Thursday, January 14, 2016

Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard | Review

Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard | ReviewTruthwitch by Susan Dennard
Series: The Witchlands #1
Published by Tor Teen on January 5, 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
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5 Stars

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

picadillyblueI contemplated writing a one sentence review for Truthwitch. Basically, I was just going to say ‘go buy the book.’  At this point it seems like that is the only coherent thing I have to say about Truthwitch.  I figured you guys might not appreciate that though so here goes nothing.

Truthwitch is your typical fantasy novel, at first.  It takes some to build up the world and it took me some time to figure out what all the words meant and how to pronounce things.  However, after that, it’s completely unique.  Susan Dennard has crafted a story full of wonderful new characters, creative abilities, and there are even clever curse words.  How can I start using ‘goat tits’ on a regular basis?

Safi and Iseult have a special relationship.  They are ‘threadsisters’ meaning they might as well be actual sisters.  They have a bond that is tested constantly but never breaks.  Safi would give up her life for Iseult and Iseult would do the same for Safi.  They couldn’t be more different though.  Safi is hot-headed and a smartass.  She was born into a powerful family but she wants nothing to do with them or her legacy.  Iseult ran from her tribe and Safi, Mathew, and Habim are her family now.  She’s quiet and methodical but she has a tendency to panic when Safi isn’t by her side.  Together, they make one great team.  They are strong apart but they are unstoppable together.  They also manage to get into a ton of trouble together.

Safi and Iseult spend much of their time on the run.  From the start of the book you know that they are in serious trouble and it only gets worse.  They have a vindictive Bloodwitch out to get them and he’s not the only one trying to find them.  They are on the run from tons of people and it’s up to the people on their getaway ship to keep them safe.  That’s not the ship crew’s only priority though.  Prince Merik, the captain of the ship they are on, as well as the Prince of Nubrevna, is out to save his people.  Safi is not his first priority and Iseult is even further down his list of people to worry about.  He’s not a bad guy, by any means, but he has a lot of worries without having to deal with Safi and Iseult.  That doesn’t mean he doesn’t come to care about the two of them though.  Let me just say, Safi and Merik have two very crazy tempers between the two of them and it makes for some explosive encounters.  Their first meeting is very memorable and they only get better from there.

The abilities that some of the characters are gifted with also help make this a completely unique book to read.  Not all people have a gift and some have gifts that are more rare than others.  Safi, for example, is  a Truthwitch.  She can tell truth from lie and she is one of the only (if not the only) Truthwitch.  Merik is a Windwitch which is more common.  Not only do the abilities differ by person but so do the powers that come with their abilities.  Some are much stronger than others.  It all depends on the person.  I look forward to finding out a lot more about the abilities of each character and exactly what they can do with those abilities.

The relationships in Truthwitch are varied and complicated.  Safi and Iseult have one of the easiest relationships of the book.  They’d do anything for each other and that’s all that matters.  Then there is Iseult and Evrane.  Evrane saves her life more than once and there is some kind of tie there that I hope will be expanded upon in future books.  Then there is Evrane and Merik.  They are family but they have a very strained relationship.  There is history there that I look forward to finding out about.  Then there is Merik and Safi.  Holy sexual tension, you guys! Like I said, they are kind of explosive and I meant that in more ways than one.  There is also Merik and his first mate, Kullen.  They have a bond very similar to Safi and Iseult’s.  They love each other like brothers and I think it hurts Merik more to see Kullen hurt than it would for him to deal with his own pain.  My heart broke for their struggles.  And don’t even get me started on how the Bloodwitch Aeduan ties into everything.  I didn’t think Susan Dennard could surprise me any more by the end of this book but she totally did.

Overall, Truthwitch has everything I could have wanted and more.  It’s a story featuring strong female and male characters, romance, magic, and secrets.  I’ll stop gushing now but guys, read this book.  Seriously.  It’s an epic start to what promises to be a unique and captivating series.

What others are saying about Truthwitch:

The Soul Sisters’ review: “You will not know what to expect with Truthwitch and when you finally dive into it and devour its words, sentences, and pages, it will blow out every expectation you have with its quickly paced and smooth story-telling, amazing, amazing characters and freaking out of this world magic-filled fight scenes, you will seriously be left begging for more.”

Vilma’s Book Blog’s review: “It’s a tale rife with magic, action, conflict and political intrigue, but at it’s core,  it’s a story of unshakeable friendship.”

