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Book Review: Between the Blade and the Heart (Valkyrie #1) by Amanda Hocking

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Fantasy

Plot:

When the fate of the world is at stake
Loyalties will be tested

Game of Thrones meets Blade Runner in this commanding new YA fantasy inspired by Norse Mythology from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.

As one of Odin’s Valkyries, Malin’s greatest responsibility is to slay immortals and return them to the underworld. But when she unearths a secret that could unravel the balance of all she knows, Malin must decide where her loyalties lie and if helping the blue-eyed boy Asher enact his revenge is worth the risk—to the world and her heart.

Opinion:

A slaying female heroine, naughty immortals hell-bent (haha, pun) on staying alive, and long walks into the underworld. Suh-Woon.

Kind of.

A Valkyrie has the sole duty of returning immortals to the afterlife once their lives are up. As one of the feared and sometimes hated Valkyrie, Malin dedicates her life to her job. When given a target, Malin knows not to ask questions and to complete her task as quick and efficiently as possible; when your time is up, your time is up. As Malin trains alongside her mother and learns her ways, she proves that she is almost ready to go out on her own. But when a boy named Asher attacks Malin in her apartment, she learns that her mother may have let one of her targets go in the past…and the repercussions involve the death of an innocent and the fate of their existence.

Sounds like a killer fantasy tale of badass female fighters and demons, right? Well, it is. It’s packed with action, has an INCREDIBLY strong female lead, a little romance, a little betrayal, and the ever-loving descent into the underworld. Though the author, Amanda Hocking, has laced this book with everything I love in a story, I still wasn’t completely blown away. I was intrigued with the direction that it took, and it successfully pulled me in. I just didn’t feel like I HAD to keep reading it. It didn’t seem to flow as easily and naturally as the other works from Amanda, and it left me a little disappointed.

Do not let that discourage you, because I am still giving this book a semi-positive review. I can honestly report that I did find enjoyment out of Between the Blade and the Heart, and I am still impressed with the idea and plot. I think my main concern was that I felt a lack of connection to the story and the characters. Malin is a fierce and insanely awesome main character, but I don’t feel like I know her as well as I would have liked. For me, the character and world development didn’t translate properly into something relatable. Obviously, it’s hard to do that in a Fantasy story about creatures that don’t exist. But making the reader feel like they could fall into this world with just a touch to the page is what makes a Fantasy story relatable, and I just wasn’t feeling it with this one.

I think my final opinion on Between the Blade and the Heart is “Eh okay, good…but not my favorite”. Since this is a series, I probably won’t go on to read book 2. BUT, there have been many a series to turn my opinions around in the second installment, so I will have to wait and see. Honestly guys, Amanda Hocking is one of my favorite authors, so I am a bit bummed out to be writing a not so stellar review for one of her works. I know this story really worked for a lot of other readers, but it just wasn’t all the way there for me.

2-5-stars

 

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Book Review: The Healer (The Healer Book 1) by C.J. Anaya

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Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book by the author, C.J. Anaya, for an honest review

Genre: Fiction/Romance/YA/Fantasy

Plot: Hope hides a dangerous secret; a gift powerful enough to heal the breach between the living and the dead. With two warring gods vying for her love, and a fallen deity determined to take her for his own evil purposes, she must either accept her destiny or take matters into her own hands.

Embark upon a journey of heart-stopping adventure in this young adult romantic fantasy filled with supernatural creatures, ancient prophecies, immortal gods, and divine magical healing powers. This romantic coming of age series is filled with love, loss, and second chances while blending together urban fantasy, adventure, traditional myths and legends, and paranormal themes to create a thrilling story readers are sure to enjoy.

Opinion:

Here it is my loves, the first of many YA/Fantasy/Romance stories of 2018!

The Healer, a young girl with the ability to…What?! Heal?!? NO! Plus, two what vying for her love?? GODS?!? We might as well call this a “Heaven Sandwich”, with extra healer jelly filling just OOZING with tummy butterflies and heartbreak!

