Book Review: Glass Sword – Victoria Aveyard

Title: Glass Sword (Red Queen – Book 2)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian, Romance, Fantasy

Blurb (From Goodreads): 
Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

My Review:
I have been waiting on this book for a year – I fell in love with this world right from the start.  Any new world that I can somewhat compare to the X-Men is always going to get my attention though (hello Shatter Me Series!)  But I also enjoyed the Hunger Games/The Selection aspects of this book as well.

So I’ve waited a little impatiently for this book, all the while watching the fandom come together via instagram photos.  So when the day finally came, I was the first in line for the library’s audio-version of  The Glass Sword, but also my best friend had bought me the book for Christmas!  I LOVE HER SO MUCH! 🙂  (Okay, I love her whether or not she got me the book..but still!!!)

What I Loved: SO MUCH ACTION.  This isn’t your typical ‘sit and wait’ 2nd book where it really felt like it was a space-filler between the first and third books of the series.  In the past I’ve had trouble with the middle book of a trilogy for this reason – I love origins because I love getting to know new people – Glass Sword gives you plenty new characters to get to know and love.  One specifically I suspect is going to play a major role in the final book!  The 3rd book is usually so full of action and wrap up, but here again I say Glass Sword has its full share of action.  We aren’t stuck waiting out to find out what the oppressors are going to do in the books, we are taking action and creating game plans.  Some game plans don’t work out as well as others, but that’s okay.

I do also love that this book isn’t prettied up any.  Victoria Aveyard does not hold back any punches.  There are gruesome details and you end up hurting just as much as Mare.  She is not leading the easiest life right now, and you can feel that in every move, ever decision.

Not So Much:  Well, one – I hate when characters don’t communicate well.  I feel like Mare and Cal have some things they should talk about.  Do you know how many of our lives would be much easier and better if we would just talk??

I really wish I could have been in Cal’s head a bit more.  While he was there with Mare the entire time, and played a very important role in their rebellion/revolution, I still kind of feel like we didn’t see enough of him.  He was there in a sort of closed off sort of way.

I’m not digging Mare’s fixation on Maven either – This isn’t like Shatter Me where my heart tipped in Warner’s direction…I don’t feel like he’s been very redeemable at all.  Plus, well I love Cal, and have from the beginning.  The underlying theme of this entire book has been “Anyone can betray anyone” but he’s been pretty clear about who he is, what he desires, how he feels.  I swear if he betrays what I believe to be true about him, I might just throw the last book against the wall.  Then buy a new one since I ruined it. 😉

The Verdict:          
These books are best for older teenagers, there are a lot of gruesome details that I think would give my pre-teens/young teens nightmares, but you know your kids best.  There is cussing.  Other than that this is a clean book – and one I love and recommend for Dystopian lovers!

Book Review: Illusionarium – Heather Dixon

Title: Illusionarium

Author: Heather Dixon
Genre: YA – Fantasy, Steampunk

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
What if the world holds more dangers—and more wonders—than we have ever known? And what if there is more than one world? From Heather Dixon, author of the acclaimed Entwined, comes a brilliantly conceived adventure that sweeps us from the inner workings of our souls to the far reaches of our imaginations.

Jonathan is perfectly ordinary. But then—as every good adventure begins—the king swoops into port, and Jonathan and his father are enlisted to find the cure to a deadly plague. Jonathan discovers that he’s a prodigy at working with a new chemical called fantillium, which creates shared hallucinations—or illusions. And just like that, Jonathan is knocked off his path. Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that calls to mind The Night Circus and Pixar movies, but is wholly its own.

My Review:
Just before my 2016 “shut down” on buying any new books due to the 2016 TBR Reading Challenge, I received one of those Goodreads emails that includes new books which are specifically picked out for you due to what you’ve read in the past. Those emails are evil, and probably half my problem. Anyhow, Illusionarium was on that email. It was there because I have read and loved Heather Dixon’s writing in the past, so of course I NEED to know when she releases a new book, right?

