Friday, May 15, 2015

The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1) by Jodi Meadows | Review

The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1) by Jodi Meadows | ReviewThe Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen #1
Published by Harper Teen on March 10, 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

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The Orphan Queen may be the first book I’ve read by Jodi Meadows but it totally will not be my last.  The Orphan Queen is a wonderful start to this new fantasy trilogy that incorporates action, adventure, magic, romance, and betrayal.

I’m going to start by stating the one and only reason The Orphan Queen didn’t get 5 stars: the beginning.  It took me quite some time to get into Wil’s story.  I completely understand that there is a lot of worldbuilding necessary to a new fantasy series but it did weigh down the  beginning of the book.  Clearly I got past that though and I truly devoured this book once I got into it.

Wil is set to be a queen but she’s far from fit to take over at the start.  She knows she needs to take control of her kingdom again but she doesn’t quite know how.  Also, she may be the queen but she is being told how to rule.  Patrick, friend and adviser to Wil, controls almost everything she does.  Before she can even consider ruling a kingdom she must learn to rule herself.  Otherwise she would be a kind ruler with the best interests of her people at heart.  She’s brave, smart, and wise beyond her years.  She’s a supremely strong female who doesn’t need a man to rule by her side.

The rest of the characters were much more difficult to pin down.  Patrick seemed sketchy at first but he had always been Wil’s close friend.  Her best friend, Melanie, is also a bit sketchy.  She keeps secrets from Wil and neither of them can afford to have secrets at such a crucial time.  The younger Ospreys (the orphans Wil takes care of) seemed a bit undeveloped but quite sweet.  They all seemed to be good people in bad circumstances.  As for the prince that Wil must fool, he’s not at all what she expected and he not be the only one being fooled.

The story was captivating.  Magic is forbidden because it creates Wraith which is quite quickly destroying all the kingdoms.  It’s up to Wil to save her people from the Wraith but nobody knows how to stop it or even how it spreads.  The Wraith really is kind of a character in The Orphan Queen.  It’s a villain unlike any that I’ve read about.

The story also has a bit of mystery surrounding Black Knife, a savior of some, a villain to others.  He starts as a villain to Wil but their relationship definitely changes throughout the book.  As to who Black Knife is, it’s a bit obvious, at least it was to me.  That didn’t really bother me though, it just made me eager for Wil to find out.  Let’s just say there were a lot of double identities in The Orphan Queen.

Overall, The Orphan Queen will appeal greatly to established fantasy fans but it’s also a perfect introduction to fantasy.  Be warned though, the ending will break your heart and leave it in pieces on the floor.  It’s a huge cliffhanger so be prepared for a wait!

What others are saying about The Orphan Queen:

Read Breathe Relax’s review: “I was consumed by the magic and the intrigue and romance spun around with an incredible storytelling talent.”

Writing My Own Fairy Tale’s review: “It’s full of action, political intrigue, princes and princesses, runaways, secret identities, spies, magic, a little bit of romance, and a kick-ass heroine!!”

Hit or Miss Books’ review: “I am feeling more than underwhelmed by The Orphan Queen right now.”

Monday, May 4, 2015

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas | Review

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas | ReviewA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Published by Bloomsbury on May 5, 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

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Where do I even begin with this review?  I’ve been putting off reading Sarah J. Maas’ books because I worried there was no way they could live up to the hype.  I was definitely wrong about that.  A Court of Thorns and Roses surpassed my expectations.

Feyre’s story hooked me from the start.  As a character, she was exactly what I wanted.  She’s strong, fierce, independent, and a little cold.  However, she’s also lonely, scared, and tired.  Everything she does is for her family, even though they never show their appreciation.  She made a promise to her mother that she would protect them and that’s all that matters to her.  As for her family, I didn’t care for them a lot but they did grow on me.  There is more to them than meets the eye.

I’m sure you’re all wondering what I thought of Tamlin and I’ll tell you, I definitely loved him.  He took some getting used to but once Feyre got to know him I completely fell for him.  His story was heartbreaking and yet he still managed to hold on to hope and love for the longest time.  It helped that he had Lucien through everything.  Lucien was his right hand man and he was probably my favorite character of all.  His banter with Feyre was hilarious.  And yes, while he may have made some mistakes regarding Feyre, watching their attitudes towards each other change was worth everything they went through.  Sarah J. Maas certainly has a way with characters, both the good and the evil.  Let me just tell you, her villains are dark and twisted.

