yet – please do! You can see my review here. He has also written The Chronicle of Heloise & Grimple and The Strange Task Before Me: Being an Excerpt from the Journal of William J. Upton (Camelot Shadow #0.5).

 

When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer?

Just last Tuesday—it was all very sudden. I’m kidding, of course. I realized I wanted to be a writer when I discovered Bob Salvatore’s Dark Elf Trilogy 25 years ago (I’m dating myself with that revelation, I suppose, though at least if I’m dating myself, I know I won’t get turned down…well, I probably won’t get turned down; I do have SOME standards, though, so it’s entirely possible I might reject me).

I’d always been an avid reader, but that was the first time I was consciously aware of books shaping my worldview and inspiring me to think about my approach to life in a different way. I thought it would be pretty fantastic if I could someday do for a reader what Salvatore did for me (and what numerous other writers have done since): entertain, inspire, and provoke thought.

 

Where do you get your ideas from?

Ritually sacrificing stuffed bunnies and ripe mangoes to the goddess Buhlschitt in exchange for inspiration. Isn’t that how everyone gets ideas?

What are you currently working on?

I’m just finishing the first draft of a book tentatively titled THE PART ABOUT THE DRAGON WAS (MOSTLY) TRUE (though I suspect the title will change). It’s a prequel of sorts to THE CHRONICLE OF HELOISE & GRIMPLE, albeit written as a cohesive narrative as opposed to a serialized adventure as its predecessor was. It’s a fantasy homage/parody that’s part Hobbit, part Behind the Music with the joke cadence of a Tina Fey show.

 

Where did you get your idea for The Camelot Shadow?

The scene that opens Chapter 1—an older man, sitting in a well-worn leather chair in a magnificent library late at night, a book in his lap and a glass of Scotch by his side—popped into my head unbidden one night when I was trying to fall asleep. I was in college at the time and far more concerned with midterms and naked quad streaking than writing books, so I didn’t do anything about it immediately. Every so often, though, I would think about that scene. The details were so clear in my head—I could practically smell the chair leather and feel the vellum pages within the books. Eventually, I started asking myself who the man was, why he was so melancholy, how he’d amassed all those wonderful books, and why it seemed as though this quiet moment was just the calm before the storm. As I answered those questions, I realized I had a story I had to tell.

It’s funny—when I finished writing the book, I was convinced that was it. I’d told those characters’ tale and it was onto the next thing. But, after a while, I started thinking about them again—what happened after the story ended, and even what had come before. I missed hanging out in that world and writing in that ornate Victorianish style. What can I say? I like my prose like I like my Little Mermaid villains—over the top and incredibly purple.

So, having released a prequel short (THE STRANGE TASK BEFORE ME: BEING AN EXCERPT FROM THE JOURNAL OF WILLIAM J. UPTON), I’ve begun plotting a couple of sequels. It’s safe to say that we haven’t seen the last of these characters—well, except for those who met rather final fates in THE CAMELOT SHADOW. 

What does your writing process look like?

 Mostly it involves trying not to get carsick while typing in the backseat of a stranger’s car, as I chronicle here: 

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

  I like to slip in an occasional joke or phrase that only a couple of close friends will catch. A few characters in THE CAMELOT SHADOW are named for close friends, too. And sometimes I’ll work in a Ghostbusters quote, which sharp-eyed GB obsessives will catch. Oh, and if you take the first letter of every sentence in THE CAMELOT SHADOW, you will discover a riddle that, if you can solve it, will lead you to an ancient pirate treasure worth eleventy-billion dollars.

What is your favorite book of all times?

Let me complicate a very straightforward question by saying that I’m ruling ineligible for my response any book that’s part of a series. “That seems unduly draconian, Big Nose,” you might opine, and you would certainly be justified in holding that opinion, both about my exclusion of series books and the proportions of my proboscis. That said, the reason for that exclusion is that I find it impossible to judge a book in a series solely on its own merit; it is inextricably bound up with and linked to the events that happen in the other books in the series, events that inform your response to the book upon first read and shade your memory and perception of it after you’ve read subsequent volumes. For example, I would probably say that GOBLET OF FIRE is my favorite Harry Potter book, but perhaps my love for that book is, at least in part, a result of the buildup to it in the preceding three books and knowing the impact that Voldemort’s return at the story’s end will have on future tales.

(Should I have marked that as a spoiler? I feel like that one’s pretty fair game at this point. Voldemort always comes back, people.)

With that in mind, then, I’ll limit the pool of potential candidates to stand-alone books, and while it’s still an exceedingly difficult choice, if forced to select a single tome, I would say Bram Stoker’s DRACULA.