I don’t always fall for those emails. But I’m a sucker for great covers, and let me tell you – I don’t know who Heather Dixon is working with on her covers, but they are both simply amazing. And truth be told – if this cover wasn’t so perfect, I wouldn’t have been buying this book on December 31, 2015, right before I was suppose to be cutting myself off from new purchases so that I could make a dent in the 450+ books already on my kindle/nook/whatever reading app.

What I Loved: This book takes imagination. I took LOADS of imagination to write (I wish I had half this imagination!) and it takes imagination to read – thankfully I’m good at that part! About halfway through reading Illusionarium, I stopped and read a few reviews on Goodreads, and I found a mixed response. But I think the biggest problem with the book is that it is weirdness on top of weirdness – and if you weren’t following from the beginning, you are probably going to have a problem continuing to follow…. I didn’t. I think that the setting (an AIR CITY!!), the illusions, the schism (ß you must read to understand) – everything was so interesting and perfect. If this book were a movie, it would no doubt be directed by Tim Burton. I imagine all kinds of bright colors, but also that gothic darkness that Burton is known for as well.

The illusions (this isn’t really a spoiler, right – given the title?!) were another element that I was so in love with. They weren’t illusions as in, you just imagine it and there you were. You had to create them, as in, understand the science behind what you were making before it became real. It was cool that Jonathan was smart, and shy and not your typical main character at all…but because of this, he was awesome at these illusions, despite his self confidence issue.

I loved the steampunk feel about the book, but also how it wasn’t driven by it’s ‘steampunkiness.’ There wasn’t the constant mention of gadget and devices, and it wasn’t overly Victorian in theme either. It was just kind of there, just another layer.

Okay – I’ve talked about the world and around the theme of the book – but I also really liked the story. It was layered with twists and turns, a few of them I was able to guess as the story progressed, a couple I didn’t guess until closer to the end, and some that took me by surprise. I like that. I like being surprised just as much as I like being able to foretell a story based on the foreshadowing. I think that is one of the things that keeps me engaged while reading, trying to figure out what’s going to happen because of the hints that authors throw out there.

Not So Much: Soo I LOVED the story, and the story line. And I even really liked the characters, so this little bit is nothing but a drop in the book. I really wish that the romantic aspect of the book would have been a little bit more there. I like a little bit of romance, you know? It wasn’t the purpose of the book, but I don’t think a little bit more would have taken away from it either. It was done well, but I just I don’t know…it left me wanting.

The Verdict:     

The only reason I’m not giving this 5-Hearts is because while I really did enjoy this book quite a bit, I’ve read it. I’m done. I don’t have a pull to re-read this one immediately. I’m trying to save 5-Hearts for those books that call to me in that way. This book was clean (even from cussing) and would be great for young teens who read more mature books for sure! And, because they are simply beautiful, I plan on adding this AND Entwined to my hardback book collection. (This is not cheating..I’m not buying any NEW books in 2016!!!)
  

Book Review: Uprooted – Naomi Novik

Title: Uprooted
Author: Naomi Novik

Synopsis: “Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

My Review:
I just want to start off by saying that this synopsis does not do this book justice. It is a synopsis of the first part of the book, maybe, but there was so much more than I was expecting. What I was expecting was a loose rendition of Beauty and the Beast with other fairy-tale elements.

Uprooted does have a very fairy-tale feel about it, but it is a tale all of it’s own. The evil is not the dragon, the dragon does not need to be slayed. The evil is the Wood – and it is a force to be reckoned with.

What I Loved: Uprooted was a long book, but I’m happy that it was just one book and not a series though. It was refreshing to get a book of this magnitude, and detail that was not broken up over 3-5 years. I do like series, but mostly I love having the complete series in my hands.

I loved the Agnieszka and the Dragon dynamic. They were an unlikely pair of personalities, the kind of personalities that grate on each other’s nerves and get under each other’s skin….and yet, in the end they did get under each other’s skin. It made their relationship a fun side-story to this entire book.

I am attempting to not spoil anything here, especially since the synopsis was rather vague, but let me tell you, there were a few plot twists and turns that make following this book along for it’s ride even more interesting! As I said before, it had all of the elements of a good fairy tale; the evil that lurks and terrifies the village and people, it has the knight in shining armor, the girl who’s more than she think she is. It has deception and unlikely friends. It takes you through an entire story past the point of no return and then turns around and wraps it up with a happily-ever-after. It has all of those things, but every single element is not like any fairy-tale you’ve ever read. All the roles are filled with unstereotypical players.