Oh, my word…it’s positively swoon worthy already! *insert dainty hand to forehead movement*

When Hope was just seven years old, she learned of her ability to heal people. By connecting with someone’s life force, Hope is able to command and feed instructions to a body’s cells in order to repair it. But Hopes miraculous ability could put her in danger, so it is her duty to keep anyone from finding out what she can do. Now ten years later, two new guys show up at her Northern California high school, and everything changes. Somehow they know what Hope can do, and to make matters worse, someone is throwing fireballs at her and trying to kill her. But with the help of these mysterious boys, Tie and Victor, Hope will realize that there is much more to her life than just an ability to heal.

Woooo! Guys, this series is turning out to be a wild one. I am hooked and I may have already started book 3, because I can’t help but devour these books! Okay, let’s begin with the basics. Our shining star of a female role in this series is Hope, and she has the ability to heal someone by connecting with their life force…or spirt/soul/inner alien (whatever you want to call it). Hope and her father have kept her secret quiet for 10 long years, but that suddenly changes. A new student arrives at Hope’s high school named Tie, and Hope feels an instant connection to him. To make things even weirder, Tie begins hinting at knowing about hope’s healing abilities. RED ALERT! Then, not an hour later, ANOTHER new guy shows up at her high school. His name is Victor, and he ALSO seems to know about Hope’s ability.

But wait guys, it gets even better!

These two handsome and mysterious boys turn out to be gods who have been searching for Hope for HUNDREDS of years, and have come to keep her safe from a fallen deity who wants her dead. You see…there’s this prophecy…

I really can’t go on much further without spilling the entire book to you guys, which is SO hard not to do. But I will give you a little more insight into the characters and what to expect.

There is a lot of great things happening in this story, and the author keeps the reader hooked throughout. I read this in one sitting, and immediately jumped to book 2! I am glad the author created such a strong and caring female lead for this story. Hope feels a bit older than her years, but she has the right amount of youth and inexperience in life to make her character feel believable. Her best friend Angie had me DYING and laughing my ass off. She is such an instigator and puts Hope in some very amusing situations, with only the best intentions. C.J. Anaya really did do a great job of putting some comical aspects in this book, and I found myself literally laughing out loud throughout.

I didn’t get to know the characters of Tie and Victor that well in book 1, but the reader REALLY gets to know them in the following books. Tie is the “bad boy” of our story, while Victor seems to be slightly more mature and kind. Honestly, Victor sounds a little boring in this book…and he is. BUT, the reader will really get to know these guys in the books following. Trust me when I say, these guys have a LOT happening with them.

Though The Healer did feel a little cheesy to me at times, I can ensure you that by book 2 the cheesiness has gone. Don’t get me wrong, it’s written well and developed thoughtfully. It just definitely has those “YA high school” undertones in it. What is interesting to me is that the main part of this story takes place in just 1 or 2 days. This sounds like it might be a little daunting, but the author really made it work. I didn’t feel like anything was rushed over or left unexplained, and there was still so much happening. She made it work!

The ending is going to leave you on a sad note, but also a hopeful one. I suggest getting the entire series at once, and preparing yourself to have a weekend of doing nothing but reading. I am currently on book 3 (I know, I’m behind on my reviews) and I am showing NO signs of slowing down. I don’t want to get to the final book, but I need it in my life. GO GET THIS SERIES! It is something a little different from the normal YA/Fantasy stories out there, and if you’re like me, you are always looking for something different.

4-stars

 

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Book Review: Shatter (Glitter Book 2) by Aprilynne Pike

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Shatter (Glitter Book 2) by Aprilynne Pike will be available for purchase on February 13, 2018.

Pre-order a copy through the links below:

Amazon.com: Shatter (Glitter Book 2) by Aprilynne Pike


Barnesandnoble.com: Shatter (Glitter Book 2) by Aprilynne Pike

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Random House Children’s, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Science-Fiction

Plot: Danica planned to use beauty, blackmail, and a glittering drug to control her own fate. Her escape from the twisted world of the Palace of Versailles was perfectly orchestrated and paid for. Or so she thought.

Betrayed by the man who had promised her freedom, Dani is now married to the murderous king. It’s a terrifying position to be in . . . and yet it’s oddly intoxicating. Power may be an even stronger drug than Glitter–a drug Dani can’t resist, in the form of secrets, manipulation, and sabotage.

In her new position at the head of the court, Dani must ask herself who she really is. Can she use her newfound power to secure her real love, Saber’s freedom, and a chance at a life together outside the palace? Or is being queen too addictive to give up?

