Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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Title: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Publication date: February 10, 2015

Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: Mare Barrow is a Red, which means she’s a servant of the Silver’s who run her society. Her whole life she has been nothing more than a thief until a chance encounter lands her with what seems like a great gig in the Silver palace. One problem, some very suspect abilities land her on the proverbial chopping block. Now, she has to do whatever she can to keep her head attached to her shoulders, even if it means betraying someone she loves.


I’ve been waiting for this book to hit shelves for months. MONTHS. It was really hyped up and I wasn’t sure if it was going to actually live up to it. Early reviews were mixed and I wanted to like this so much that I was very nervous to start reading it. I ended up absolutely loving this book. Personally, I had a hard time getting past the first few chapters, but once I did I was absolutely hooked and couldn’t put this book down.  The marketing for this book was Graceling meets The Selection, and if you are banking on that I’d throw those thoughts out the window. “Red Queen,” is not like either of those books, in fact, I think the only thing it has in common with The Selection is the fact that there is a marriage situation going on that is semi-similar if you squint your eyes and look really closely. There are some major ? moments in the book, but there were also some really strong moments. Mostly, I left feeling some mixed emotions. 

What I liked: I know some people have talked about the slowness of the book, but I honestly loved that I got to interact and understand  the world before we really jumped into the action. This book is fraught with political perils and enough life-threatening danger to make it heart-wrenchingly intense. I chose to engage with this plot from the viewpoint of it’s discussion of family dynamics. Maybe I’m the only one who sees that, but the connection that Mare has with her family is what I saw to be at the core of this book, not the love rectangle which I had SEVERE issues. Every twist and turn eventually leads Mare back to the people that matter to her the most, and it was refreshing to see this play out against the backdrop of both a revolution and a romance. This was the real sparkling point of this book for me. I only wish that we’d seen more of Mare’s actual family rather than her interactions with the royal family. 

What I didn’t like: Honestly, I was not feeling the romance. I wanted to be more invested in it, but I didn’t feel like it was developed enough in this first installment to cause too much investment. Also, I felt the “major betrayal” coming a mile away. While I enjoyed the books there were certainty moments where I felt it was a tad on the trite side. I’m hoping to see a little more depth in book two.

Overall, this was a great read. For me, it certainty lived up to the hype and after a slow start I found myself totally engaged. I enjoyed the plot and the action and cannot wait for the next installment. Though I felt the romance was a tad weak, the action was high, and the prose was lovely 3/5

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Release Day and Giveaway: The Hidden Library by Heather Lyons

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We are dying to jump back down the rabbit hole with Heather Lyons’ THE HIDDEN LIBRARY! THE HIDDEN LIBRARY is an Adult Romantic Fairy Tale, full of adventure and fantasy and the second book in Heather’s The Collectors’ Society Series! Check out the latest fantastic installment in this series that brings you some of the classics with a twist.

 

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Excerpt:

We are about to open the conference room door and enter the hallway when he stops. He turns to me, his lovely eyes achingly sincere. “I want to take you on a date when all of this craziness is over. A real one. We’ve kind of gone about this all backwards, haven’t we?”

One corner of my mouth lifts up. “Are you saying you’d like to court me?”

There is no playfulness to his face, no quirk to his own lips. My heart flutters at his seriousness. “Yes.”

He wants to court me.

Too many emotions rush around in a caucus race throughout my body. I have no doubts of Huckleberry Finn Van Brunt’s feelings toward me. I understood them two minutes ago just as well as I did this morning when I woke up and from the night before and from the day in Wonderland where he said, in not so many words, that he was falling in love with me.

I told him he was my north star, and meant it. He countered we are binaries.

He and I . . . We’ve never said those words, though, not the ones that truly spell out fragile, deep secrets of a heart and soul. Words so easily and yet unfortunately uttered by many, be it to express their appreciation of fried bits of potatoes to sports teams on the television. Words offered so frivolously about a variety of subjects and yet can be the most difficult, most painful, most meaningful, most cherished syllables we gift another person.

