Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

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Title: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: May 3, 2016

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.


I totally fell in love with the first addition of this book, “A Court of Thorns and Roses” and anxiously awaited the next installment. It’s a long one, clocking in at 640 pages, I wanted to be able to sit and savor the read so I waited to begin this until summer break began. I had high expectations and let’s just say that this totally delivered. It’s no secret that I’m not a lover of the “Throne of Glass” series, but after this second edition I’m a Maas convert. 

What I liked: The romance. Yesssss. I’m not someone who can read a book without a little love in it and sometimes with Fantasy that is the case, but if you are a lover of steamy romance, grab this. Surprisingly, I enjoyed this second addition much more than the first one, which I did not think was possible. Feyre really comes into her own in this book. In fact, the whole plot centers on building her up into a strong female character. The decimating events of the last book are not ignored and Maas explores the ramifications on her characters psyche. The action is kicked up a notch as Feyre is in the middle of the fey world. I don’t think there was a single point where I skipped ahead mainly because each page held some sort of captivating plot point. 

What I didn’t like: There is a small subplot involving Feyre’s sisters that I thought felt unnecessary. It happened at the end but detracted from an otherwise awesome book.

Overall, pick this up. Just do it. 5/5

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Review: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

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Title: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publication Date: February 2016

Rating: 2.5 

Synopsis: If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

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

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

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

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

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

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.


 

Hey guys. So obviously I really stuck to my New Years resolution to post at least once a week. I have no excuse except it has literally taken me months to read one book. Whether that was the books fault, or my fault I don’t know, but either way, it’s been hard to review content these days. 

Anyway, on to the book. I very excitedly picked this one up the day it came out, anxious to read it. I loved “The Red Queen,” and the cliffhanger killed me. I couldn’t wait for the sequel to come out and when it got here I assumed that I would anxiously devour it. Not so much. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book well enough, but it felt very much like a filler between the first and the next installment.

What I liked: I enjoyed being introduced to the new characters with new abilities-some of which were incredibly cool. There is something very relevant about this band of people coming together to fight their oppressors, and as most of the action came from the moments the newbloods spent together, I enjoyed these scenes the most. Cal remains my favorite character, even though we did not see as much of him as I would have liked. The best part of this sequel for me was the way it refused to solve anything. I admire Aveyard a lot in the way she refuses to fix her characters. Everyone is flawed, not just Mare, and this makes them incredibly realistic. The realities of war are shown in this sequel and no one is safe. There are two major deaths in this book which reiterates that Aveyard is so not afraid to go there.

What I didn’t like: The pacing. Oh god, the pacing. This book took me almost two months to finish because the middle was incredibly slow. A lot of the action is repetitive. Find a newblood, get them, get foiled, win, move on. The book felt like one unending loop of Mare trying to be less of a horrible person, while becoming more of a horrible person, and then they would go find something to do. It lacked plot and cohesion and was very difficult to get through. Aveyard also introduces these new and exciting characters, which could really liven the book up, but refuses to utilize them effectively. Don’t get me wrong, I like Mare. I think she’s a great dimensional heroine, but god she got on my nerves.

Overall, this book was fine. If you enjoy a lot of exposition you’ll probably like this, but for the rest of us, it feels like a filler. 2.5/5

Review and Giveaway: Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith

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Title: Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith

Giveaway: Signed copy of Dreamstrider  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Genre: Fantasy YA

Rating: 2.5/5

Publication Date: October 6, 2015

Synopsis: A high-concept, fantastical espionage novel set in a world where dreams are the ultimate form of political intelligence.

Livia is a dreamstrider. She can inhabit a subject’s body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. But her partner, Brandt, has lately become distant, and when Marez comes to join their team from a neighborhing kingdom, he offers Livia the option of a life she had never dared to imagine. Livia knows of no other dreamstriders who have survived the pull of Nightmare. So only she understands the stakes when a plot against the Empire emerges that threatens to consume both the dreaming world and the waking one with misery and rage.

A richly conceived world full of political intrigue and fantastical dream sequences, at its heart Dreamstrider is about a girl who is struggling to live up to the potential before her.


 

I picked up “Dreamstrider,” by Lindsay Smith some time ago on a recommendation from  a trusted book friend. I was lucky enough to be able to get my hands on a signed copy, which made me all the more eager to read.

