The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke | Review

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Thrilling tale of betrayal and revenge set against the nineteenth-century American frontier, the astonishing story of real-life trapper and frontiersman Hugh Glass
The year is 1823, and the trappers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company live a brutal frontier life. Hugh Glass is among the company’s finest men, an experienced frontiersman and an expert tracker. But when a scouting mission puts him face-to-face with a grizzly bear, he is viciously mauled and not expected to survive. Two company men are dispatched to stay behind and tend to Glass before he dies. When the men abandon him instead, Glass is driven to survive by one desire: revenge. With shocking grit and determination, Glass sets out, crawling at first, across hundreds of miles of uncharted American frontier. Based on a true story, The Revenant is a remarkable tale of obsession, the human will stretched to its limits, and the lengths that one man will go to for retribution.


* People who’ve watched the movieThe Revenant,  will not be spoiled for the book because it’s very, very different. The concept is the same and the cinematography is very accurate of the setting of the book, however, that’s where the similarities end. Both are great (speaking as a Leo fan), but in their own way.

Being a history enthusiast, this book piqued my interest. Although written American history doesn’t date as far back as European, African or Asian history, it’s quite full. There’s a fascination toward American history because it’s extremely tragic and rich story. A time period rarely mentioned is the American frontier.

The American frontier was a special time. It highlighted a period of pure exploration, expansion and both friendly and hostile relationships between European men and Native Americans. The representation of The Revenant as a western is quite accurate because of the feel of the times and the novel.

Basically, Hugh Glass was a frontiersman and fur trapper: first European men to cross the Great Plains to the Rocky Mountains in search of fur. They traded with Native Americans from whom they learned hunting and trapping skills. (Wikipedia). This wasn’t a very glamorous job. A large portion of the animal pelts collected were in highly populated Native American land – states like Montana, Missouri, South Dakota, etc. These states still have a high Native American population, but they weren’t the minorities in their land during this time. However, the European influence in America was felt by its indigenous people immensely. In consequence, there was tension between the Natives and European trappers and the job was dangerous. Weather and the Native Americans were a big threat to trappers and (according to the novel) it wasn’t unheard of for them to be abducted/invaded and scalped.

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TV Tuesday

Tuesday

‘Ello, this is the TV Tuesday Meme! It’s quite simple, every Tuesday you’ll do these things:

Choose between these three:

  • Book-to-Movie/TV show adaptation  (have you seen it? If no, do you plan to?)
  • Book you think should be a movie/TV show  (Why?)
  • Movie/TV show that prompted you to read a book?

*Optional – put up the trailer

Lastly:

  • Link back to your post in the comments section (so I can stalk your post ;D)


Book-to-Movie/TV show adaptation

 

The Last Kingdom posses a magnetic appeal to the historian in us all. With its play on the struggle between two rivals and their differing lifestyles, cultures, customs and religions. We’re told this history through the sideline story of Uhtred of Bebbanburg (or Ragnarson) – the heir of an English colony (sorta), however captured by Danes and raised as such  – as he tries to reclaim his throne. The history in the television series is a mixture of fiction and true historical facts, from the mind of the illustrious Bernard Cornwell in his series The Saxon Stories, in which The Last Kingdom was just the beginning. To give an accurate description of this show by comparison to others, it’d be a Games of Thrones/ Poldark/Vikings hybrid. It’s humorous, dark and supremely entertaining with an insider’s glance into the world Pre-England. (Totally off-topic, but Uhtred is gorgeous)



‘Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick

★ ★ ★ ★

Calista Langley operates an exclusive “introduction” agency in Victorian London, catering to respectable ladies and gentlemen who find themselves alone in the world. But now, a dangerously obsessed individual has begun sending her trinkets and gifts suitable only for those in deepest mourning—a black mirror, a funeral wreath, a ring set with black jet stone. Each is engraved with her initials.
 
Desperate for help and fearing that the police will be of no assistance, Calista turns to Trent Hastings, a reclusive author of popular crime novels. Believing that Calista may be taking advantage of his lonely sister, who has become one of her clients, Trent doesn’t trust her. Scarred by his past, he’s learned to keep his emotions at bay, even as an instant attraction threatens his resolve.
 