Monday, August 6, 2012

Last Rite (Personal Demons #3) by Lisa Desrochers | Review

Last Rite (Personal Demons #3) by Lisa Desrochers | ReviewLast Rite by Lisa Desrochers
Series: Personal Demons #3
Published by Tor Teen on May 8, 2012
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 365
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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5 Stars

In this final installment of the thrilling, edgy Personal Demons series, the battle between Heaven and Hell has become critical, and Frannie Cavanaugh is right at the center of it.

With the help of the powerful angel Gabe and demon-turned-mortal Luc, Frannie has been able to stay one step ahead of the forces of Hell. But when the demons killed Frannie's best friend and destroyed her brother, they raised the stakes. If Frannie wants to keep her family and friends safe, she knows she has no choice but to go on the run.

Their best defense is the power Frannie has been struggling to master, but her attempts to hone her skill go horribly awry. If Frannie doesn't learn fast, the consequences could be devastating--even apocalyptic.

What happens when you can't outrun Hell...or trust the ones you love?

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SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read the first two books in this trilogy this review will contain spoilers.

Last Rite is the perfect ending to the Personal Demons trilogy.  Lisa Desrochers tied everything up nicely and I was left with a smile on my face.  While I’m sad to say goodbye to the great characters I’m completely satisfied with the way things ended.

Frannie is just as kick-ass as ever but she isn’t quite as spunky as she was in the previous books. A lot has happened and grief has made her a more somber person.  Seeing her upset so much was a very different side of her.  She finally realized that not everything was in her control and it changed her a lot.  However she still managed to retain her spark, she just was a bit more mature.

For the first half of the book Luc was a very different guy than he’d been in the past, at least on the outside.  He was mean, hurtful, and just didn’t seem to care.  However that’s not what he felt on the inside.  It was clear how much Luc loved Frannie and at times I felt so sad for him.  He just couldn’t figure out what was best for both him and Frannie.  Gabe didn’t help matters.  He is a very different Gabe from the first two books.  He’s still kind and caring but he’s become more interested in beating Lucifer than in protecting Frannie.  Also, his feelings for Frannie really came out in this book.  I like Gabe but, no matter what, I’ve always been and always will be Team Luc.

Now there were some cliffhangers from the previous two books but I’m happy to say they were all tied up.  Readers get to find out more about Frannie’s family, including Matt, as well as what Frannie’s true purpose really is.  Some things didn’t come as huge surprises but there were definitely some things I didn’t see coming.

As for the plot, it’s a little slow to pick up but the second half of the book is non-stop surprises and action.  It definitely made up for the first half which was more talk and build-up.  Honestly, it’s impossible to be bored with these books.

Overall, Last Rite is everything readers could want.  I can’t wait to see what Lisa Desrochers does next.

Looking for more reviews of Last Rite?

Book Angel Booktopia’s review
Missy’s Reads & Reviews’ review

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Original Sin (Personal Demons #2) by Lisa Desrochers | Review

Original Sin (Personal Demons #2) by Lisa Desrochers | ReviewOriginal Sin by Lisa Desrochers
Series: Personal Demons #2
Published by Tor Teen on July 5, 2011
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 398
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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4 Stars

Luc Cain was born and raised in Hell, but he isn’t feeling as demonic as usual lately—thanks to Frannie Cavanaugh and the unique power she never realized she had. But you can’t desert Hell without consequences, and suddenly Frannie and Luc find themselves targeted by the same demons who used to be Luc’s allies.

Left with few options, Frannie and Luc accept the protection of Heaven and one of its most powerful angels, Gabe. Unfortunately, Luc isn’t the only one affected by Frannie, and it isn’t long before Gabe realizes that being around her is too…tempting. Rather than risk losing his wings, he leaves Frannie and Luc under the protection of her recently-acquired guardian angel.

Which would be fine, but Gabe is barely out the door before an assortment of demons appears—and they’re not leaving without dragging Luc back to Hell with them. Hell won’t give up and Heaven won’t give in. Frannie’s guardian exercises all the power he has to keep them away, but the demons are willing to hurt anyone close to Frannie in order to get what they want. It will take everything she has and then some to stay out of Hell’s grasp.

And not everyone will get out of it alive.

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SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read the first book in this series, this review will contain spoilers.

Lisa Desrocher’s debut novel, Personal Demons, was a favorite of mine. The sequel, Original Sin, was just as fabulous.  Full of angels, demons, romance, and betrayal, this trilogy has a little something for everyone.