What I liked: The concept of this book was incredibly interesting. Livia, the main character, is a dreamstrider meaning that she has the ability to jump into people’s bodies via the dreamworld. But, this book is not really about Livia’s journey into being a dreamstrider, instead it is about her using her ability to save her country from those who want to use the dreamworld for evil. This book had a really solid premise and I enjoyed the fact that the reader learns about Livia’s abilities and what they can do as we get into the action. The way this book is set up is incredibly smart.

What I didn’t like: Personally, I found this book incredibly hard to become invested in for a multitude of reasons. First, I found the story to be incredibly confusing. I had a hard time keeping track of what was actually going on and it effected my interest in the story. I also was not a huge fan of the main character Livia. I can navigate a heavy plot if I love the characters but I found Livia difficult to handle and the secondary characters felt more like wallpaper than anything else.

Overall, this book held some positives but not my cup of tea. I hope someone will enjoy it in my stead. 2/5

Review: Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

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Title: Ice like Fire by Sara Raasch

Publication Date: October 13. 2015

Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks

Genre: Fantasy YA

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.


 

I had to let this one digest. Hence, the months later review. I adored the first book and eagerly awaited the sequel, but sometimes the sequel doesn’t live up to the hype and unfortunately that is what happened here. 

What I liked: There was a lot of action in this one, even more than in the first book. The plot is driven by the journey and despite the things I did not like, I continued reading, interested in the characters next adventure. The world-building is fantastic. Raasch takes her readers deeper into her world and continues to dazzle with her original ideas. I really enjoyed learning more about the other cultures in their world and the differences between them. These things really added to the plot, making it rich and colorful.

What I didn’t like: This sequel felt painful. It moved quickly, but all of the enjoyable subtlety I enjoyed in book one were completely gone. The important plot points felt like they were crammed down my throat and did not feel fluid from book one. Meira remains much the same, not growing from her previous experience, and both male characters seemed to take on totally new personalities.

Overall, this book was interesting enough but lacked the strength of its predecessor 3/5.

Review: Firewalker (Worldwalker Book #2) by Jospehine Angelni

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Title: Fire Walker (Worldbuilders #2) by Josephine Angelini

Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: Worlds divide, magic slays, and love lies in the second book of Josephine Angelini’s The Worldwalker Trilogy.

“You think I’m a monster, but my choices, as ruthless as they seem, are justified.”

Lily is back in her own universe, and she’s ready to start a new life with Rowan by her side. True, she almost died in the Pyre that fueled their escape from New Salem, and must hide her magic for the safety of everyone she cares about, but compared to fighting the Woven, the monstrous creatures inhabiting the alternate Salem, life is looking pretty good.

Unfortunately, Lillian, ruthless ruler of the 13 Cities, is not willing to let Lily go that easily. If she can’t persuade Lily to return to her world, she will force her to come back by doing away with the ones she loves.

Picking up right where Trial By Fire left off, Firewalker is another sexy, fast-paced, heartbreaking thrill ride from internationally bestselling author Josephine Angelini!


 

I’m baaaacccckkk. Kind of. I’ve actually had a few minutes to read in the last two weeks, which is nothing short of miraculous. Being a first year classroom teacher is tough work. It’s even tougher when you are teaching with no books and have an extra grade lopped in there. That being said, I love it. 

Know what else I love? This book. I was lucky enough to read the first in the series quite recently and devoured the next one. Let’s go ahead and break it down. 

What I liked: Rowan is one of my favorite male YA characters. He’s sexy but caring. He definitely drew me to him in the first book, but I feel like we learn even more about him in the second book. What Angelini really did well in her sequel is that she raised the stakes. Her first book spent a good chunk of time building her alternative world and introducing the stakes, but the second book really focuses on Lily and Lillian’s struggle to save their worlds. While in “World Walker” I struggles to really understand “the point,” because there were not true stakes. That is definitely not the case with book two. The stakes are higher than ever and Angelini is not afraid to make some hard literary choices. 

What I didn’t like: The beginning of the book felt a little slow to me. Angelini spends a great deal of time having Lily “recover,” which was realistic but really stunted the pacing. Outside of that, I began to feel like suddenly everyone was involved in the conspiracy. It would have been nice to see a little more separation between the two worlds.

Overall, I adore this series. I think it is imaginative, face-paced, and the romance is on-point 5/5.

Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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Title: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Publication Date: April 28, 2015

Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks

Genre: Fantasy YA

Synopsis: Laia is a slave.

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.