Not So Much: First of all, I listened to this via audiobook, and I kind of had a hard time with the narrators accent. I understood it’s purpose and I think it’s possible that it was close to this narrators own accent – however some of the conversations sounded stilted or a little bit like a four-year-old attempting full sentences. It was just a little rough for me. I did, however, stop hearing that so much the more I got into the story and the plot took over my concentration.

There were parts of Uprooted where the story did feel like it was getting long. I don’t know that it could have been cut or edited without loosing some important elements though. I just had periods of wishing the story would move forward a bit more quickly than it was.

The Verdict:         
I really enjoyed this book. It had a lot of the elements that I love in a good book, and it had a satisfying ending. Due to one scene in this book, I cannot consider this a “clean” novel, though it is categorized as Young Adult. The one scene was rather graphic, and I can’t recommend this book for young teens at all – but had it been left out it would have been perfect.

Book Review: Stray – Elissa Sussman

Title: Stray (Four Sisters #1)
Author: Elissa Sussman

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

I am grateful for my father, who keeps me good and sweet. I am grateful for my mother, who keeps her own heart guarded and safe. I am grateful for my adviser, who keeps me protected. I am grateful for the Path, which keeps me pure. Ever after.

Princess Aislynn has long dreamed about attending her Introduction Ball, about dancing with the handsome suitors her adviser has chosen for her, about meeting her true love and starting her happily ever after.

When the night of the ball finally arrives and Nerine Academy is awash with roses and royalty, Aislynn wants nothing more than to dance the night away, dutifully following the Path that has been laid out for her. She does not intend to stray.

But try as she might, Aislynn has never quite managed to control the magic that burns within her-magic brought on by wicked, terrible desires that threaten the Path she has vowed to take.

After all, it is wrong to want what you do not need. Isn’t it?

My Review:
I’m about to be very honest. I did not care for Stray, and that is very surprising to me since this book falls into my fairy-tale preferences very nicely. I listened to this as an audio book, and I want to say that this might be part of my problem, but I really don’t think it was. But that doesn’t mean that the book was all bad, and judging from other reviews, most people actually do like the book.

I do want to point out now that I am going to avoid using character names as much as I can, because they were all unusual and I’m afraid to botch up spellings, etc. Bare with me!

What I Loved: So I loved the premise of this book; a book about suppressing magic and learning to not let it control you. About an evil that lurks in the corners waiting to catch hold of you. The setting of the book was near perfect as well. It really had all the elements of a good book. I loved how the author coined her own tongue and cheek sayings using fairy tale stereotypes. I really wish I could remember one, and unfortunately I cannot just open the book and find an example, however they made for a cute, clever addition to the book.

Not So Much: I really felt like this book dragged on in Aislynn’s day-to-day activities, while the real drama was more on the outskirts of the book. We learned a lot about Aislynn and her difficulties and insecurities (brought on by her authorities). She grew up being expected to suppress magic, and then thrown into a situation where she was expected to use it – and she struggles with trying to use magic daily…then at some point BAM – it’s like it was easy.

I really only liked a few characters in this book, and it’s clear that the evil is in more than just the evil queen discussed throughout the story. It wasn’t until the end that “stuff” really started being revealed, and it all seemed anti-climatic. Like I’d been waiting for it so long that I just sort of gave up on it ever coming.

More than once things happened in Stray where there was no explanation offered as to why, a good example is when Aislynn was given a complete 2nd chance at something – but it seemed to come out of nowhere with no reason as to why it happened. She also had a portion of her {lets say it was a characteristic/personality shaping thing} taken from her as part of her punishment (so to speak), which mysteriously seemed to come back in part, but why? Is Aislynn suppose to be especially powerful? I don’t know. It just seemed strange that it was there, except to enhance the there but barely there romantic element to this book.

The Verdict: 
This book just wasn’t for me. I wanted to enjoy it, but it fell short of my expectations. It is a very young adult appropriate (even for younger teens in the 13ish age range), a very clean book.