Frannie is one hell of a main character.  She is fierce, feisty, and totally kick-ass.  She knows what she wants and she goes after it.  She’s also not easily scared by a few demons.  In fact, at one point she takes down a demon with her bare hands.  This girl needs to teach me (and some other YA girls) some moves!

Luc, Gabe, Matt, and Lili are really the only other characters that seem to matter although there are some secondary characters that play pretty big roles.  Luc is no longer a demon but he’s still a little twisted (wouldn’t have him any other way.)  He’s a little tormented by his past but he’s still kind and totally in love with Frannie.  She brings out the best in him.  Gabe is absent for a good part of the book but when he is present he’s the same as ever.  He’s sweet, helpful, and caring but I have to say, Frannie’s draw to him didn’t make sense.  I just never saw them that way.  He was too much like a father figure, always trying to take care of her.  As for Matt, in the beginning I liked him but that quickly changed.  He had an attitude issue.  And Lili was never trustworthy.  It’s pretty easy to see from the beginning that something is up with her.  As for the rest of the characters they just didn’t really make an impression on me.  They could have used a bit more development.

The plot was a little slow in the beginning.  Things were almost too perfect with Luc and Frannie.  It was pretty clear it wouldn’t last.  And I have to say the whole thing with Lili was a bit too predictable.  There were just too many things in Original Sin that were glaringly obvious and I would’ve liked a bit more mystery.  However I never once stopped enjoying the story and it was dang near impossible to stop reading.

Overall, Original Sin is a good follow-up to Personal Demons.  It’s a fast read that will leave readers dying for the third and final book.

Looking for more reviews of Original Sin?

YA Highway’s review
Bewitched Bookworms’ review

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Personal Demons (Personal Demons #1) by Lisa Desrochers | Review

Personal Demons (Personal Demons #1) by Lisa Desrochers | ReviewPersonal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
Series: Personal Demons #1
Published by Tor Teen on September 14, 2010
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 365
Format: Paperback
Source: Won
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She has spent years keeping everyone at a distance---even her closest friends---and it seems as if her senior year is going to be more of the same . . . until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can't seem to stay away from him.
What she doesn't know is that Luc is on a mission. He's been sent from Hell itself to claim Frannie's soul. It should be easy---all he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn't stand a chance. But he has to work fast, because if the infernals are after her, the celestials can't be far behind. And sure enough, it's not long before the angel Gabriel shows up, willing to do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for. It isn't long before they find themselves fighting for more than just Frannie's soul.
But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay . . . for all of them.

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Personal Demons is a unique take on the angels and demons debate.  I have always been in love with angels but this book has made me rethink that attitude.  I am Team Luc all the way!

Frannie Cavanaugh’s life is perfectly normal until Luc Cain shows up.  Luc is not like any guy she has ever met and she can’t help but be drawn to him.  Then Gabe shows up.  He’s just as mysterious as Luc but where Luc is dark and dangerous, Gabe is goodness and light.  What Frannie doesn’t know is that Luc and Gabe are battling against each other for something; her soul.

At first I wasn’t sure how I would feel about Personal Demons.  I had a hard time getting into it.  There wasn’t a whole lot going on in the beginning but that quickly changed.  After about the first 50 pages I couldn’t put the book down and now I’m dying for more.  Lisa Desrochers knew just how to end the book and leave readers wanting more.

The characters were both the best and worst part of the book.  Luc and Frannie were great and very well-developed.  That is where it stopped though.  Gabe was confusing.  I never felt like I understood him and I didn’t know what he felt about Frannie.  I wanted more depth to him.  Same with Frannie’s friends, Taylor and Riley.  Taylor seemed like a bitch for most of the book.  She didn’t seem at all like a good friend.

Overall, Personal Demons had its flaws but the good parts outweighed them.  Lisa Desrochers has a fabulous debut and the sequel, Original Sin, can’t be released soon enough.

What others are saying about Personal Demons:

Down The Rabbit Hole’s review: “Unique characters, a strong dual perspective and a divine struggle combine to make one hell of a debut novel!”

Forever Lost In Books’ review: “The writing was really well-paced; not too fast and not too slow, which, I like.”

Vampire Book Club’s review: “If you like love triangles and really just want some hot guys fighting over a nice girl, then Personal Demons will be a good quick read for you.”