I first encountered DRACULA as a precocious second grader. While I wouldn’t recommend that most 8-year-olds read a book that’s likely to give them nightmares, if not force them into years of therapy (or, at least, force them to look up every other word), I was hooked from the get-go by a book whose style and plot resonated from page one. For whatever reason, the ornate language, shiver-inducing slow-burn buildup, and terrifying prospect of one of fiction’s most fascinating villains appealed to me so much that, 10 years later, I would make Victorian lit the primary focus of my collegiate career as an English literature major (though, to be fair, the subsequently read works of Dickens and Conan Doyle played a significant role in that decision).

Sure, the book is laden with Victorian melodrama and weird psychosexual shenanigans, but I love that stuff (well, the Victorian melodrama, at least). I’d be hard pressed to think of another single book that pulled me so fully and completely into its world and left me breathless at its conclusion.

 

What is your favorite fictional character and why?

That’s a little bit like asking which is my favorite piece of macaroni in a bowl of macaroni and cheese—I have whole mouthfuls of favorite fictional characters (which is a weird thing to say, maybe). If I was forced to answer the question lest I be denied mac and cheese in perpetuity, I would say Drizzt Do’Urden from R.A. Salvatore’s Dark Elf books. Dark elves are typically evil, sadistic, and very unlikely to bake cookies for new neighbors. Drizzt, however, has a good heart, and he fights his way to the surface world in an effort to live a life that’s true to his values. What I love most about Drizzt isn’t that he’s noble, brave, and very good at killing orcs (though I do enjoy all of those things)—it’s that he’s always asking questions about the world around him and is unflinching in examining his own actions and beliefs in the service of becoming a better person. I aspire to have Drizzt’s courage and commitment to self-improvement and facing the uncomfortable truths we all have to confront within ourselves from time to time.

Sean, thank you very much for deciding to do this interview with me. It was really an honor and I greatly appreciate it!

Beautiful Demons (The Shadow Demons Saga #1) – Sarra Cannon [BOOK REVIEW]

Book Review

★★★★

I used to read a lot of Young Adult, Fiction and Fantasy books before. My little sister mentioned to me a few weeks ago that she started reading this genre. I decided that it would be a good thing to join her in this adventure, and to read some of the books she’s reading.

I have also asked for recommendations on the bookshelf that I made especially for this, and received so many responses. Thank you to all of you who contributed, and this is the list that we have now – (Tea’s Wishlist).

Beautiful Demons is the first book of the Shadow Demons series!

It is a story about Harper Madison, an orphan, that went from one family to another, causing troubles all her life and on one occasion, unintentionally made fire and burned people to death. With no family willing to take her now, she has to go to Shadowford, a place for troubled orphan girls.

But what if everything happens for a reason? And why is this whole town so mysterious? Why, for the first time, she actually belongs somewhere?

Everyone in this town seems to be hiding something? And that is just the beginning…

beautiful demons shadow demons sarra cannon book review blog diary of difference

Even though this book is quite short, I was actually amused as to how much it was able to cover. I was pulled in from the first chapter, and this kept me going until the last.

We have all seen the new girl, new town, new school, being bullied type of scenario, and the cheerleaders owning the school and dating the jocks. This is the same, except it isn’t. It is spiced up with mystery and magic, and cheerleaders are just a metaphor of all that lies behind it. I will only reveal this much – the moment you get accepted to become a cheerleader, your life changes. But that is also the moment you realise it’s only the beginning.

I liked Harper’s character, and how she was presented. Sometimes she was too naïve and vulnerable for her own good, sometimes a bit too reckless when she didn’t have enough information and clues. She was though, a nice young girl example of making brave decisions, but also a bad example of making stupid decisions…

The plot twist in the end was amazing, and I could never see that coming.
I think the purpose of this book was to make a nice scene building for the next books in the series, and to raise our curiosity. A lot of questions were raised, and not many were answered, which proves my point.

I really enjoyed the beginning of this series, and will definitely be reading the next books.

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The Song Of Achilles – Madeline Miller [BOOK REVIEW]

Book Review

★★★

The Song Of Achilles became a part of my TBR list right after I finished reading Circe. I loved Circe and it is one of my favorite books of 2018. I also enjoyed The Song of Achilles, but not nearly as much.

For the ones out there who love greek mythology, this is a book that covers Achilles’s life told from Patroclus’s point of view. It is more or less accurate, and covers a lot of details from the early lives of these two princes. This is a story about one great friendship that turns into something more, a lot of challenges, a lot of doubts, and a lot of choices to be made during a time of war.