Opinion:

OoOoOo can you guys hear that?

It sounds almost like…like…ravenous courtiers inebriated on Glitter rouge and lipstick. Or maybe it’s the whimsical musings of backstabbing, and one or two dead bodies? Perhaps robots? Or even more likely, crushed dreams of freedom and public displays of forced affection and bliss?

One thing is for sure, some s**t just hit an eight-tier chandelier at the Palace of Versailles.

As Danica’s plans to escape the Palace of Versailles slips from her gloved fingertips, the realization of her new life sets in: she is to marry Justin and become Queen. Danica knows that there is no other way for her now, and so she begrudgingly takes the role. As she begins to gain control of her court, the demand for her beauty products known as Glitter are at an all time high. Danica begins to throw herself into her duties, but losing herself along the way is just part of the process. In Shatter, Danica searches desperately for another way to leave Versailles and for a way to free Saber from his slavery. But Danica is getting in deeper than she expected, and the role of being Queen is a drug all on its own. Time is running out, but the Glitter isn’t.

WHAT. A. WHIRLWIND!!!

I want nothing more than to jump into this world that Aprilynne Pike has created! As I had said in my review for book 1 (Glitter), Shatter takes place in Sonoman-Versailles at the Palace of Versailles. Sonoman-Versailles reflects the fashions and dialect of that of the 18th-Century, but the technology they possess surpasses present time. Danica resides in the Queens quarters, which is the exact quarters that Marie Antoinette resided in during her time. But for Danica, being Queen is the last thing she wants. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what she gets. After Reginald refuses to help her flee, Danica is forced to marry Justin. Now stuck with the task of trying to navigate her new roles, she is also forced to sit back as Reginald takes control of her Glitter business.

Danica is a WHOLE new person in this book. She has transitioned into something truly amazing yet terrifying, and I am OBSESSED with it. In Shatter Danica is still doing everything she can to find a way for her and Saber to escape, but the role as Queen starts to drastically change her. The reader follows Danica as she makes RUTHLESS decisions and power-plays against the King, Reginald, and even a few members of the court. The King even goes so far as to say that he and Danica are alike, which honestly is NOT an exaggeration. She has blossomed into a calculating and manipulative character, but really…can we blame her? She is surrounded by horrible people, and all she wants is to be free. Bottom line, the girl is a savage and I commend her for it.

None of this is funny,’ I say, straightening my arm with my finger on the trigger. ‘No, of course not,’ he says, sobering. I shoot him in the leg.”

As for our other characters, Saber is still kind of lame and Justin is still an ass. Saber has become a minor role next to Danica, and especially now that she is Queen and being a badass. But with that considered, he still isn’t much of a character to be cared about in my opinion. In Shatter Saber had one role: try to be the voice of reason for Danica as she makes some SERIOUSLY CRAZY moves. But that’s about all he was there for. I honestly wouldn’t have noticed if he just disappeared halfway through the book, and frankly, I would have preferred it.

JUSTIN…still sucks in book 2. Although, you can’t say the guy is bland! He is such an arrogant piece of work, always playing mind games with Danica and acting like a spoiled brat. But, I kind of…like it?

Okay, I love him.

I can’t help it; the guy is downright horrible, and I’m so overly entertained by it. The more ruthless and snobbish he is, the more I hope for encounters with him. The banter between Justin and Danica is PURE gold. The author has created an intricate dance that these two participate in when they converse. They speak in carefully constricted sentences, and the only goal is to manipulate and play the other until one of them comes out champion. I LIVE FOR THIS! Though the end of Justin and Danica is to be expected by the end of this book, I am a little saddened by the way things turned out. For some reason, I just wanted Justin to prevail.

All in all, I think book 2 followed up book 1 nicely. There was A LOT more going on, and there even a few more twists and turns that the reader won’t expect. If you haven’t had the chance to get your hands on book 1 (Glitter) yet, then I SERIOUSLY suggest that you do. These books are hidden little gems and I haven’t seen much buzz about either, WHICH I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND. There is so much happening in these books that it is impossible to lose interest. Death, manipulation, royalty, 18th century fashion, and a ton of sarcasm and wit. Trust me guys, you will LOVE Glitter and Shatter.

