Thursday, July 14, 2016

Review: A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes

Title: A Book of Spirits and Thieves
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Publication Date:  June 23rd, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Bought it
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
Modern-day sisters discover deadly ancient magic in book 1 of this Falling Kingdoms spin-off series!

Worlds collide in this suspenseful, page-turning Falling Kingdoms spin-off series, which explores a whole new side of Mytica—and an even darker version of its magic.

Crystal Hatcher, Modern-day Toronto: It’s a normal afternoon in her mother’s antique bookshop when Crys witnesses the unthinkable: her little sister Becca collapses into a coma after becoming mesmerized by a mysterious book written in an unrecognizable language.

Maddox Corso, Ancient Mytica: Maddox Corso doesn’t think much of it when he spots an unfamiliar girl in his small village. Until, that is, he realizes that she is a spirit, and he is the only one who can see or hear her. Her name is Becca Hatcher, and she needs Maddox to help get her home.

Farrell Grayson, Modern-day Toronto: Rich and aimless Farrell Grayson is thrilled when the mysterious leader of the ultra-secret Hawkspear Society invites him into the fold. But when he learns exactly what he has to do to prove himself, Farrell starts to question everything he thought he knew about family, loyalty, and himself….

Fate has brought these young people together, but ancient magic threatens to rip them apart.
“Tears aren't just for babies. They're proof that you feel something and aren't afraid to show it. It's those that won't ever allow themselves to cry that are the weak ones.”
I rushed to finish this book before The Darkest Magic came out thinking I would pick The Darkest Magic up right away but I should have know. The book has been out for a week and a half and I have not even started it.

This book was very interesting. We have two coinciding stories being told that are both interconnected in a way that is still mostly unknown. These two stories are told from four different characters point of views. You have Maddox, Farrell, Becca, and Crystal. One story is in modern day Toronto and the other is ancient Mytica. It was fascinating to read this book and see how Morgan Rhodes was connecting the two very different worlds.

This book gave a lot of great backstory on Mytica and how they go to where they are in the Falling Kingdoms Series and I really loved the extra information. As for the Toronto story, I have been to Toronto only once in my life but I knew exactly where a lot of the landmarks Morgan Rhodes uses were. And I loved that she was descriptive enough and used names that I recognized, it just added to my investment in this story.

I definitely have a favorite character after this book but based on what happened I do not want to say who it is. I will just keep that to myself and see what said character does in the next book. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Flame Never Dies by Rachel Vincent (Waiting on Wednesday #21)

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that everyone’s eagerly anticipating!

ONE SPARK WILL RISE. Nina Kane was born to be an exorcist. And since uncovering the horrifying truth—that the war against demons is far from over—seventeen-year-old Nina and her pregnant younger sister, Mellie, have been on the run, incinerating the remains of the demon horde as they go.

In the badlands, Nina, Mellie, and Finn, the fugitive and rogue exorcist who saved her life, find allies in a group of freedom fighters. They also face a new threat: Pandemonia, a city full of demons. But this fresh new hell is the least of Nina’s worries. The well of souls ran dry more than a century ago, drained by the demons secretly living among humans, and without a donor soul, Mellie’s child will die within hours of its birth.

Nina isn’t about to let that happen . . . even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice.
The Flame Never Dies will be released August 16th, 2016 by Delacorte Press!

The first book in this duology was a huge surprise for me. I won it in a giveaway and new nothing about it but had heart great things about Rachel Vincent's Shifters Series so I dove right into it. And I loved it. It was this great paranormal/fantasy story about a girl fighting to keep her family and her city safe. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this all ties up and where Nina and Finn go on their adventures.
What are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Review: The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins

Title: The Great Hunt
Author: Wendy Higgins
Publication Date:  March 8th, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Bought it
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
When a strange beast terrorizes the kingdom of Lochlanach, fear stirs revolt. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona—kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage.

Princess Aerity knows her duty to the kingdom but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger…until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. There’s no denying the unspoken lure between them…or his mysterious resentment.

Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast—but the princess continues to surprise him, and the perilous secrets he’s buried begin to surface.

Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ tale “The Singing Bone,” New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins delivers a dark fantasy filled with rugged hunters, romantic tension, and a princess willing to risk all to save her kingdom.
“Fear was a dangerous, unpredictable weapon.”
I really enjoyed this book. It was a refreshing YA romance with a tiny, and I mean tiny, amount of fantasy. I really wish we had gotten more world building and explanation of the Lashed and where they came from. But this is a Wendy Higgins novel, so I expect romance to be at the forefront.

The relationship between Aerity and Paxton actually did not bother me as much as I thought it was going to. I think Wendy did a good job of having it slowly grow into something while still starting out with that fire.

There was a huge chunk of this book that was boring to me. The hunters were doing the same thing day in and day out and there was not enough going on to keep me fully invested in the story and the characters.

Overall, this was a good "light" read. It was light in the sense that it was not the typical high fantasy, intricate magic system I have been reading lately. This book is definitely not for everyone especially when it is marketed as a fantasy and definitely leans more towards romance centric.

I look forward to seeing how Wendy Higgins ties everything up in the next book since this is one of those rare YA duologies.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Review: Amber Smoke by Kristin Cast

Title: Amber Smoke 
Author: Kristin Cast
Publication Date:  June 9th, 2015
Publisher: Diversion Publishing
Source: Borrowed from Library
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
There is a world that runs parallel to our own, a world in which the souls of the damned are caged, where they are looked over by the Furies, and where they spend eternity in torment, mirroring the devastation and mayhem they created when alive.

Someone has opened the cage.

The worst of terrors has crossed the barrier that separates our world from theirs, and the Furies send a great, albeit untested warrior—their only son, Alek—to try to bring those souls back. He is young and handsome, headstrong and impulsive, and he won’t be able to do it alone.

Eva has grown up, beautiful and beloved, but surrounded by secrets. First, she will be hunted in an ancient feud that will threaten her life. Then, she will become the hunter.

With the police closing in and two worlds on the verge of crumbling around them, Alek and Eva must find each other, discover the limits of their powers, and work together to save everything they hold dear, including one another. Blending elements of mythology with the dazzling storytelling that her fans have devoured through the House of Night series, Kristin Cast weaves a spellbinding and passionate tale that starts a thrilling new series with an explosive charge.
“Not all of your foes will appear in their true form. You must learn to trust your instincts.”
So this book. I do not know what I was expecting going into this, but I am not really sure it matched the expectations. I am not a fan by any means of the House of Night Series. Eventually I want to read them all, but I am in no rush. For me, the downfall to that series is its length and mediocre writing. This book reminded me of the same things that irk me when it comes to HoN.

The writing in this book left much to be desired. There is nothing spectacular about it and the plot and characters are not exciting enough to make up for it. I cannot pinpoint exactly what it is about the writing style that does not work for me, but I just know it is not my cup of tea.

As for the actual story and characters. I did not fall in love with any of the characters. Alek and Eva have this ridiculous insta-love stemmed from fate and destiny, but we do not even see any of that romance. It was such a strange concept for me.  We have them talking about love and needing each other after only spending like an hour together. I was expecting this book to be a paranormal romance and what I got was set up of a journey with a whole lot of destiny and backstory. 

Speaking of backstory, the one thing I really enjoyed with this book is the level of backstory we got on the Furies and why Alek and Eva have to save Tartarus. I also enjoyed the sisters fussing over Alek. As for plot this whole book was a drawn out forty-eight hours or so. Parts that were supposed to be suspensful and thrilling left me indifferent. I was not pulled into this story and what was happening. Typically when a character is being threatened and hurting you want to see them get better and have that small voice in the back of your head that questions if they will really make it out of this okay. I did not feel any of these thoughts or feelings at any point in this book. I just did not have a connection with the characters that comes with experiencing the story.

I have the sequel Scarlet Rain also checked out from the library, but I am not sure I even want to continue with this series at this point. But on the other hand, these are short books, so it is not a huge time commitment to read them. However, I am not at all invested in this story. I am a little curious to see what happens to Tartarus but I am not entirely motivated to continue.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Review: City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett

Title: City of Blades
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Publication Date:  January 26th, 2016
Publisher: Broadway Books
Source: From BloggingForBooks
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
The city of Voortyashtan was once the domain of the goddess of death, war, and destruction, but now it’s little more than a ruin. General Turyin Mulaghesh is called out of retirement and sent to this hellish place to try to find a Saypuri secret agent who’s gone missing in the middle of a mission, but the city of war offers countless threats: not only have the ghosts of her own past battles followed her here, but she soon finds herself wondering what happened to all the souls that were trapped in the afterlife when the Divinities vanished. Do the dead sleep soundly in the land of death? Or do they have plans of their own?