But as Trent and Calista comb through files of rejected clients in hopes of identifying her tormentor, it becomes clear that the danger may be coming from Calista’s own secret past—and that only her death will satisfy the stalker…


Note: I received this advanced reader’s copy  via netgalley by Berkley Publishing in exchange for an honest review

I’ve read every single Amanda Quick novel – finding her work at an early age, I  immersed myself into her spitfire heroines and Victorian romance novels that were never cut and dry, but also featured a fun murder mystery (well if you wanna call that fun). Although her novels have a habit of following a similar formula, I can say this novel was not the customary mystery romance novel and I cannot contain my joy!

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Chocolat [movie]

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Johnny Depp has been the love of my life forever, not really, but that’s how I felt when I watched this movie, which should explain my love for it. Movies about food just do something to me, maybe it’s because I love to cook but it’s serious with movies like this, Le Chef, Waitress, Ratatouille, etc. This movie has a timeless charm and takes you to the beautiful scenery of France. Based on the novel Chocolat by Joanne Harris, which is actually a series, check out the trailer below:

ARC Review: Angelfall (The Angelborn Cycle #2) by L. Penelope

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3 out of 5 stars
★ ★ ★

Lyrix, the first new angel to emerge in a millennium, brings hope for her endangered race. But the weight of duty is heavy. As the newest and strongest, she is expected to become a Seraph, one of the stoic angel kings and queens. She dreads the prospect of losing all her emotions in the transformation, but avoiding her destiny may lead to extinction for her kind.

Wren is half-human and a second-class citizen among angels. A chance meeting with Lyrix leaves them both yearning for a life lived on their own terms. A relationship between an angel and an angelborn is unprecedented, and powerful forces oppose their union. On a journey to the human world, tragedy strikes, and Wren and Lyrix realize their love may destroy both worlds.


The Good:

The novel begins very intense. Our female lead, Lyrix, is about to give birth while her lover, Wren, is being vaporized by an angel. After this we’re taken back to the beginning to witness their relationship develop and how they arrived in their current predicament. We’re then transported to a whole new world where the angels live. It’s an interesting world, full of rules and lacking passion because these angels don’t feel anything except loathing for half-breed angels (half angel, half human). The angels don’t have any physical features and they communicate their feelings with colors, however the two main characters are Asian.

Wren, works in a specific division that deals with the lives people live before they pass away and are reborn. I found this very interesting. The idea that each life we live is viewed and cataloged by angels is different, just like the idea Ms. Penelope has about the purpose of the angel and how humans and people are linked in this quote:

It is how the Destinies learn who needs their counsel, how the Deaths know who is to die. How the Peaces know who to soothe and the Warriors know who to inflame. Each human soul needs something different in order to grow. The stream of aether connects us to them and connects our actions to their souls, which we protect and honor until they are ready to join the Flame.

The idea that angels and the half-angels are soulless and need to find a human to share their souls in order to not be banished to the wastelands, aka Hell. It’s intriguing, especially since angels don’t have souls in the biblical sense either, however these angels aren’t the same as angels described in the bible. But I enjoyed this quote because it reminded me of the movie Comet with Justin Long:

Humans who fall in love deeply enough to link their souls together find one another again and again throughout their lifetimes

I’m a big fan of forbidden love, so Wren and Lyrix being in a relationship deemed unacceptable made me very excited. There was also another component to this story, but I can’t tell without giving it away!

The Bad:

There wasn’t much to seriously complain about in this novel, but I did have some serious issues with a couple of things. My first issue began with Lyrix. She’s supposed to be a full angel, yet she’s overly emotional and curious – two things these angels aren’t. Normally I wouldn’t have a problem with this, however it’s supposed to be impossible. Regardless of this, my real problem lies in the the fact that Wren knew some seriously sexual stuff to have never had any previous knowledge on Earth or with sex. Being half-human doesn’t mean that stuff comes naturally. Which also brings me to Lyrix and Wren perving on a “couple”. This is really uncool, angels or not. This isn’t angelic behavior; it’s not even regular behavior, it’s just weird and creepy. My last issue would be that I felt disconnected with everything on a certain level. I know this book is a standalone, but there is another book before it, and reading that first might’ve been a good idea.