4-stars

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Book Review: Glitter by Aprilynne Pike

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Genre: YA/Fantasy/Science-Fiction

Plot: Outside the palace of Versailles, it’s modern day. Inside, the people dress, eat, and act like it’s the eighteenth century—with the added bonus of technology to make court life lavish, privileged, and frivolous. The palace has every indulgence, but for one pretty young thing, it’s about to become a very beautiful prison.

When Danica witnesses an act of murder by the young king, her mother makes a cruel power play . . . blackmailing the king into making Dani his queen. When she turns eighteen, Dani will marry the most ruthless and dangerous man of the court. She has six months to escape her terrifying destiny.

Six months to raise enough money to disappear into the real world beyond the palace gates.
Her ticket out? Glitter. A drug so powerful that a tiny pinch mixed into a pot of rouge or lip gloss can make the wearer hopelessly addicted. Addicted to a drug Dani can sell for more money than she ever dreamed.

But in Versailles, secrets are impossible to keep. And the most dangerous secret—falling for a drug dealer outside the palace walls—is one risk she has to take.

Opinion:

Picture it my darlings: The palace of Versailles, gold trimmed everything, corsets and coattails, jewels upon diamonds, frivolous spending, a cutthroat society and cakes that would make THE Marie Antoinette weep with longing! *Sigh* cinched waists, social climbing and overly-priced deaths?! What more could we ask for!

Now if that doesn’t make you twiddle your fingers with delight, then maybe this will! This little gem is set in modern times, but the inhabitants of the palace of Versailles keep tradition. Their fashions, politics, and dialect haven’t changed a bit…except they make have toned the French down a bit in exchange for English. This, my dear readers, is something like you have NEVER read before.

Danica Grayson is trying to buy her way out of Versailles, in the hopes that she won’t be forced to become Queen. Though becoming Queen is a dream for most of the Lady’s residing in Versailles, for Danica, it’s her biggest nightmare. After Danica accidentally witnesses the King murder a young women, her mother blackmails the King into making Danica his betrothed.  Now with only months to escape the palace, Danica must find a way to raise 5 million Euros to buy her way out forever. But how? After discovering that her father has a nasty addiction to a street drug that comes in the form of patches, Danica comes up with a brilliant idea and gets herself in touch with his supplier. The drug is called Glitter, and Danica plans to sell it to everyone in the palace of Versailles, in a new cosmetics line. With this highly addictive drug made into shimmering face creams and lip balms, the extravagant women of Versailles begin to spend everything they have in order to be in trend with the fashions and get their fix. But the King is smarter than he looks, and Danica is about to realize that the game she is playing make cost a life or two. She must decide if it really is worth it, to leave the palace of Versailles forever.

“With both of us in our finery and my arm on his, we appear to be a blissful couple headed off to a night of feverish revels—not a jailer escorting his prisoner to her cell in the first blush of sunrise.

THIS BOOK. IS. AMAZING.

Though this is placed in the palace of Versailles, and has some SERIOUS Marie Antionette-ness all over it, this story is truly something new and exciting. I found myself becoming truly enraptured with the world that Aprilynne Pike submerges the reader in, a world that holds both past and present times. Danica lives in Sonoman-Versailles, where the fashions and lingo mirror that of 18th-century France. But outside of Sonoman-Versailles, the world is very much like the one we live in. People where jeans and hoodies, they have cell phones, and they certainly do NOT have Kings and Queens. The meshing of these two worlds is truly something else, but I enjoyed that most of this story takes place in the palace. The fashions and politics displayed in Versailles are done beautifully by the author, and she even ensures to give the characters a very proper and distinct way of speaking to differentiate them from the rest of the world. I fell in love with the world that Danica was living in, even the horrors of it.

“Not something a gentlemen of breeding would ever do. Strangle a woman half his size during their amorous tryst? Yes. Crush her dress in public? Never.”

Danica was VERY interesting for me, because I still feel as if I don’t quite know her. At first her character seemed much smarter than all the riffraff that inhabits the palace, but at other times she seems just as ignorant. One moment I find her having a very mature and educated outlook on the world, and the next moment she is just as materialistic as the rest of women sauntering around the palace. That aside, I can’t help but adore her ferocity. This girl can be downright cold and calculated, and I…absolutely LOVE her for it. She can make cutthroat decisions and live with them, even if they tear her up a little inside. Though when it comes to a certain death, I am baffled at how tame her reaction is. I was expecting her character to have more human feeling than just crying a bit and moving on! She’s supposed to be the good one!