While I did not love City of Stairs, the first book, in this series, I still really appreciated the world and everything it had to offer. This book however, was a let down. I felt like it was all over the place and the characters I had come to know did not live up to my expectations.

I do not know if this sequel was initially planned or only came about as a result of the success of the first book, but I was left with more questions than answers with this one.

Other people seem to absolutely love this book, but I'm not one of them. I do not know if I hyped it up too much for myself or what, it just was not a good read for me. I have been reading a lot of other fantasy books and this one just did not have the same world building I need in a great read.

Lastly, I did enjoy the characters in this book. It was definitely the saving aspect of the book. General Turyin Mulaghesh was definitely a strong female character with a lot of spunk. 

This was a hard review to write since I did not have many good thoughts about this book and in many places skimmed. I may have been in the wrong mind set when reading it. But overall it just was not the book for me.

*I received a copy of this book through BloggingForBooks in exchange for an honest review*

July 8th Recommending Reads

For today's edition of recommending reads, I'm going with my favorite duologies. Duologies are those rare group of books where the story is told in two parts rather than the traditional three. I think a lot of authors, and even publishers, push for the standard three parts because that is the norm. But I really believe that the story and characters should determine how long the books last for. Whether that is 1 book, 2 books, 3 books, 4 books, etc. Every story is unique and deserves to be treated that way rather than trying to fit it into the standard way of doing things.

This are in no particular order. Plus for a few of these I have not even read the second/last book but I loved the first enough to know it would make the list. This was a lot harder to do than I was expecting because it is so rare for duologies. There are a few really hyped ones where the second one is coming out next year such as The Crown's Game/The Crown's Heir by Evelyn Skye, Passenger/Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken, and The Star-Touched Queen/Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi. But I have not read even the first book in those yet.

  1. Winger and Stand-off by Andrew Smith
  2. If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman 
  3. Sekret and Skandal by Lindsay Smith (still need to read Skandal)
  4. Control and Catalyst by Lydia Kang (still need to read Catalyst)
  5. Not A Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis (still need to read In a Handful of Dust)
  6. An Ember in the Ashes and A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (This makes the list because the first was so amazing I trust the second one will be too when it finally comes out)
  7. The Wrath the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh (again still need to read The Rose and the Dagger)
So as you can see because of my problem with finishing series, I have many of unfinished duologies left on my shelves. But I'm slowly working my way down my shelves reading all the unread books and trying to catch up and finish series. 

What are some of your favorite duologies?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Review: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Title: This Savage Song
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publication Date:  July 5th, 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: Bought it
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.
“You wanted to feel alive, right? It doesn't matter if you're monster or human. Living hurts.”
I do not know where to begin with this book. I do not think anything I write will do it justice. This book had everything I wanted and needed. There was so much to fall in love with.

I'm a huge fan of Victoria Schwab and everything she has written, this book being no exception. She just has this way of writing that pulls you right into the meat of the story and the world. So Verity is an amazing setting. From the first page I was obsessed with learning as much as I could about the city and its strange inhabitants. Victoria did a fantastic job of giving us the information about the world as we needed it. The story unfolded in a great way that keep me hooked all the way through. For me there was very little down time at all, I was eager throughout the book to see what was going to happen next.

In terms of the characters, we have two completely different but also the same people. Kate and August were a great pair and I loved watching their chemistry unfold throughout the book. There is so much keeping them apart but they are thrown into this war. 

Victoria Schwab is one of my auto-buy authors. She is able to create these amazing worlds whether they are fantasy or a scary world not far from our own. Her world building is what first gets you drawn into each book, but then you meet the characters and fall in love with them too.

At her event this week, she talked about how her characters are all outsiders just trying to fit in and learn to live as an outsider. Something about that really stuck with me. I think that is part of why I'm so drawn to her books. They are not about the extraordinary person living a normal life. They are about the person who has never really fit in and never will. I really think August and Kate's story really works with this theme. You have Kate, the daughter of the "mob boss", trying to fit in and be like her father and you have the monster, August, who desperately wants to be human and live