I have said these words before, to another man. Another man I still love. One I know, in the deepest confines of my heart, that I will love until the last breath escapes my body. A man who courted me in secret and then publicly in the face of astonishment, disapproval, confusion, and, in the end, prophesies.

I have willingly given the man in front of me my heart, though, whether he knows it or not. He now holds it in his hands, and while I pray he is my future, there is still a part of me that bucks in conflicted confusion and delight by this declaration of his.

He wants to court me.

And yet, as sweet and romantic as such a gesture might be, I require no such formalities. My affections for Finn Van Brunt have already solidified into something real and wonderful and meaningful.

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ABOUT THE HIDDEN LIBRARY:

Sometimes, the rabbit hole is deeper than expected . . .

Alice Reeve and Finn Van Brunt have tumbled into a life of secrets. Some secrets they share, such as their employment by the clandestine organization known as The Collectors’ Society. Other secrets they carry within them, fighting to keep buried the things that could change everything they think they know.

On the hunt for an elusive villain who is hell-bent on destroying legacies, Alice, Finn, and the rest of the Society are desperate to unravel the mysteries surrounding them. But the farther they spiral down this rabbit hole, the deeper they fall into secrets that will test their loyalties and pit them against enemies both new and old.

Secrets, they come to find, can reveal the deadliest of truths.

 

 

Don’t miss the first book in this series, THE COLLECTORS’ SOCIETY!

The Collectors' Society front cover

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Author PhotoAbout Heather Lyons:

Heather Lyons writes epic, heartfelt love stories and has always had a thing for words. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. She and her husband and children live in sunny Southern California and are currently working their way through every cupcakery she can find.

 

 

 

 

Website | Author Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | THE HIDDEN LIBRARY Goodreads

 

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Review: The Third Twin by C.J. Omololu

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Title: The Third Twin by C.J. Omololu

Publication Date: February 24th, 2015

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Rating: 4/5 stars

This ARC was provided by Random House via NetGalley

Synopsis: Alexa (Lexi) and Ava Rios are twin who were adopted as infants. Like most twins, they could not be more different. Lexi is the responsible, straight-A student, set on going to Stanford, while Ava is wild and boy-crazy. Ava and Lexi have been making up their imaginary third triplet, Alicia, since they were little-girls. She’s a harmless accessory to their antics, a way to meet boys with no consequences. Only now, someone is killing all of Alicia’s dates and framing the girls for it (whoops). What was once fun is now deadly as Lexi and Ava begin to wonder whose following Alicia’s every move.

 


 

So if you pick this book up for the tagline “Pretty Little Liars meets Revenge” put away those assumptions. Sure, there are certain parts that are similar to Pretty Little Liars, but I’m not sure where they are getting the Revenge piece. This book was a great read and while it had similarities to Pretty Little Liars, I think comparing it too heavily does it a great disservice. I would say that if you are a fan of mystery thrillers with a little romance mixed in than you’ll probably enjoy this one. 

What I liked: Anyone whose read one of my reviews knows I love a good character driven story. I can’t really engage in a book unless I am also engaged with it’s characters. Lucky for me, I felt drawn to Lexi (whose POV the book is told from). She was smart and witty, but also insecure enough that some of the decisions she was making made total sense. Her need to please the people around her, especially her Dad was something I found to be realistic and engaging. The dynamic that she has with her sister Ava goes beyond the usual “twin” thing and I liked that Omololu specifically stated that they don’t have some kind of crazy psychic connection. Outside of Lexi, the plot is incredibly engaging. I could barely put it down because I needed to find out what happened next. I’m a big lover of thrillers and mystery genres and the pace of this one was perfect. You get to know the characters while still trying to work through the mystery. It was engaging without making every second of the plot centered around the “who done it.”

What I Didn’t Like: The ending. Hands down I was not a fan of it. The entire lead up did not make sense in the context in which the book ends. While I’m usually a fan of the twists and turns, I just felt like the twist here made little sense.

Overall, despite the ending, I really engaged with the book. The writing was flawless and Lexi captured my attention. It would be a 5/5 for me if only the ending made more sense, but it’s still a 4/5.