The story has hints of Beauty and the Beast and I loved catching all the references.  A Court of Thorns and Roses is a story all it’s own but the nods to the classic were wonderful.  The story is so intricate.  I have plans to read it again soon so I can catch some of the things I might have missed the first time around.  I truly loved how intricate everything was about the story and the curse.  It’s a much deeper story than you would originally think.

As for the romance, I can’t even begin to tell you how steamy the chemistry is between Feyre and Tamlin.  I loved their relationship and how it kind of snuck up on both of them.  This was not a case of instalove.  It also made things interesting that Feyre fell for Tamlin even though she didn’t really know what he looked like.

Overall, A Court of Thorns and Roses is a must read for everyone.  I plan on forcing this one on all my fellow readers!

What others are saying about A Court of Thorns and Roses:

Midnight Book Girl’s review: “You should read it, before I buy up all the copies in May and build a ginormous book fort out of them and pretend that it’s Tamlin’s estates.”

Nose Graze’s review: “I absolutely ADORED the faerie lore, politics, and history.”

There Were Books Involved’s review: “I think I could literally talk about this book all day.”   

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard | Review

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard | ReviewRed Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #1
Published by Harper Teen on February 10, 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 383
Format: Hardcover
Source: ALA
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard's sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king's palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion--even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

picadillyblueI was pretty skeptical when I started Red Queen.  I had heard extremely mixed things about it.  I was looking for a good fantasy read at the time and I’m glad I set aside my skepticism and gave Red Queen a chance.  I adored it and I can’t wait for more in this world!  The sequel needs to get in my hands now!

Mare is a completely badass Red who is thrown into the world of the Silvers.  While she may be completely badass and independent in the world of the Reds, she’s a completely newbie to the powers that grant her access to the Silver world.  I’m all for a badass MC who can do things for themselves and who lead revolutions but seeing someone like that become so powerless actually made me like her more.  Mare had to learn very quickly who she could trust and rely on inside the castle and out.  I hated seeing her be made a pawn but I really enjoyed watching her come into her own as everyone around her tried to use her for their own purposes.

I kid you not when I say the rest of the characters might have been great but I had no clue who to trust.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked them all but I could not tell who the good guys were and who the bad guys were.  It seemed like everyone had ulterior motives for their actions and I will tell you right now, there is some serious betrayal going on in Red Queen.  Don’t trust anyone or anything.  Nothing is as it seems.  I loved that about the book!

As for romance, I can’t tell if it’s a love triangle or square.  Mare is apparently very attractive to many people.  I can understand that since she has such an awesome personality.  First there is Cal then there is Maven and maybe something there with Kilorn.  I’m not sure about that one yet.  Cal was definitely my favorite at first but he’s got some things he needs to work on and he may not be the best fit for Mare.  I’m not really a Maven fan and you’ll understand why once you read the book.  As for Kilorn, like I said, maybe it’s just friendship but maybe not.  Either way, he’s a good guy and good for Mare.

The story is so interesting.  When people asked me what it was about I just told them it was fantasy with almost Xmen like powers.  It’s a pretty good way to describe the things that everyone can do.  People don’t all have the same power, it varies by family.  There are all kinds of powers and all kinds of people wielding those powers.  It’s pretty bad knowing that terrible people have these powers and rule the world and can do whatever they want to lower class citizens with almost no repercussions.  It’s easy to see why this world might need a revolution and they are definitely about to get one.

Overall, Red Queen met and exceeded my expectations.  I can’t wait to see where Victoria Aveyard takes the characters next.  It’s going to be interesting.

What others are saying about Red Queen:

Good Books and Good Wine’s review: “Aveyard’s world in Red Queen is vast and I can’t wait to explore more of it when the sequels come out.”

Mugglenet’s review: “If you’re a fan of X-Men, Game of Thrones, and dystopians like The Selection, you’ll enjoy this book.”

Book Nerd’s review: “I liked it but then again I had issues with it.”

Monday, March 16, 2015

Blog Tour: The Infinite (Gates of Thread and Stone #2) by Lori M. Lee | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Infinite (Gates of Thread and Stone #2) by Lori M. Lee | Review + GiveawayThe Infinite by Lori M. Lee
Series: Gates of Thread and Stone #2
Published by Skyscape on March 10, 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 378
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

The walls of Ninurta keep its citizens safe.