This story is ripping at the seams with manipulation and calculated moves. There are so many ruthless and deviant players that are working against Danica, even herself. The women of the palace are just as you would expect them to be, crawling over each other for the smallest crumb of extra acknowledgement or a chance at a higher social standing. But the biggest player of them all in this tale, is the king. The reader finds out early on that Justin (the king) is an atrocious and vile young man. He is arrogant, selfish, and is not above murder and scandal. His character DOES have a few moments of being…less horrible, which I find myself FASCINATED with! I have a hunch that he might turn a new leaf, maybe become somewhat less of an ass? Maybe not. But the fact that Danica is noticing these small moments as well makes you wonder…

“When one is dining with the devil himself,” I mutter, “a vast amount of preparation is in order.”

Glitter is one of those stories that entices you with a gorgeous cover and begs to be read. It snatches your attention and refuses to let it go, leaving you craving more and more…just like Danica’s cosmetics. I HIGHLY recommend that you guys purchase this book TODAY! Not only did it pull me out of my reading slump, it left me with a bit of a book hangover (which I am okay with). Gowns, games and glitter! You don’t need much else!

4-5-stars

 

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Book Review: Amber Sky (C.O.I.L.S Of Copper and Brass Book 1) by Claire Warner

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Amazon.com – Amber Sky (C.O.I.L.S Of Copper and Brass Book 1) by Claire Warner

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Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Raven Press, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Science-Fiction/Dystopian/Steampunk

Plot: “You thought I did this out of the goodness of my heart?” He gave a short mirthless laugh. “Not a bit of it, this is going to be dangerous for me. What are you offering for my help?”

Beneath the Amber Sky, the nobility control the food, education, and the mysterious C.O.I.L.S of Copper and Brass. To Tay, struggling to keep her siblings alive, the ideas of rebellion and freedom are distant and unreachable.

But when her father is arrested, she begs Darius James, the son of the Overseer, to save his life. Darius agrees, but his help costs her a favour, one he can call in at any time.

Darius’ favour will bring her to the Palace, and the perfect position to help the growing rebellion. But the court has games beyond anything she has seen before, and Darius’ secrets will add to the danger.

Tay is now able to make a difference, to join the rebellion, find the C.O.I.L.S and discover the secrets of the Amber Sky. All she has to do is survive.

Opinion:

It’s official, I’ve begun my descent into madness and true unyielding despair.

Once again, I have made the mistake of requesting the first book in a series from Netgalley. I told myself I wouldn’t do it again, that I wouldn’t put myself through this immense torture. This bleak fantasy of happiness that only leaves me alone, irritable and sulky. But look at me now…Look at me! On the floor of all places, sobbing, flailing and screaming. Like a fish that was knocked out of its tiny fish bowl…or maybe it jumped out of sheer desperation to be away from those ridiculous plastic castles that have absolutely NO practical use.

Anyways, due to my idiocy in requesting to read this book, I am now left suffering in silence while I wait for book 2. Because holy s***, this series is going to be SO GREAT that it might kill me…with joy!

Set in a Dystopian/Steampunk world, Tay and her family are at the bottom of the totem pole. She is forced to abide by the laws put forth by the noble families; which include strict limitations on food, education, and job placements. But as the rebels fight to make a change, her father ends up getting arrested and being sent to the mines. Knowing that death is just a matter of time in the mines, Tay finds a noble by the name of Darius and pleads for his help. Surprisingly, Darius agrees to help Tay in exchange for a favor…a favor he will not tell her. Hesitantly she agrees, and from that moment on, her life is forever changed. The following days bring her into the homes of Noble families and eventually into the Palace, where she is forced by Darius to pretend to be his sister. But among these Nobles, nobody is safe. If any talk of rebellion is whispered, someone who sat next to you at dinner might just disappear. Tay fights to hide her true identity in order to help her father, while also assisting the rebellion in any way that she can.