Review: The Hidden Library by Heather Lyons

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Title: The Hidden Library (The Collectors’ Society #2) by Heather Lyons

Publication Date: February 26, 2015

Buy Links: Amazon 

Rating: 5/5

* Note that this is and Adult title and has some sexy situations. Not suitable for the younger folk*

Synopsis: This book continues almost directly after the events of The Collectors’ Society. Finn is now in charge of The Society as his father convalesces from his attach. The gang continues to hunt for those who would destroy the worlds of their beloved stories; however, things don’t go smoothly and hijinx ensue. The ending leaves a huge cliffhanger.


In case you haven’t heard, I absolutely loved The Collectors’ Society it was my favorite book of 2014. I loved the characters, the plot, and Heather Lyon’s general voice. The second I found out the second book was coming out in February I was all over it. I mean really. I could not wait to get my hands on this and see where this story would be going. The Collectors’ Society was wrapped up quite nicely but the same could not be said about the sequel. It was just as amazing but it did not end nicely. I had to wait a week after finishing to actually write this review, because Lyons just destroyed my life. 

What I liked: Alice continues to be one of my absolute favorite book heroins. Not only is she a bad-ass but she is also decidedly feminine. I love the way Lyons develops her so that she doesn’t have to sacrifice being a woman in order to be a leader. It’s a rare thing to see in fiction these days and it’s part of what makes The Collectors’ Society so unique. In this book, we got to learn a lot more about Finn and what motivates him, especially when we begin to look into his past. Again, Lyons’ writes him with such depth that you can’t help but sympathize with him as he struggles to hold The Collectors’ Society together while trying to figure out how to show his feelings towards Alice. Without a doubt, I adored everything about this book, but the way Lyons’ explores and develops her characters is my favorite part of this story. 

What I didn’t like: The ending. Holy cow, thanks for ripping my heart out, piecing it back together, and then ending your story. Really, thank you.

Overall, this was an amazing book. The first installment was all about developing the plot and the central focuses of the story, but in this installment we really get to learn more about our characters. This second book is just as amazing as the first, definitely pick this up. 5/5

 

Throwback Thursday Review: Evertrue by Brodi Ashton

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Title: Evertrue by Brodi Ashton

Publication Date: January 21, 2014

Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: Once again Nikki is in deep Everneath crap because of Cole. Not only is she missing her heart, but turns out she needs to feed on him to survive to even begin her transition into an Everliving. Naturally, her and Jack have a plan to stop all this, and also naturally it’s almost thwarted by Cole.


 

Once again, this has been sitting on my shelf for over a year. Not because I didn’t want to read it, but because I didn’t want to say goodbye to the world that Brodi Ashton had created. I had a major love crush on Cole and we all knew this was not going to end well for him. Needless to say, I had mixed feelings on this one. 

What I liked: I love how every plan this group has just goes to crap in some way or another. I mean Ashton really makes them work for those small victories and I totally love that about this series. No one is a hero, everyone’s getting their butt handed to them like 24/7. I get a little evil thrill about that one. I’m also enchanted by the world of the Everneath. It’s got so many rules and somehow Ashton made sense of all of them and kept them on track. There’s nothing I hate more than trying to make my way through a world that makes zero sense, it’s frustrating and distracting. I think the thing I enjoyed the most was that we finally got to learn a little more about Cole’s background. It explained a lot of his motivations and really cemented a connection between him and Nikki.

What I didn’t like: The ending killed me. I mean I get it, I knew it was coming in some for or another, but still…sad.

Overall, I felt like this was a solid ending to a much beloved series. I’m sad it’s over, I’m sad it didn’t end the way I wanted, but everything made sense in the context of the other two books so I’m also very pleased.

Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

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Title: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Publication Date: March 4th, 2014

Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: Kestrel, a General’s daughter, lives in a world where her people enslave others through a system of war and conquering. For her part, Kestrel has remained aloof from this world, it’s been apart of her life for so long she barely notices the difference between her station and that of the enslaved nations. However, that all changes after she purchases a young-male slave named Arin. Arin’s got baggage and he’s also up to no good, but he an Kestrel can’t seem to stay away from one another. Soon they find themselves questioning whether their loyalty to their respective nations is as strong as their loyalty to one another.