Book Review: The Reapers/Flirting With Death by Ali Winters – Release Party

Author: Ali Winters
Title: The Reapers
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal
Release date: May 31 2015 (re-release: Nov 02 2015)

Blurb:
The balance of life and death must be kept at all costs.
Having been a reaper as long as she can remember, Nivian knows that what she does is essential in maintaining balance. After being assigned to a rushed mark she finds that there is more to this human than any other she has encountered.
Kain had been living an ordinary life without a second thought until he meets Nivian who turns his world upside down. He is thrust into a world of hunters and reapers. The keepers of life and death have been feuding for centuries over a reason no one can even remember.
With Kain having been marked for reaping, and Nivian being hunted, they forge a friendship and together must find the truth in order to keep balance in check. Wrong choices could destroy everything. As they journey they discover hidden histories, powers, and lies and truths that have been spun since the beginning of time. The consequence of failure, unimaginable.

Excerpt:
Nivian leaped over the edge of the bridge and landed with a soft tap on the surface of the water. She reached down, pulled the soul of the driver up by the collar of his shirt, and stood him up next to her on top of the water. She took the driver’s hand, palm up, in hers and waved her other hand over his. Pinching the air, she pulled and lifted up to expose his life thread. His wide eyes stared unblinking, hypnotized by the glowing string of light. Nivian reached behind her and grabbed the scythe strapped to her back, and swung. With a slow, deliberate movement, Nivian sliced the human’s life thread. The light formed into a ball and hovered between them. She pulled out a small pocket watch and guided the life energy down to the watch. It sunk into it and disappeared. She snapped the watch closed and returned it to her pocket. 
“You should know better than to drink and drive. You could’ve seriously hurt someone.”
He gaped at her, his mouth opened and closed like a fish.
“Yes, you really are dead,” she confirmed and gave him an apathetic look as she turned away.
“Are you … the devil?” he managed to sputter. 
“No, of course not. I am just the natural order of things,” she said, looking back over her shoulder. “Wait here. Your spirit counselor will be here soon to guide you to your afterlife. I have other jobs tonight.” She spun on her heel and walked away, as she pulled her hood back up over her head and vanished.

Buy links:
Amzn: http://amzn.to/1eT66Oj
B&N: http://bit.ly/1JcleOL
ITunes: http://apple.co/1TtVip6
Oyster: http://bit.ly/1gvpIsP
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1O3xrcQ
Page Foundry: http://bit.ly/1ITqyuo

My Review:
What I Loved: This is the first book I’ve read about Reapers (excluding On a Pale Horse, which I read in High School as part of a class, and is sort of in the same vein…great book btw!), though I know it’s not the only one out there, but first and foremost I loved being thrown into a world I never even thought to explore. Ali Winters has created a backdrop that is both interesting and easy to follow.

Her main character, Nivian, is very easy to like and while a little passive at times, she was also witty and smart. She was curious about the world that she didn’t actually belong to, and compassionate. She was exceptionally good at her job, but it wasn’t this ego chip resting on her shoulder. As her backstory begins to unfold in the book, her character becomes even more interesting.

The Reapers took a few left turns that kept me engaged with the story and wanting to know more. I’m a pretty big fan of the side characters making the story, and there were plenty of side-characters helping to create the shape of this book nicely. Camira and Silas were a couple of my favorites.

Not So Much:
I kind of would have liked have seen a little bit more push pull play with the romantic interests in this book. I get that both Kane and Caspian are very much into Niv, however I feel that while she has feeling for both of the guys, it kind of just feels like physical attraction and surface deep so far. She is also played as innocent, but I kind of would think that given the way both of the guys act when they are around her – she would have some clue as to what is happening, and how she feels about it. I hope to see something with a little more foundation grow in the future.

I was also pretty surprised at Kane’s acceptance of the world he was thrown into. Perhaps it just didn’t seem like there was much “time” for him to accept the new reality, he kind of (metaphorically, not literally) shrugged and went with it. By the end he was even claiming loyalty ties. I think I probably would have been kicking and screaming and perhaps outright rejecting everything being thrown my way, despite evidence to the contrary. He didn’t even have a mild panic attack.