Kai always believed the only danger to the city came from within. Now, with a rebel force threatening the fragile government, the walls have become more of a prison than ever.

To make matters worse, as Avan explores his new identity as an Infinite, Kai struggles to remind him what it means to be human. And she fears her brother, Reev, is involved with the rebels. With the two people she cares about most on opposite sides of a brewing war, Kai will do whatever it takes to bring peace. But she’s lost her power to manipulate the threads of time, and she learns that a civil war might be the beginning of something far worse that will crumble not only Ninurta’s walls but also the entire city.

In this thrilling sequel to Gates of Thread and Stone, Kai must decide how much of her humanity she’s willing to lose to protect the only family she’s ever known.

TheInfiniteBlogTour

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I was a big fan of Gates of Thread and Stone so when I saw The Infinite on Netgalley I knew I needed to download it immediately.  The first book tied up pretty neatly but I wanted more of Kai, Avan, and Reev’s story.  I got just what I wanted from The Infinite but it definitely left me eager for more.

The Infinite picks up right where Gates of Thread and Stone left off.  Kai is settling into her new life though she doesn’t have her powers any more and she’s not sure what that means.  Avan is also settling in but it’s a bit easier for him seeing as he has no memories of his old life to confuse him.  Then there is Reev who is an awesome big brother but comes across pretty sketchy at times.  I never knew if I should trust his intentions or not.  There are many people in Kai’s life that have secrets and it’s extremely hard to tell who those secrets are going to hurt when they come out.

I’m  happy to say that The Infinite does not suffer from second book syndrome.  To be honest, I had no clue where this book was going to take Kai’s story when I started it.  Like I said, things tied up pretty neatly at the end of the first book so I didn’t know what Lori M. Lee had in store for her characters this time around.  There are definitely things from the first book that come into play in The Infinite but it also introduces a new story that kept me hooked from start to finish.  I also really appreciated the character growth in this one.  It was hard for me to see Avan as this new character without his memories of Kai.  While he had the same body as the Avan from Gates of Thread and Stone he was very much a different character and that was unusual.  Then there was Kai who really showed growth and new strengths that I definitely appreciated.

Overall, The Infinite continues the awesomeness of Kai’s story that started with Gates of Thread and Stone.  Once again, I’m eager for more but I have no clue what Lori M. Lee is going to do next.  Fantasy fans need to check out this series!

What others are saying about The Infinite:

What Happened to the Wallflower’s review: “Basically, what I’m trying to say: in the total of about 360 pages, I was never once bored.”

Room 22 Epic Readers’ review: “The Infinite was absolutely amazing. I didn’t want to put it down!”

Check out the rest of the blog tour for more reviews as well as interviews, giveaways, and more!

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Lori is the author of young adult fantasy novels Gates of Thread and Stone and The Infinite. She has a borderline obsessive fascination with unicorns, is fond of talking in capslock, and loves to write about magic, manipulation, and family. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, kids, and a friendly pitbull.

 
 
 
 

Find Lori M. Lee online here:

Website: http://www.lorimlee.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7084159.Lori_M_Lee
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LoriMLee
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LoriMLee
Tumblr: http://lorimlee.tumblr.com/
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lorimlee/
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/lorimlee82

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Blog Tour: The Sin Eater’s Daughter (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1) by Melinda Salisbury | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Sin Eater’s Daughter (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1) by Melinda Salisbury | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Sin Eater’s Daughter (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1) by Melinda Salisbury | Review + GiveawayThe Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
Series: The Sin Eater's Daughter #1
Published by Scholastic on February 24, 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.

She’s the executioner.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

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The Sin Eater’s Daughter was one of those books that I’d heard nothing but good things about.  Needless to say, my expectations were pretty high.  While I wasn’t quite as blown away as I’d hoped, I was definitely impressed with Melinda Salisbury’s debut novel.

Twylla possessed the ability to kill people with a single touch, making her extremely valuable to the rulers of her kingdom.  She was used as a weapon by the king and queen but also betrothed to their son, Merek.  While she was an asset to the kingdom, she was not treated as such.  She was very much alone among the other royals.  Her guards were the closest thing to friends that she had.  Her life was very solitary and kind of depressing.