The Ugly:

Page length is the curse many novels are plagued with. If a novel is too long without a purpose, it becomes boring. If it’s too short and feels rushed, we’re left unsatisfied. This particular novel was way too short! We’re placed into the world of Angels rather smoothly, however once we’re  formerly introduced to Lyrix everything just escalates so quickly. I found myself swiping back (it’s an ebook) to see if I missed something. Sadly, the length of this novel left a lot to be desired and learned about the engrossing world that the angels are in.

Source: I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review

 

Ruby Red (Precious Stone Trilogy, #1) by Kerstin Gier

Book 1:

Ruby Red

★ ★ ★ ★ /★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Gwen is a normal girl.

Gwen is special.

Gwen always thought she was an average girl that could see ghost. Belonging to a long lineage of time travelers, Gwyneth is well aware of the fact that her cousin, Charlotte —the cliche beautiful, perfect bad girl  – has inherited this unique gene that allows them to travel through time. So when Gwen finds herself tumbling through time and not Charlotte you could only imagine the surprise of everyone, especially Gwen. 

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon–the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

♥♥♥

My Reaction:

♥♥♥

Pros:

  • Gwen – When it comes to characters I have to say Gwyneth was an awesome heroine that wasn’t afraid to act silly and be herself no matter who she happened to be around. Her voice was very fun and filled with animation that you couldn’t help but enjoy everything as if you really were in those situations.  She really was just an average teenager – minus the ability to time travel and see ghost – she’s not overly beautiful, refined, or even blessed with nimble wit and a fierce tongue that’s overflowing with knowledge, which allows for clever retorts. Nope, she’s that girl with a weird disposition, the quintessential average girl. So, with the heavy dose of fantasy (I mean time travel is “impossible” right…) and a healthy dose of charming this makes for an interesting mix.
  • Leslie – Although I did like Gwen, Leslie was the real headliner of this novel and there’s no doubt she would’ve been an awesome leading lady.  She’s smart and amusing,  which is the ultimate package for a strong female protagonist.  But she’s also a magnificent friend – not once did she doubt that Gwen could see ghost or time travel, and she also stood up for her when people called her mad. She was loyal and interested in helping Gwen anyway she could, which in my book makes her awesome.
  • Story line – I love time travel. It’s wonderful in movies (Back to the Future I-III), tv shows (Doctor Who), and books like Ruby Red. So, the idea of a person having a time travel gene is extremely intriguing.  Plus, we have a secret society of time travelers, which is invariably fun.

Cons:

  • Gideon – For the love interest and hero of this trilogy, Gideon was extremely underdeveloped and horrible. There wasn’t a moment in my reading that I enjoyed anything about him – even his “sweet” scenes were stale.  His insufferable attitude toward Gwyneth was unacceptable, and all because he was already used to Charlotte and thought Gwen inexperienced, oh and of course because he liked her but couldn’t express it. Because this is 1st grade and boys that are mean really like you. Nope, he’s just a self-righteous asshole, that’s also a chauvinist. Doesn’t he sound yummy?
  • “Mystery” – There isn’t really any mystery in this trilogy, although the secret society itself is supposed to be a mystery.
  • History – Me being a history buff, I was hoping to find more history since they can only travel to the past, but there wasn’t any real history talk besides the wardrobe scenes.  It’s also somewhat inaccurate because we know that people during the Georgian era (the Victorian era as well) and all that preceded it didn’t smell too good.
  • Ending – Since I was late to read this series, it wasn’t bad, but the ending was beyond a cliffhanger. It was like she and Gideon kissed and then the end. There was no suspense just an episode that cut off.

♥♥♥

Fun and entertaining Red Ruby was a breath of fresh air (when I read it) and wonderful shift from my YA funk. A great start to a, hopefully, marvelous trilogy.

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Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

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The only life seventeen-year-old Kol knows is hunting at the foot of the Great Ice with his brothers. But food is becoming scarce, and without another clan to align with, Kol, his family, and their entire group are facing an uncertain future.