Claire Warner did an AMAZING job with this story, and I am bouncing my leg nervously waiting for the next installment. For some reason I am EXTRA excited to write this review, and I think you will see why. Firstly, the characters. They have the perfect amount of description surrounding them, and I felt an immediate connection to our main characters upon first “meeting” them. Tay is a strong-willed and brave female character. The reader can feel her fear as she is forced to do countless illegal things to protect her family, but she does it and does it well. I’m so fond of the way she took on the role of Darius’s sister, she was SUCH a bad***. Not only does she smooth talk the prince into letting her live, but she makes countless friends among the nobles that we can assume are really on the rebel side.

Darius is an interesting character, and I knew I was going to love him right away. It’s the sarcastic one’s guys…I can’t help myself! Upon our first meeting of him, he is pompous and arrogant. I was expecting him to deny Tay right on the spot, but he didn’t! He agrees to help her father be transferred, but requests a favor in return that is less than easy. I found the character of Darius to be an entertaining and caring person, he isn’t at all what the reader expects him to be. ALSO, I think we can all agree that we saw that romance coming. I mean…come on…*Ding Ding* wedding bells! Though I end up favoring his character, I can’t help but feel a bit of sorrow for Tay. She is used and made a pawn in countless games, and it all feels a bit ruthless.

Apart from the characters, this story is KILLER! It’s packed with princesses and royalty, wedding gowns and dances, and even a few explosions and attempted murders. What more could we ask for?! Tay is swept into a world that she had only heard rumors about, and I must say…the girl does a wonderful job of faking it. Though things seem fancy and copacetic between the nobles, underneath it all…they are all on guard. If anyone even mutters a word or rebellion or coils, they suddenly disappear or lose their rank. These people aren’t screwing around guys, it’s serious stuff! My ONLY complaint is that I had some trouble keeping up with this “C.O.I.L.S.” explanation. I think the author could have delved a bit deeper into this, but I’m wondering if that is being saved for book 2? Hopefully. We know that the coils will be the key to the rebels taking control, but WHAT do they do exactly? It’s all very hush hush, and I need more.

To conclude, guys…you need to read this! I LOVED it. I know it sucks having to wait for the next few books and you sometimes forget what happens, but that’s just more reason to read it over again. It’s THAT good. It will keep you hooked and entertained, and you will lose yourself in this fantasy/dystopian world. Trust me, have I ever let you down?

(Don’t answer that)

4-5-stars

 

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Book Review: Sowing (The Purification Era Book 1) by Angie Grigaliunas

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Amazon.com – Sowing (The Purification Era) (Volume 1) by Angie Grigaliunas


Barnesandnoble.com – Sowing (The Purification Era) (Volume 1) by Angie Grigaliunas

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author, Angie Grigaliunas, for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Science-Fiction

Plot: For Ariliah, life under the militarized Hulcondans is one of order and safety. Despite the soldiers’ ruthless policies, she trusts their judgment. Beyond the city wall, enemies lurk – a vicious race bent on devouring humanity. And if anything ever happened to the protectors, nothing would keep them out.

For her older sister, Rabreah, every glance from a Hulcondan is a threat. When even a whisper against them is treason and treason is death, Rabreah can’t risk one seeing through her as she sees through them. Joining an underground resistance to end their corruption seems like her only hope – until she meets the group’s enigmatic leader and realizes she doesn’t know the people she’s aligned herself with at all.

But when rebellious posters appear throughout the city and people start dying, their world begins to crumble.

And as the line between friend and enemy blurs, both girls must face the truth: everything is about to change.

Opinion:

The nerd in me is losing its s**t right now.

I don’t think you guys understand the painstaking dilemma that is like a raging tsunami building up inside me right now. How am I supposed to go on after this?! There is supposed to be EIGHT books in this series, and I don’t even know if I can wait for book TWO! I’M GOING TO LOSE IT!

I don’t think I can go on…*sigh*.

The Itzalin are a race of creatures hell-bent on destroying humans, but for years they have been kept at bay by the Hulcondans. Though Rabreah knows that her city would be destroyed with the Hulcondans, she finds disgust in watching the soldiers do whatever they please. She has witnessed them spread lies about women in order to ruin their name, and has herself been the victim of it. To Rabreah, the Hulcondans are a corrupt group that need to be taken down. But disobeying or speaking ill of them can lead to one’s death, so Rabreah must be careful. Not only does Rabreah seek freedom for herself and the young girls that are forced to marry these soldiers, but for her younger sister, Ariliah, who suffers daily abuse from their mother. But in Ariliah’s eyes, the Hulcondans keep them safe and deserve respect for what they do. As rebel posters begin being posted around the city and terrorists are brought forward, neither girl knows if they are safe anymore.