Twylla was a weak point for me.  She was quite naive.  She didn’t question her abilities, how she got them, why she got them, or how they worked.  She accepted what the king and queen told her, even when things didn’t always add up.  Enter Lief, Twylla’s new guard from another kingdom.  He treated her as a person rather than a tool.  He made her question everything she had known.  He changed her and I liked the side of her that he brought out.  Of course Merek was still in the picture but he took a backseat to Lief in the romance department.  Major love triangle in The Sin Eater’s Daughter but I truly don’t know how I feel about this one.  Lief and Merek both had secrets but they both were good fits for Twylla, in different ways.

The lore throughout the book was definitely the best part.  The history of the kingdom as well as the whole world was so thought out and extensive.  The practice of sin eating was extremely interesting.  There wasn’t a whole lot about sin eating at first but it does come into play later in the story.  There is also a fairytale that comes into play closer to the end of the story and it blew my mind when everything came together.

I feel like I’m not doing a good job playing up how good The Sin Eater’s Daughter was.  There is romance, betrayal, folklore, mystery, and so much more.  It’s an interesting start to a new fantasy series.  The cliffhanger ending kind of killed me and I’m definitely going to continue this series.

Overall, fantasy fans should check out The Sin Eater’s Daughter.  Melinda Salisbury shows real talent with her debut novel.

What others are saying about The Sin Eater’s Daughter:

Jess Hearts Books’ review: “The Sin Eater’s Daughter was a rich mystery driven Fantasy that’s sure to keep readers enthralled with its surprising twists and unique world.”

Woven Magic’s review: “I like my fantasys with take charge heroines, magic and battles and political plots, but for a fantasy romance this was good. (and there was plenty of conniving by bad guys.)”

Fiction Freak’s review: “Read this. Seriously. Honestly. Read The Sin Eater’s Daughter and you won’t regret it.”

 

Melinda

About Melinda:

Melinda Salisbury lives by the sea, somewhere in the south of England. As a child she genuinely thought Roald Dahl’s Matilda was her biography, in part helped by her grandfather often mistakenly calling her Matilda, and the local library having a pretty cavalier attitude to the books she borrowed. Sadly she never manifested telekinetic powers. She likes to travel, and have adventures. She also likes medieval castles, non-medieval aquariums, Richard III, and all things Scandinavian. The Sin Eater’s Daughter is her first novel, and will be published by Scholastic in 2015. She is represented by the amazing Claire Wilson at Rogers, Coleridge and White.

She tweets. A lot.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr | Instagram | Pinterest

Giveaway!

5 winners will receive copies of The Sin Eater’s Daughter

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Tour Schedule

Week One:

2/16/2015- Fiktshun– Interview

2/17/2015- Katie’s Book Blog– Review

2/18/2015- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads– Guest Post

2/19/2015- Beauty and the Bookshelf– Review

2/20/2015- Novel Novice– Interview

Week Two:

2/23/2015- Fiction Fare– Review

2/24/2015- Supernatural Snark– Guest Post

2/25/201- YA Bibliophile– Review

2/26/2015- Dark Faerie Tales– Interview

2/27/2015- Two Chicks on Books– Guest Post

Friday, February 13, 2015

Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler | Review

Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler | ReviewLast Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler
Series: Radleigh University #1
on December 9, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 414
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she's acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she'll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn't exactly Lizzie's biggest fan.

But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you're ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks... and that she'd like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he's not the kind of guy who'd ever reciprocate.

Until he does.

Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.

Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left.

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Last Will and Testament has been on my TBR for a while.  Y’all know me, I’m a sucker for new adult novels.  This one was no exception.  I was hooked from the start.  In fact, I was so hooked I actually missed my train because I was paying no attention to anything but the book.

One thing that always gets me hooked is humor and Last Will and Testament was definitely not lacking in that department.  While it starts off on a more somber note, it definitely contains humor to balance the sadness.  Lizzie’s sense of humor is perfect.  She is snarky and witty and so easy to like.  There were times when I just wanted to applaud her for her ability to stay so humorous even after everything.  The banter between her and Connor was also perfect.  Connor did seem like a bit of a stick in the mud at first but once he opened up a bit more to Lizzie I started to like him.  Who could possibly go wrong with a sexy history nerd?