Traveling from the south, Mya and her family arrive at Kol’s camp with a trail of hurt and loss behind them, and hope for a new beginning. When Kol meets Mya, her strength, independence, and beauty instantly captivate him, igniting a desire for much more than survival.

Then on a hunt, Kol makes a grave mistake that jeopardizes the relationship that he and Mya have only just started to build. Mya was guarded to begin with—and for good reason—but no apology or gesture is enough for her to forgive him. Soon after, another clan arrives on their shores. And when Mya spots Lo, a daughter of this new clan, her anger intensifies, adding to the already simmering tension between families. After befriending Lo, Kol learns of a dark history between Lo and Mya that is rooted in the tangle of their pasts.

When violence erupts, Kol is forced to choose between fighting alongside Mya or trusting Lo’s claims. And when things quickly turn deadly, it becomes clear that this was a war that one of them had been planning all along.


This novel is guaranteed to be a big hit. Being the debut novel of Julie Eshbaugh needs to be considered when read, however a young adult novel set prehistorically is rare with all the dystopian, post-apocalyptic, alternate history, and futuristic novels making headlines as of late. My imagination went right to:

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(Although the movie was terrible)

Sadly, this novel isn’t available until June 14, 2016, which is a long time from now but that gives you time to reduce your TBR.

Click cover to pre-order

 

‘Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick

Calista Langley operates an exclusive “introduction” agency in Victorian London, catering to respectable ladies and gentlemen who find themselves alone in the world. But now, a dangerously obsessed individual has begun sending her trinkets and gifts suitable only for those in deepest mourning—a black mirror, a funeral wreath, a ring set with black jet stone. Each is engraved with her initials.
 
Desperate for help and fearing that the police will be of no assistance, Calista turns to Trent Hastings, a reclusive author of popular crime novels. Believing that Calista may be taking advantage of his lonely sister, who has become one of her clients, Trent doesn’t trust her. Scarred by his past, he’s learned to keep his emotions at bay, even as an instant attraction threatens his resolve.
 
But as Trent and Calista comb through files of rejected clients in hopes of identifying her tormentor, it becomes clear that the danger may be coming from Calista’s own secret past—and that only her death will satisfy the stalker…


I previously mentioned that I love Jayne Ann Krentz, and my favorite pseudonym of her’s is Amanda Quick, so this book is a treat! If you’re ever in need of a light, historical romance reading with a definite HEA and some mystery then look no further than Ms. Quick. This novel isn’t available until April 19, 2016, so that gives you the time to read all of her novels under this pen name. My personal favorites are Mischief, Ravished, and Dangerous.

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The Conjurer’s Riddle (The Inventor’s Secret #2) by Andrea Cremer

As you can probably decipher from the cover, this is a steampunk novel. This is the sequel to the novel The Inventor’s Secret, so before reading this novel I suggest meandering down to your bookstore, library, or computer and get the first novel before indulging yourself with this sweet treat. Recently I’ve been loving me some alternate history themed novels and this book hits that spot with What would have happened if America had lost the Revolutionary War? It really makes you think and imagine a different world, while also incorporating some young adult steampunk action. I know you really want this novel, as do I, so luckily it’s available today! Please read book one first, however. But let’s not leave out  Andrea Cremer, the author of the extremely popular young adult, paranormal series Nightshade. So yeah, it should be great!


The Revolution is beginning–and Charlotte may be on the wrong side.

In this sequel to The Inventor’s Secret, Charlotte and her companions escape the British Empire, but they haven’t left danger behind. In fact, if they go against the revolutionaries, they face even greater peril. 

Charlotte leads her group of exiles west, plunging into a wild world of shady merchants and surly rivermen on the way to New Orleans. But as Charlotte learns more about the revolution she has championed, she wonders if she’s on the right side after all. Charlotte and her friends get to know the mystical New Orleans bayou and deep into the shadowy tunnels below the city–the den of criminals, assassins and pirates–Charlotte must decide if the revolution’s goals justify their means, or if some things, like the lives of her friends, are too sacred to sacrifice.
 

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