The Verdict:
 
I believe fans of Paranormal/Fantasy will enjoy this book a lot. It’s YA, and appropriately labeled, as it is clean, with light romance that is on a constant simmer, however it is not the main purpose of this story. There are twist and turns that keep the reader engaged with the story.

Author: Ali Winters
Title: Flirting With Death
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal
Release date: Nov 02 2015Blurb:
Being a reaper has its perks, but also its downsides.

While on an assignment, Evander is caught of guard by an unmarked human. Captivated, he is unable to tear himself away.

This is why reapers don’t associate with mortals.

Piper was ordinary, just a girl looking for love. And all she knows is that her current boyfriend isn’t it. An unfortunate incident and a series of remarkable events turn her world upside down. But what she finds is the last thing she ever expected—She finds herself falling for the least likely candidate.

Excerpt:  
“Stop. He is gone.” Evander said calmly. Why would she waste so much energy on someone who had no chance.
“Don’t tell her to stop,” Tony snapped.
Oh, right. That guy was still here. Where was a spirit counselor when you needed one? And at that moment, she showed up.
“Yeah, yeah, I know. Don’t tell me. I’m late, am I right?” She waved a hand in the air dismissively.
“I should have known it would be you, Cassandra. Please take him.”
“Don’t boss me around, you fancy assassin. I know how to do my job.” She bit out, then turned to her assignment. “Come on, life loser, this way.”
“I’m not going anywhere with you.” Tony backed up and stepped on his body, trying to slide back in. Evander’s gaze flicked upward, the difficult ones always tried to return to their bodies.

Buy links:
Amzn: http://amzn.com/B017I5UHFC
B&N: http://bit.ly/1ls8ijf
Oyster: http://bit.ly/1l1dB8W
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1MyrKBB
Page Foundry: http://bit.ly/1Lj7MJd

Event: Jan 9th 6pm-9pm MST.

Facebook party!

Come find out more and enter to win prizes!

About the author: 
Ali grew up in the Pacific North West. She attended Oregon State University for photography. After many adventures, she moved to Colorado, earned a second degree, and met and married her husband.
She currently lives in windy Wyoming with her husband and two dogs. When not writing, Ali is either, photographing, knitting, reading, dancing, or staying inside where it’s warm with a hot cup of coffee. She dreams of traveling the world someday soon.

Author links:
Amazon | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Website | Newsletter | Blog

Book Review: Whisper of the Woods – D.G. Driver

Title: Whisper of the Woods (A Juniper Sawfeather Novel – Book 2)
Author: D.G. Driver

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Juniper Sawfeather seems to have a talent for finding mythological creatures. Or maybe the creatures are finding her.

The mermaids she saved from the oil spill are long gone. There’s no evidence of them, and she’s been branded as a liar and a fake in the media and at school. Her environmental activist parents have moved on to a protest to save Old Growth trees from being chopped down. June isn’t particularly concerned with this cause until after falling asleep at the base of a giant tree she wakes to find herself 40 feet in the air on one of its branches!

From this point on she becomes obsessed with the tree, and it appears the tree is becoming obsessed with her too. Soon, she is trapped 170 feet above the ground, and the magical spirit that resides in the tree isn’t interested in letting her go free or allowing anyone else to save her. Is the tree spirit good or evil? Will Juniper’s feet ever touch the ground again?

My Review:
After reading Cry of the Sea, author D.G. Driver asked me if I might be interested in reading Whisper of the Woods as well. Juniper and her adventure was still in my head when she asked, so I decided to go for it, even though I’m slowing down on accepting review requests and pushing towards my #2016TBRChallenge. I’m glad that I accepted the request, and it’s going to be difficult to get through 2016 (if the book comes out) to wait read the last installment.

What I Loved:
Whisper of the Woods really drawled me into its story, keeping me wondering what was going to happen next – especially the tree itself. ‘Why does it seem to talk only to Juniper, and what is it going to do next?’ were some of the questions I was asking myself while reading. I really enjoyed going on this journey with Juniper and learning more about the legend of the great tree, and it’s tie into the mermaids in Cry of the Sea, especially when I found out at the end that it was based around (I’m sure with creative licenses used at will) a true Indian legend. I was intrigued by the tree’s pull on Juniper from the beginning, how she became obsessed with it and knowing as much information about old trees as she possibly could.