 

Guys, it has been a hot second since I have actually posted. School started and things got wayy hectic. Plus, as a teacher I get up at 4:30 am and teach until 3:30 with one break. Basically, I have been super tired and not in the mood to read. On top of that, I am coming down with a cold! Boo me. 

Anyway, time to get to a new review. I finally finished “An Ember in the Ashes,” which I began my last week of summer vacation. To say this book is an amazing example of a YA Fantasy is selling it short. Let’s break it down. 

 

What I liked: It’s a little hard to break down what EXACTLY I liked since I liked pretty much everything! Elias. He was by far my favorite character. I enjoyed Laia but there was something about Elias’ POV that really captured my attention. He was tortured but dignified. Elias is not a perfect character, which was why I liked him so much. Laia is also not perfect, but she’s not as stained as her counter-part. Elias’ is someone who has killed and not necessarily for the right reasons. His struggle to define himself outside of the confines of his societal role was incredibly interesting and captivating. It didn’t hurt that he comes off as super dreamy.  I really felt a deep connection with all the characters; they are all flawed and disjointed but their motivations are distinctly human. In a world of magic and mayhem, Tahir created deeply flawed, yet relateable characters. It was truly a testament to her skill that there was not a single person I truly disliked. Speaking of skill, the world-building in this book is off the charts. Usually, Fantasy novels either have too much world-building and you get bogged down in all the details, or you don’t get enough and are constantly confused. “An Ember in the Ashes,” was a perfect mixture. You knew enough to become engaged in the story, yet the main focus remained on the story. I kept reading to learn more but I knew enough to stay interested.

What I didn’t like: The ending. Ugh, why!! Is it time for the next installment? My biggest gripe is not even the ending-thought that was pretty evil. I struggles with the love square. I’m not someone who complains about love triangles, but I am someone who hates when I don’t know who to root for. I like them all! This is hard.

Overall, this is a captivating YA fantasy that will keep you turning the pages. 5/5 

 

Review: The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

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Title: The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson

Publication Date: July 7th, 2015

Genre: YA Fantasy

Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape . . . and even less of being together.

Desperate to save her life, Lia’s erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komisar that she has a magical gift, and the Komisar’s interest in Lia is greater than either Kaden or Lia foresaw.

Meanwhile, the foundations of Lia’s deeply-held beliefs are crumbling beneath her. Nothing is straightforward: there’s Rafe, who lied to her, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom she always believed to be barbarians but whom she now realizes are people who have been terribly brutalized by the kingdoms of Dalbreck and Morrighan. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her very sense of self, Lia will have to make powerful choices that affect her country, her people . . . and her own destiny.


 

“The Heart of Betrayal,” was my most anticipated read of the summer. I have literally been counting down the days until this one came. Then something crazy happened. Netflix got real and I began doing a ton of traveling. I knew this was going to be the type of book I sat down on a Sunday and read in one sitting. Like most highly anticipated books, I hesitated to start this one in case it did not live up to the hype. “Kiss of Deception,” was one of my favorite Fantasy books and I prayed that the sequel lived up to its amazingness. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. This sequel is amazing. There are so many strong aspects and the pacing keeps you turning page after page.

What I liked: Lia continues to be a badass female MC. She may be a Princess but she’s not about to let anyone push her around, even when facing possible death, she keeps her spunk. The stakes are much higher in “The Heart of Betrayal,” and much like its title, Lia must navigate who in fact is truly on her side and who is about to stab a knife in her back. The stakes are much higher in book #2 than they are in book #1 and the tension is very real. The world-building in book #2 is also beyond strong. Venda and the presentation of the Komizar allows Pearson to explore the many shades of grey surrounding her world. She begins to explore the idea that Lia can love a group of people while still wishing to escape their barbaric government. In Book #1 Pearson played with the many angles of her characters, now she plays with the many facets of her world. Though there is a lot of violence and bloodshed their is also a lot of heart-felt moments between Lia and the common people of Venda.

What I didn’t like: While Lia is very much my favorite character and I enjoyed that so much of the book was from her POV, I missed Rafe. I’m team Rafe 100% and while I don’t despise Kaden, I don’t want to read so much about him. Given that we are in Venda it makes sense that we get more of Kaden’s perspective, but I missed the equilibrium in the chapters between him and Rafe. Other than the lack of Rafe, I did not love the ending. Way to just kill us all a little.

Overall, this is a fast-paced, exciting, and complicated read. “The Heart of Betrayal,” is a stellar sequel to a much beloved book. 5/5