So Kestrel here has been sitting on my ‘to read’ shelf since March of last year. Every time I looked over for a book she stared me down like, “Why the hell aren’t you reading me!”  Finally, after much waiting I picked her up and began learning more about the world Rutkoski created. I was pleased to find out all of the hype was well deserved. Kestrel is one of my new favorite book ladies and her romance with Arin was gripping. I couldn’t put this book down, it sucked me into a vortex of crazy politics, hot romance, and back stabbing good times. 

What I liked: I loved the character development in this story. I’m all about my characters, and when I come across a plot that’s as driven by all the players as this one is I remember why I love characterization so much. In this book, everyone has an agenda, whether it’s anarchy, freedom, love, sex…everyone is motivated by some sort of internal device which drives their actions in the story. The progression that each character take (and I’m not just talking about our protagonists here) starts to chip away at the world they are living in, slowly showing the nation’s weakness. It was just incredible to watch the story unfold that way. I felt like these were real people, living in a real country. The Winner’s Crime, lacks some of the unrealistic nature I often find in YA characters and it was refreshing to see the slow burn of the plot eventually build into an epic crescendo. 

What I didn’t like: I absolutely loved everything about this book aside from the ending. I wanted to punch Kestrel in the face. I get it, killing people is bad, but ya know what, so is slavery and I can’t really hate on Arin in this situation.

Overall, this book is excellent. I loved how detailed and engaging the plot is throughout the book. There was never a time when the action starts to drop off, and each scene was as unpredictable as the next. I’m anxiously awaiting The Winner’s Crime to hit shelves in March.

 

Throwback Thursday Review: Splintered by A.G. Howard

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Title: Splintered by A.G. Howard

Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Publication Date: January 1st, 2013

Rating: 4/5

My Synopsis: Alyssa Garner has grown up thinking her mother’s talk about mythical Alice and Wonderland creatures was simply crazy; pretty easy to understand considering her mother has been in a Sanatorium for years. Turn out, that Alyssa’s mom, not so nuts. When Alyssa begins hallucinating and hearing voices she wonders just how close of a connection she has to Alice Lidell and if the mythical world of Wonderland really exists. When she falls down the rabbit hole with her best-friend and crush Jeb Holt, she begins to learn about a world she never imagined could exist.


So, apparently I’ve been living under a rock for the last few years and totally missed A.G.Howard and this book. Sure, I’ve passed it by a few times but I never stopped to pick it up. I should be drawn and quartered! (Well, okay maybe not that, but I should be smacked). I picked this up on a whim one weekend and found myself absolutely engaged. Holy hand-grenades is this good! Like really, really good. It had enough romance to make me all sappy, enough adventure to keep me turn the page, and the lit nerd in me was blown away by Howard’s take on a book I’ve read a million times (that’s not even a joke because I took a freaking class on Alice in Wonderland). 

What I liked: Alyssa! She was funky. I loved that she wasn’t a typical book-nerd, super shy, awkward, golden-haired heroine. She’s interesting, engaging, but still vulnerable. I loved that the book centered around her quest to discover the secrets of her family, rather than just her relationship with Jeb or Morpheus, though I was a big fan of those parts. Speaking of the love triangles, I hate when authors mess with my emotions this way. I really like Jeb. He’s sweet, reliable, protective, but still edgy enough to be a book boyfriend. I was all about his relationship with Alyssa, until Howard went in and threw Morpheus into the mix. Damn you! He’s just got that bad-boy swag thing I can’t resist. Now, I’m torn and I hate being torn.

What I didn’t like: Sometimes the world got a little confusing and I found myself left with a myriad of questions. (I have a feeling most of them are answered in the subsequent books).

Overall, I loved this. I have the last two books which I will be reading in the near future. A.G. Howard is now on my list of authors to make sure I read! The character’s were amazing, the pacing is just enough to draw you in but not too much that you get lost, and the allusions to the original Alice in Wonderland are hysterical in the way she corrupts them (I mean that in a positive way!). If you are like me and haven’t grabbed this be sure to pick it up!