I am also happy to know that while things don’t seem to be exactly great, Juniper’s relationship with her mother seems to be improving from where it left off in Cry of the Sea, and I feel like the third installment of this series will probably be a big one for the both of them.

Not So Much: I was confused by Juniper and Carter’s relationship in this book. Clearly they are in the midst of dating, however it felt like things weren’t going well over all. There was never any real good interactions between them to make it to the end of this book and everything be happy again.

I also felt like there were many times in the story where the tree was manipulating the feelings of Juniper and others who were near or touching it, however that didn’t seem to come up in conversation either. I just feel like things were taken at face value and accepted by the supporting characters: Juniper climbed up a tree, or is she stuck in the tree? There is something weird going on with the tree. Juniper never seems to make a real effort to explain it to anyone believing she wouldn’t be trusted anyway. Even at the end it was glossed over, yet everything is just…okay.

The Verdict:    
I enjoy stories that suck me in, even if after everything is done I still have questions. This book is clean and very YA appropriate, and I love that there are great messages of caring for the earth, and animals and others woven into to the foundation of this series.

Book Review: The Reapers – Ali Winters

Title: The Reapers (The Hunted Series – Book 1)
Author: Ali Winters

Synopsis:

Having been a reaper as long as she can remember, Nivian knows that what she does is essential in maintaining balance. After being assigned to a rushed mark she finds that there is more to this human than any other she has encountered.

Kain had been living an ordinary life without a second thought until he meets Nivian who turns his world upside down. He is thrust into a world of hunters and reapers. The keepers of life and death have been feuding for centuries over a reason no one can even remember.

With Kain having been marked for reaping, and Nivian being hunted, they forge a friendship and together must find the truth in order to keep balance in check. Wrong choices could destroy everything. As they journey they discover hidden histories, powers, and lies and truths that have been spun since the beginning of time. The consequence of failure, unimaginable.


My Review: I won The Reapers playing a game regarding author Ali Winters, where I had to answer three questions about her in order to win a copy of her book.  Ali has been one of my Facebook friends for a little while and I was nearly able to answer all of the questions off the top of my head.  So I did…for the win! 

What I Loved:  This is the first book I’ve read about Reapers (excluding On a Pale Horse, which I read in High School as part of a class, and is sort of in the same vein…great book btw!), though I know it’s not the only one out there, but first and foremost I loved being thrown into a world I never even thought to explore.  Ali Winters has created a backdrop that is both interesting and easy to follow.  

Her main character, Nivian, is very easy to like and while a little passive at times, she was also witty and smart.  She was curious about the world that she didn’t actually belong to, and compassionate.  She was exceptionally good at her job, but it wasn’t this ego chip resting on her shoulder.  As her backstory begins to unfold in the book, her character becomes even more interesting.

The Reapers took a few left turns that kept me engaged with the story and wanting to know more.  I’m a pretty big fan of the side characters making the story, and there were plenty of side-characters helping to create the shape of this book nicely.  Camira and Silas were a couple of my favorites.

Not So Much:  I kind of would have liked have seen a little bit more push pull play with the romantic interests in this book.  I get that both Kane and Caspian are very much into Niv, however I feel that while she has feeling for both of the guys, it kind of just feels like physical attraction and surface deep so far.  She is also played as innocent, but I kind of would think that given the way both of the guys act when they are around her – she would have some clue as to what is happening, and how she feels about it.  I hope to see something with a little more foundation grow in the future.

I was also pretty surprised at Kane’s acceptance of the world he was thrown into.  Perhaps it just didn’t seem like there was much “time” for him to accept the new reality, he kind of (metaphorically, not literally) shrugged and went with it.  By the end he was even claiming loyalty ties.  I think I probably would have been kicking and screaming and perhaps outright rejecting everything being thrown my way, despite evidence to the contrary.  He didn’t even have a mild panic attack. 