Lizzie and Connor definitely had their problems though.  They had a lot of back and forth going on for a while.  This was mainly on Connor’s part but Lizzie definitely helped it along.  One day Connor would be all over Lizzie and the next day he’d tell her they could never have a relationship.  The next day he’d be all over her again.  I understand where he was coming from but it was a little annoying.  Like I said, Lizzie didn’t help matters though because she was always showing up at his office or texting him.  I could see why he might be confused.

The romance was beyond steamy.  I had just gotten to a really good part when I missed my train and once you read the book you’ll understand why I might have been a little distracted.  Connor and Lizzie have some serious chemistry between them.  They  might not always like each other but they can’t deny that.  They also built up a pretty great friendship after everything they went through.  There was some serious drama with the two of them but they made it work.

The custody situation was an interesting aspect of the story.  I wasn’t all that impressed with how Lizzie handled taking care of her brothers but she was young and not equipped for a situation like that.  Tyler was 13 and Max was 7 and they both had issues that they needed adults to help with.  I was a bit disappointed with how much Lizzie left them alone.  I get that she had a lot going on in her life and Tyler was capable of babysitting but she left him in charge quite often, even when she was home with them.  I wanted to see her mature to a point where she was really there for both of her brothers and I don’t think she ever reached that point.

Overall, Last Will and Testament kept me hooked from beginning to end and definitely left me wanting more.  I’m eager to continue this new adult series.  I would highly recommend this one.

What others are saying about Last Will and Testament:

Emilie’s Book World’s review: “The latest in the string of awesome New Adult I’ve read is Dahlia Adler’s Last Will and Testament.”

A Reader of Fictions’ review: “Finally, since I forgot to mention it above, Dahlia’s NA some fabulous sassy humor, so if you’re into crude jokes and her Twitter feed, you’ll get some chuckles.”

SleepsOnTables’ review: “It goes so much deeper than the typical NAs we’ve seen before and I can’t wait for Radleigh University #2!”

Friday, February 6, 2015

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater | Review

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater | ReviewBlue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #3
Published by Scholastic on October 21, 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 391
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

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Does it come as any surprise that I absolutely adored Blue Lily, Lily Blue? If it does, you probably haven’t read my reviews of The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves so you should probably stop reading this and check those out first.

I’d heard there was a cliffhanger at the end of Blue Lily, Lily Blue so I was pretty on edge throughout the whole book. (Don’t worry; it’s not a bad cliffhanger.) There were so many twists and turns in Blue Lily, Lily Blue, I just couldn’t keep up. I never once was able to predict what was going to happen next. That’s always been one of the things I love most about Maggie Stiefvater’s books and it was no exception with this one.

The characters have grown on me since the first book and I’ve come to love them all but I still can’t predict a single thing they are going to do. All of them managed to piss me off at least once throughout the book but I love them even more now, especially Adam. Adam has been the hardest for me to like throughout the series but I finally felt like I could understand where he was coming from with this book. He’s still not my favorite of the Raven boys but I like him a lot more now than I used to.

The story develops a lot more in Blue Lily, Lily Blue than in any of the other books. The Raven boys and Blue finally make some progress on their quest to find Glendower but they find more problems as well. Their quest is not a simple one and every bit of progress they make seems to be hindered by something. I’m not sure how things are going to end in the next (and final) book but I’m eager to see how Maggie Stiefvater ties things up.

Overall, Blue Lily, Lily Blue just blew me out of the water. I was expecting something amazing and I definitely got that. I wish I didn’t have to wait for the final book but I know there are plenty other readers out there anxiously awaiting it with me.

What others are saying about Blue Lily, Lily Blue:

There Were Books Involved’s review: “Maggie Stiefvater makes you believe in magic.”

Not Yet Read’s review: “The group as a whole do have some pretty tense moments, odd discoveries and of course two major breakthroughs in this installment and the way it ends did indeed leave me eager for the next book, I just didn’t feel that this one was as gripping or strong as the previous two books which I loved.”

Wrapped Up In Books’ review: “This series is undoubtedly one of my absolute favorites, and I am eagerly awaiting not only the series finale, but re-reading it and listening to the complete audiobooks (the narration has been excellent).”

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater | Review

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater | ReviewThe Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #2
Published by Scholastic on September 17, 2013
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
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5 Stars

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same.