I started out 2017 with the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, which I know, was probably the stupidest idea ever. I mean the series is UH-mazing. Everything else just…only slightly had the ability to trickle awe and intrigue down my throat and into my pit of happiness and sheer excitement which I assume is somewhere…in my…body? I don’t know. Anyways. What I’m trying to spew out of my mumbling fingers onto this keyboard is this: We’re on some next level stuff right here ladies and gents.

Angie Grigaliunas has just ruined my life. Did I sleep last night? No. Can I think about anything else besides Sorek, Ariliah, Rabreah, and Lord Masrekah? Um…no. I’m at work right now guys, I’M NOT EVEN WORKING! I think I need rehab. Or maybe an insane asylum, since my life is now revolving around a fictional world and people that aren’t there. Sowing was SO GREAT! Incredible, amazing, and actually different! I read through this book like my life depended on it, and I need to read MORE. I can’t find ONE bad thing to say about this story, not one. The writing is detailed and even-paced, the characters are wonderfully developed and all possess a different quirk, and the plot is OUT OF THIS WORLD.

This author has done a wonderful job of tearing my opinion into two different directions. This story flips back and forth between Rabreah and Ariliah, who prove to be VERY different people. Rabreah has SERIOUS trust issues around the Hulcondans, or even men for that matter. If you look at this girl wrong, she’s like a wild shark on land that just got a whiff of blood. Needless to say, the girl has NO problem taking care of herself. Ariliah starts out being very different. She obeys her superiors, keeps her head down, and doesn’t speak very much to anyone except her sister. She views the Hulcondans as her saviors and people she can trust, and is fascinated with the idea of one day marrying one. As Rabreah makes her way into joining the rebel group, it is unknown to Ariliah. I am really starting to wonder how Ariliah will take that news…and which side she will choose. Especially since a certain Hulcondan soldier is showing interest in her. I am torn between the opinion that both of these characters have. Some of the Hulcondan are seriously messed up people, but some seem to be genuine and actually care.

We have to talk about Sorek. Ladies…you can let go of those fictional boyfriends of yours from other books now. They do NOT compare to the arrogance and complete pain in the ass that is Sorek. I mean, this guy has it all. He’s a complete badass when it comes to being a warrior, and he puts the sarcasm level through the roof. Even I was thinking to myself “Geez man, tone it down”. Sorek becomes a big part in this story, and I don’t want to give his role away and spoil it for you guys. There is OBVIOUSLY going to be a hot little romance between Sorek and Rabreah, once Rabreah stops thinking every man wants to abuse her. Our little Ariliah also begins to find herself in the flirting midst with a Hulcondan, and I am praying that his ends well for her. I am SO glad that Angie Grigaliunas didn’t do that typical author thing when it comes to romances. Oh you know what I mean guys. Waiting until book 2 or 3 to let the reader see even smidge of love in the air. Ugh…how I loathe that.

Of course the reader is left with an amazingly RUTHLESS cliffhanger at the end of book one, and why not? I mean this author already stabbed my soul with bliss, why not drag the knife in a little deeper? Right? Right. But you know what is really interesting about this story? The author has decided to focus more on the plot and characters, and less on the overall setting. I know that sounds a little insane considering this falls into the Fantasy genre, but somehow…this author has made it WORK.  I honestly don’t think I can tell you much about the city and the exact point in time we are looking at here, but it is all a little guess work. I like the fact that she doesn’t start explaining simple things like this until WAY later in the story, which is something I have never come across before.

Basically guys, you need to get this book. Seriously. GO BUY THIS RIGHT NOW. If you loved Throne of Glass, then this is EXACTLY the next series that you need to get addicted to. Though I don’t know how I will, I will somehow find a way to patiently wait until the next books are released. This series is going to be EPIC, and I am so happy to have found it so early on. Mark my words guys, The Purification Era books are going to BLOW UP. You better be on the train when it does.