The Verdict:    
 I believe fans of Paranormal/Fantasy will enjoy this book a lot.  It’s YA, and appropriately labeled, as it is clean, with light romance that is on a constant simmer, however it is not the main purpose of this story.  There are twist and turns that keep the reader engaged with the story.


Book Review: Enchanted Revenge – Theresa M. Jones

Enchanted Revenge
Empyrean Chronicles # 1
By- Theresa M. Jones
Genre- YA Fantasy

When seventeen year old Lily finds her parents brutally murdered, leaving her broken and alone, she is determined to bring justice to the fairies responsible. Her quest leads her to infiltrate The Empyrean, the land of the Fae where terrifying creatures lurk in every shadow. But with a political rebellion mounting, bloodshed y battles and foreign enemies stand in her way. Alec, a mysterious and secretive fairy, gradually becomes her guide and dear friend in the unfamiliar world, and restores her faith in love.

Disturbing secrets about her parent’s true identity are revealed, causing her to be more involved with the devastating fairy war than she can afford. Her vengeful mission becomes compromised and her growing romance with Alec wavers. She must conquer her fear of the unknown, ignore her grief, and overcome her growing list of enemies if she is to succeed in avenging her parents’ death. Or ever make it out alive.

Enchanted Revenge will appeal to fans of Jennifer L. Armentrout and Julie Kagawa.


 

Enticing Violence
Empyrean Chronicles # 2
By- Theresa M. Jones
Genre- YA Fantasy
Publication Date- November 2nd


Lily and Alec are only pawns in a war much larger than they’d imagined.


Lily still wants to complete her mission: Avenge her parents. But when Lynn- the leader of the Rebels in Muircadia- is captured, and Rita- daughter to the evil Lord Nettles- is sentenced to death, it’s up to Lily, Alec, and the very select few Fae they trust, to try to save them all before it’s too late.


When all you do is fight for your life, how do you find time to live?
How do you love when hope is always slipping away?


Enticing Violence is the second book in The Empyrean Chronicles.

My Review of Enchanged Revenge:

I divide my reading habit into two parts, the first part was from about 5th – 8th grade where I would read all the time, especially in the summer when we had no school and I had access to the library and SO.MANY.BOOKS!  I would get so lost that it would take my mom several tries to even get my attention if she needed me.  I would read a book a day, maybe two depending on the topic/size of the book.  Then I got to High School and I got busy with so many other things and stopped reading for pleasure completely.

I picked books up again when I started having kids, and especially when I started (briefly) working from home.  While infants and toddlers require a lot of time, there also happens to be a lot of downtime sometimes too, so I found myself being absorbed into the new worlds and people, and I remembered exactly what I loved when I was a kid.  Like so many people, I got sucked in the Twilight craze, and once that was done, I moved on to other Vampires, then Wolves, then I delved into the land of the Fae.  I love Fairy stories because they can be so different.  Not that Vampires and Werewolves can’t/aren’t, but I think I see more diversity in Fae stories than the others.  I love figuring out what the author is going to do differently.  I sort of slipped out of the phase a bit, but when I saw the review request for Enchanged Revenge, I decided to jump back in.

What I Loved:  There were some great points of action in Enchanged Revenge. The beginning of this book started off very strong, and the ending was also very strong.  I enjoyed getting to know Lily and Alec, and some of the various other characters of the books.  I look forward to seeing how some of the side characters might come into play later on in the series.  Author Theresa M Jones did create her own world and version of the Fae, and I enjoyed getting to know her world and it’s intracies. 

Not So Much: There were parts of the book that felt like it was dragging a bit.  We spent a lot of time traveling with Lily and Alec, espcially more toward the beginning that the book.  The opening of the book was so strong and dramatic, that having it drop off at the level that it did made it a little bit hard to hold my attention.  Thankfully, once the book started to pick up steam again it was maintained.

The Verdict:    
A very enjoyable read from Theresa M Jones.  It is a great opening to a series.  It does have plenty of action and a enjoyable Lily/Alec moments to keep you hoping for more.  This book is relatively clean, there was some cussing sprinkled throughout the book, but it wasn’t heavy.  At points there was some graphic violence -but nothing you can’t see on TV.  I would recommend the book for older teenagers.
 