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life.

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

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Maggie Stiefvater has never suffered from second book syndrome and that is still the case with The Dream Thieves. I was surprised to find myself enjoyed The Dream Thieves even more than I enjoyed The Raven Boys. This book truly took things to the next level.

The hunt is still on for Glendower but this time there are new players in the game and Glendower isn’t the only one being hunted.  Ronan’s ability is worth more than he ever could have known and he’s only just learning how it works.  There are people out there who know about the ability and would do whatever it takes to take control of it.  Not only that, Ronan is also learning that he may not be the only one who possesses the ability to take things from dreams and he starts to wonder what exactly has been taken from dreams and what is real.

The characters really start to change in The Dream Thieves.  I honestly wasn’t sure who I liked anymore.  Gansey was still Gansey but he starting being a lot wiser and more introspective.  Adam changed the most and I wasn’t impressed with the changes.  His anger started coming out a lot more and he was downright rude to Blue and his other friends.  I still felt bad for him because of his history and how it affected him but it was still no excuse.  Blue finally started to see that she wasn’t being fair to herself or to Adam and I was proud of her for that.  The prophecy about her true love really started to come into play in The Dream Thieves.  Blue is a strong girl but there were times when she broke down and I loved her even more for that.  Then there was Ronan.  I didn’t love him in the first book but I sure do now.  That boy is so twisted up inside.  I felt horrible for everything he’d been through but I was so happy to see how things were starting to change for him.  He showed the  most growth and development of anyone in The Dream Thieves.  The glances into his past also helped bring me around to see his side of things.

The story went places I never expected it to go.  I haven’t been able to predict a single thing about this series.  Every little detail somehow ties together into the bigger picture.  Readers can tell that everything is leading up to something big but I have no clue how the story will get there or what’s going to happen once it does get there.  Also, it’s impossible to tell who is good and who is bad and who does bad things just because they have to.  Each and every character is so complex and has a story all their own.  Good luck trying to figure anything out about this story or the characters.

Overall, The Dream Thieves continues the epicness (new word!) that is the Raven Cycle.  I’m excited to dive into Blue Lily, Lily Blue and see where Maggie Stiefvater takes Blue and her boys next.

What others are saying about The Dream Thieves:

The Streetlight Reader’s review: “The magic of The Raven Boys was lost in this book and the characters I had come to love were no longer present in this book.”

Starlight Book Reviews’ review: “While I missed the heaviness of the first book, it was still appropriate given the focus on Ronan and his progression and revelations.”

Wrapped Up In Books’ review: ” I highly recommend reading it one sitting (or as few as possible) so you can completely immerse yourself in the world and the writing.”

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater | Review

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater | ReviewThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Published by Scholastic on September 18, 2012
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
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5 Stars

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

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I feel like at this point anything I say about The Raven Boys and Maggie Stiefvater will just be reiteration.  I adore her writing and The Raven Boys is probably the best thing she’s written so far.  And I can say that because I’ve read all her other books.

Where do I start with this one?  There was honestly not a single thing about it that I didn’t like.  The characters, the writing, the setting, the story, every last thing about it was completely perfect.  I’ve always had a bit of an issue getting into Maggie Stiefvater’s books because while her writing is gorgeous it is a little weighty at times.  I didn’t find myself having that issue with The Raven Boys.  The story was so captivating that I was hooked from the very start.

The characters in The Raven Boys are some of the quirkiest characters I have ever read about and I mean that in the best possible way.  Blue and her family are psychics.  Well, technically Blue’s family is full of psychics, she just has this weird power to amplify all their supernatural energy.  Growing up in her family made Blue far from normal and she loved to seek out other things and people that were not exactly normal.  I loved that about her.  Her family cracked me up.  Maura was a very chill mom but she definitely looked out for her daughter.  Calla was volatile but fun.  Persephone was just plain odd.  As for Neeve, she was a mystery.  To be honest, all of Blue’s family was a bit of a mystery.

As for the Raven Boys, I honestly don’t know which one I love the most.  Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah were all such intricate, amazing characters.  Gansey was a little entitled but he meant well most of the time.  Ronan was a badass but I loved him.  He definitely had some attitude problems but he intrigued me from the start.  Adam was such a sweetheart and my heart broke for him.  Noah was a bit of a mystery but he was such a cutie.  They were a group of guys I never would have expected to be friends but they all worked together.