5-stars

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Book Review: King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen Book 3)

Kings

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Genre: YA/Adult/Fiction/Fantasy

Plot: In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

Opinion: We’ve made it to Book 3 guys, and s**t just got real…kind of. This installment of the Red Queen series has action, misfortune, and a little bit of that romance. King’s Cage is upping the ruthlessness and deceit, and fans of Maven are finally going to get another taste of who he is and what he can do. Books 1 and 2 are just kindling compared to the real war that comes about in book 3. For those who are loving the battles that consume this story, this one is for you.

Assuming that you guys have been reading along, let’s start where book 2 has left off…shall we? For those of you who haven’t read the series yet, I will do my best to keep the spoilers to a minimum. Except for this paragraph, sorry. So, Mare is imprisoned and her hopes of escaping are pretty slim wouldn’t you say? Finally her character makes a little sacrifice for others instead of thinking about herself! I think we can all agree that we saw this coming, because this seems to happen in every YA/Fantasy story doesn’t it? Self-sacrificing one’s self has become QUITE the fad! I think what was really unclear when Mare gave herself up to Maven, was what Maven was going to do with her. This guys is the EPITOME of unpredictable, and I still don’t feel like I have a grasp on his character. Whether this is intentional or accidental by the author, I don’t care. I love it.

As the first half of this book is dedicated to Mare’s imprisonment, we get a fairly suitable glimpse into her time under Mavens watch. She is locked away in a surprisingly comfortable room, fed some very un-prison-like food, and obviously but confusingly…kept alive. Though we have witnessed Mavens unusual obsession with Mare, it still seems so stupid of him to keep her alive as she is such a powerful weapon. Though in true Maven fashion, it all ends up being for a bigger purpose: to use Mare as a pawn for Maven to begin to collect newborns. Not only must mare cope with her abilities being blocked by her guards and constantly trying to find a way to escape, but now she is being forced to tell the public that she is against the scarlet guard and everything they stand for.

I have to tell you guys, I am loving how the author has introduced so many different levels on mind games into this story. From book 1 the main character is lied to and manipulated by everyone around her, and still it continues. The fact that this series can become quite dark and really question your faith in humanity, is brilliant. Though the constant pattern of characters throwing each other under the bus is apparent, in book 3 we finally get to see some characters switching sides and supporting the cause. For one character in particular, I did NOT see that coming.

For the romance seekers who have been waiting patiently for the face-impaling and heart-lurching whirlwind that is Mare and Cal, you are finally rewarded. Ahhh yes…those many months have ignited the fire in these two young characters, and has finally blown up like a box of dynamite on Fourth of July! Picture it guys: an intense eye-lock from across the way, the release of doves, a slow-motion gallop to each other’s arms, a passionate kiss…blahhh blahhh blahhh. I mean, it was okay. For being pretty disappointed in this relationship from the start of this series, I’m not really surprised that their reunion fell flat for me. Once again, I just didn’t buy it. The story between these two feels like one that I was told in a 3 minute summary, and I’m still pretty uninterested. Oh well.

So apart from the reunion of Mare and Cal and Mare’s imprisonment, the rest of this book focuses on the battle of the ages. Just like before, and probably much more, I was skipping over the fighting. Like I said in my previous reviews for this series, I love a great action/battle scene in a Fantasy story. They get me amped up and hooked to the point where I can’t put the book down. However, I keep losing interest when it comes to the action scenes in the Red Queen series. There is too much fluff in it, and not enough of the author getting straight to the point. I feel like there should be more detail, not more of saying the same thing in three different sentences. I skimmed through the last part of the book, and stopped at the very end to see how everything got wrapped up.

In regards to the ending, saw that one coming didn’t we? It is obviously another cliff-hanger for what is to come, but it ends on a pretty emotional note. Or…what is supposed to be an emotional note. Again, I am left feeling nothing from it. I just CANNOT connect with Mare or really any of these characters. It’s driving me crazy! I am honestly not even sure if I will continue on with this series at this point, and I don’t think I will even miss out on much. With that said, I saw some improvements in the story and writing but it just isn’t enough for me. When I see a positive and get excited about one small aspect of the story, two things are thrown at me that I can’t stand. Unfortunately, I think this is where I end the Red Queen series. Good luck readers.

3-stars

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