About the Author-
Theresa M Jones is just a regular small town, Texas girl, who loves reading, writing and playing with tech gadgets. When she isn’t at work fixing computers and the like, you can find her at home with her husband and two beautiful (and rambunctious) kiddos.

In her spare time- as if there ever was such a thing as “spare time” – she reads and reviews books on her book blog, and writes paranormal romance and fantasy romance novels.

Links-

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Book Review: The Sin Eater’s Daughter – Melinda Salisbury

Title: The Sin Eater’s Daughter
Author: Melinda Salisbury

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  

I am the perfect weapon.
I kill with a single touch.
Twylla is blessed. The Gods have chosen her to marry a prince, and rule the kingdom. But the favour of the Gods has it’s price. A deadly poison infuses her skin. Those who anger the queen must die under Twylla’s fatal touch.
Only Lief, an outspoken new guard, can see past Twylla’s chilling role to the girls she truly is.
Yet in a court as dangerous and the queen’s, some truths should not be told…

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My Review:

W-O-W. I just finished listening to The Sin Eater’s Daughter, and that is the first word that comes to mind. On average it takes me 2 days to listen to an audio book, and yesterday I was thinking, ‘yes I love these characters and the world that Melinda Salisbury has created, but while we’re getting a lot of background, world building and learning about the legends and where Twylla comes from and who she is now, there’s just not a lot of action.’ Today, however, as I was listening there was a bit more drama, a bit more action, and loads and loads of revelation. I’m a lover of fairy tales, I absolutely adore reading new adaptations to old stories and how the authors begin to make an old world new or completely different. I had never heard the story of The Sleeping Prince prior to listening to this book, but I can tell you I’m completely engrossed now. This book (fairy tale) of legends, gods, and betrayal was wonderfully written, and I’m looking forward to the next in the series.
Rated:  PG-13 – Book has ‘fade to black’ sex.  No cussing.
Genre: If I go by my normal standards, I’d have to put this as a New Adult, although it’s pegged as Young Adult in stores.
Rating: 5 Stars
~* Books by Melinda Salisbury *~

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Book Review: Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

Title:Red Queen

Author: Victoria Aveyard


Synopsis from Goodreads:   

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.


To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.


Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of

those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.


But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?


Review:
The Red Queen started popping up in my newsfeeds and emails a couple months ago, and despite the hype, mentally I was prepared to be disappointed. I was finding it compared to The Selection Series and Graceling, both books (series) I have read, and both of them I started out loving and ended up not very happy with them for different reasons.  Also, with big named publishers, books tend to get a lot of hype and advertismenet because of who is backing them.  What I’m trying to say is, I wasn’t buying into the hype.  I saw the book on my library’s Overdrive Ebooks list and thought it was at least worth a chance.


The Verdict??
I.want.to.own.these.books.  …and only the first book is out.

(Edited 4/21/14 – I DO own this book!)


So, I can see the relationship to The Selection and Graceling, and I would add The Hunger Games in the mix too, because of the arrogant turning their noses on those who provide them basically everything.  The world building was absolutely excellent!  I didn’t feel lost or confused about what was going on or why.  I also really enjoyed that none of the characters were perfect, every last one of them had their strengths and flaws, making the story feel more believable.  This is a bit rare in dystopian type novels – usually at least one of the characters is unnaturally good at almost everything.  I did find that much of the book was predictable due to foreshadowing, so I really wasn’t surprised by much of the story at all.  

If I were to pick a favorite part of the book I would say it would be all the conversations between Mere and Cal, and Mere and Maven (the Princes of the Kingdom); and how while the book was about the ruling class of super-humans and the normal humans living as a secondary slave class, both sides of the spectrum felt trapped and confined by their lives.  It really plays on the whole “grass is not always greener on the other side” concept, although there truly is a lesser more oppressed side.

The biggest downside of this series…. the wait for book 2 has begun!

Rated:  PG-13; Some Cussing
Genre: Young Adult: Dystopian, Romance
Rating:  5 Stars

~* Books by Victoria Aveyard *~