The story was so intricate and I never had a clue what was going to happen next.  There is mythology mixed in and magic and romance and so many awesome things I couldn’t help but love.  The Welsh mythology about Owen Glendower was something I knew nothing about and while there wasn’t a whole lot of information about it, it added just another great layer to the story.

Overall, The Raven Boys deserves every bit of hype that it has gotten so far.  I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to read it but I’m also sad that I don’t have all the books in the series to devour in one epic binge-reading session.

What others are saying about The Raven Boys:

Writer of Wrongs’ review: “Characters is how Stiefvater won me over, and characters is how she earned my heart, and Gansey characters is why I neeeeeed the sequel nowwwwww.”

Oh, The Books!’ review: “As if the plot wasn’t enough to keep me going, this book has some great characters.”

The Great Noveling Adventure’s review: “Though Raven Boys seems to be marketed toward the plotline about Blue and the fate of her true love, it’s the quest and characters that carry the story.”

Friday, December 26, 2014

Sinner (Wolves of Mercy Falls #4) by Maggie Stiefvater | Review

Sinner (Wolves of Mercy Falls #4) by Maggie Stiefvater | ReviewSinner by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: Wolves of Mercy Falls #4
Published by Scholastic on July 1, 2014
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 357
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
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5 Stars

A standalone companion book to the internationally bestselling Shiver Trilogy.

Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole's story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole's darkest secret -- his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel's life. Can this sinner be saved?

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I’m not usually excited when I hear that an author is continuing a series that has already ended.  That was not the case with Maggie Stiefvater and Sinner.  Sinner is a standalone companion novel to the Wolves of Mercy Falls series featuring everyone’s favorite bad boy, Cole St. Clair.  Who wouldn’t want to read this?

This truly is a companion novel to the Wolves of Mercy Falls series.  Cole is the focus of Sinner and it’s not set in Mercy Falls.  Sure, you get a glimpse of some of the Mercy Falls characters (such as Sam and Grace) but they only play a minor role in the story.  Everything is all about Cole and Isabel this time around.  Since they were two of my favorites from the original series I was more than happy with this set up.

Cole is a self-destructive nightmare who decides it would be a good idea to sign up for a reality TV show that is known for pushing it’s stars over the edge.  He’s got a lot of people in his life who want to see him succeed but he still has a lot of people who want to see him fail.  Honestly, it’s hard to tell which side of the spectrum Cole himself is on.  Cole’s life has always been messed up and adding the whole wolf bit in only pushed him further.  There are times when you can see that he’s trying to change but it’s not often.  He’s still got this inner bad boy who just wants to screw things up.  That includes his relationship with Isabel.

Isabel is a strong female character, just like all of Maggie Steievater’s female characters.  Isabel was always one of my favorites from the Wolves of Mercy Falls series because she was strong with sacrificing her vulnerability.  Her past seriously messed her up but it made her into a fabulous woman.  She and Cole had many issues they had to work through in Sinner but I loved seeing how they had both matured and wanted to work through these issues.  Although, not always.  They definitely still had some communication problems at times.

Reading from both Cole’s and Isabel’s points-of-view allow readers to see how alike the two characters are.  They are both a little volatile, very outspoken, completely messed up, and quite honestly, in love with each other.  To truly appreciate their relationship though you do need to have read the previous three Wolves of Mercy Falls books.  Otherwise it might seem a little bit too fast.

The writing is typical Maggie Stiefvater and by that I mean amazing.  Even if her stories completely sucked (which they totally don’t) her writing would keep bringing me back anyway.  Since the story itself isn’t all that action packed, the writing helped make up for it.

Overall, Sinner is the exception to the rule of continuing finished series.  I love how Maggie Stiefvater ended Cole and Isabel’s story.  I am a completely satisfied reader and I think other fans of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series will be too.

What others are saying about Sinner:

Not Yet Read’s review: “We’re all a little bit broken and this novel lets you see those beautifully broken bits about the characters and how they strive towards mending themselves and how more often than not you need to allow others in to help with the mending.”

The Cait Files’ review: “Cole and Isabel are electric and the story evoked nostalgia and a whole host of emotion.”

Alexa Loves Books’ review: “Sinner was all I could have asked for, and then some.”