The story is very fast paced, and I was skipping through the pages as fast as Achilles was killing Trojan warriors. From their childhood, to their growing up, to their adventures and the war, this book will never keep you calm, because every chapter something unexpected happens. Well, sometimes not too much, as I know the story, but even still, I was surprised a lot.

Book Cover

A thing that bothered me a lot throughout the whole book was the inaccuracy at some points, and hiding information.

Now, we all know that Achilles was immortal. And we all know the story that his mother Thetis, a goddess of water dipped his body into the water in the river Styx. However, she was holding him by the heel, so his heel was the only place where he was vulnerable. This will be the reason of his death, when Apollo would direct Paris’s spear into Achilles’ heel.

Now – if this is such a common fact, and everybody who heard about Achilles knows it – why wouldn’t the author include it in the book. It wasn’t mentioned once.. Not once… I found this really upsetting.

Moving forward to the characters, we have Patroclus presented as the weaker one, the coward, the person that is mocked by everyone, not loved even by his parents and unworthy. ( Another point that bothered me is that this is not entirely true – according to Homer, Patroclus was apparently wiser than Achilles)

On the other hand, we have the opposite – a wise, brave, strong and handsome man, loved by everyone, immortal and a son of a goddess. We have a perfect example for a leader.

While fate connect these two to meet from their very early years, they also build a love relationship which they try to hide it at first. This relationship will cause them hatred from Thetis (Achilles’ mom) and will prompt them to make choices that might not be necessarily good ones. Now, Homer never mentioned a pederasty in his works between these two, but Miller does. And I am not sure how I feel about it. Not about the fact that they are gay, but the fact that this is Achilles.

All in all, I enjoyed this book. It is a great retelling of the story and a great time capture of the past. It wasn’t anything special, and I didn’t feel heartbroken in the end, but it was definitely worth reading it. I give it three stars – ★★★ . 

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Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge – Lisa Jensen [BOOK REVIEW]

book review blog diary of difference

One of my favorite books while I was growing up was the Beauty and the Beast. I usually love retellings,as they show me a different side of the story that might be, that I have never considered before. This book, however, almost ruined it all for me. The only reason it didn’t was because I wouldn’t let one bad retelling to ruin my childhood favorite!

The story is about Lucie, who is a servant in Jean Leup’s palace. Through Lucie’s story, we see Jean Leup as a horrible person who only cares about money and the respect he received from his aristocratic community. He treats the servants badly and doesn’t even bother to look at them.

Lucie likes the thought of him. He is a very handsome man, and all she dreams about is for him to notice her. And one day, he does. And something really bad happens. Jean Leup does something horrible to Lucie.

[SPOILER – PLEASE CONTINUE CAUTIOUSLY]

He rapes her. And not only that this scene was very disturbing, it was also three pages long, with broad descriptions and it made be cringe badly. It made me hate everything and this was the part where I almost quit on reading this book]

[SPOILER FINISHED – YOU CAN CONTINUE READING]

beast: a tale of love and revenge

After this big spoiler scene, the first reaction Lucie has is to kill herself. I am aware that this was a huge trauma for her, and people react differently, but if the author gives me this as a solution to her problem, do I want to continue reading? Is this really the lesson she learns?

With a bit of help of magic and wisdom words, she decides that now she wants for Jean Leup to suffer, and she wants to be able to see this happen. Suddenly, wish becomes a reality and the next thing we know, she is a candle that can’t move, and Jean Leup has turned into a Beast.

Do you get the Beauty and the Beast reference now? We see the story from the candle’s point of view, who is Lucie.

Well – not really!

Because here’s the twist – the Beast doesn’t remember what happened before. He doesn’t know he was Jean Leup. He doesn’t know he was bad in the past. The Beast is good by default, and a bit sad that he’s alone in a big castle. So I have to ask again – Where is the lesson? Where is the punishment? If he can’t remember he was bad, he’ll never learn why he is a Beast.

To continue and shorten the story – Lucie (the candle) can talk to the Beast through her mind. The Beauty (Rose) comes to the castle and the story goes on. Lucie decides that she is in love with the Beast, and I won’t reveal the rest, in case you want to read the book and see for yourself.

Now – I know that the author’s point wasn’t the lesson that the Beast learns as in the original story. Her point was to tell the story of the Beast, and Lucie, and how this tale can have a different plot, and ending, and back story. But I really believe that this was the wrong way of saying it, and it didn’t leave a clear message.

The writing was poor, and it went from one moment to another, leaving me there in the middle, wondering what happened. One scene begins, and another starts before anything is finished. It was disorientated, and I felt lost in the first 40 pages.

This is a no from me, and I will give it 2 stars because I managed to finish it.

Thanks to Candlewick Press for providing me with an ARC e-copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.