Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Published by: McElderry Books

Publication Date: May 23, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy

Page Count: 701

Rating: 3.75/5

Source: Purchase

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Emma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she’d be at peace. But she is anything but calm. Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again?

And the faerie courts are not silent. The Unseelie King is tired of the Cold Peace, and will no longer concede to the Shadowhunters’ demands. Caught between the demands of faerie and the laws of the Clave, Emma, Julian, and Mark must find a way to come together to defend everything they hold dear—before it’s too late.


“We fear things because we value them. We fear losing people because we love them. We fear dying because we value being alive. Don’t wish you didn’t fear anything. All that would mean is that you didn’t feel anything.”

I went into this book thinking that the storyline will eventually go dark. And it does. But what I expected does not compare to what I got. The second instalment in the Dark Artifices, Lord of Shadows will shatter your expectations, divide the already fractured Shadowhunter world, make you ugly cry, and change the Downworld forever.

Even though Emma Carstairs has slain her parents’ murderer, she faces a more troubling situation: the love she has for her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn. A love that’s forbidden to all parabatais. But as she dates Mark so she can convince Julian she doesn’t love him, the faerie courts stir up trouble. Mark, Julian, Emma, Christina, and the rest of the Blackthorn family race to find a way to protect their own and hope to prevent a war among all Shadowhunters and Downworlders.

I raged, I yelled, and I cried once I finished this book. I saw the heartache weave through each page and path these characters take, and yet I’m so conflicted! And I have a hard time rating Lord of Shadows because it has obvious flaws in it, but it took me on an emotional ride I haven’t felt in awhile. I warn you now that Lord of Shadow is a tear-jerker. It will demand all your emotions and tears.

Shadowhunter lovers will know where I stand. Like I said before, Cassie’s work is like a Russian roulette for me. I don’t know if I’ll like her next piece. While I enjoyed the book, some storylines were drawn out too long, long chapters were draining, and some scenes were questionable.

But Cassie’s writing has improved over the years, and I appreciate her attention to detail to the expanded faerie world, the Julian-and-Emma arc, the adorable Kit-and-Ty relationship, and the overall tension the Downworld faces. This hostility among the Council, the Cohorts, and the Centurions heavily reflects our current political environment. And what I love most of YA books and authors is how they show our flaws in our society and aren’t afraid to speak up. I have to give thanks to Cassie for standing up.

I find writing this review without tears challenging. Cassie knows how to rip out your heart. And the characters’ progression throughout this sequel is hard to read, yet each one captivates me. That endearing Mark will always bring a smile to my face. I personally want him to separate from his potential love interests. I want him to find himself, but the love triangle with Mark, Christina, and Kieran prevents him from doing so. I see a new side to Kieran, and while I still hate what he has done, I received a better perspective of him.

Besides Mark and Emma being my favourite characters, Christina shines above them all. But I hope to see a forceful side to her in the next book. She may just be the Shadowhunter who gets rid of the Cold Peace, but if she wants something, fight for it. I was waiting for her to do so. The one trio that surprises me the most is Livvy, Ty, and Kit. I loved reading their scenes, and their dynamic plays off the page rather well. Finally, finally, we see the backstory to Diana and her possible love story. You have no idea how much I squeed. And Julian and Emma comes last, as always. I’m still hesitant with them. Their arc worries me, and I don’t see happiness in their future, which I find disheartening because they deserve it the most.

Surprisingly, Lord of Shadows represents many pieces in our society, from sexuality, mental illnesses and conditions, and diversity. I haven’t seen this much representation in one book alone, and I love how it naturally flows through the story.

If you honestly think Cassie’s first and second series are heartbreaking, prepare for this book. Stock up on your Kleenex and hope you don’t break down. I can’t wait to see what Cassie has in store in the finale.

Review: Now I Rise by Kiersten White

Now I Rise by Kiersten White

Published by: Delacorte Press

Publication Date: June 27, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Romance

Page Count: 471

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.

What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?

As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.


“She was a dragon. She was a prince. She was the only hope Wallachia had of ever prospering.”

And she would do whatever it took too get there.”

If you want a richly intense and savage story that shows women, too, are just as ruthless and dangerous as men, then put down your book and pick up this one.

Lada Dracul has given up the love she holds for her brother, Radu, and Mehmed, the sultan who claims her heart. With only her soldiers, she tears her way through the countryside so she can claim her birthright: the Wallachian throne. But her brother chooses Mehmed, who tasks him the perilous duty to infiltrate Constantinople. As empires fall, and faiths are pitted against each other, Lada and Radu test not only their loyalty but also their souls.

I haven’t heard of Kiersten or her books, but I fell in love with this series when I first picked up And I Darken. She creates a realistic portrayal of what life was, how religion clashed and even destroyed civilizations and countries, and how war moulded people into their own enemies. Her writing envelops and delivers you to a savage world where women and children are often used as currency, and religion has shaped this harsh backdrop. Now I Rise is an eloquently crafted sequel that will break your heart, disgust you, yet demand your attention. This book wants to be heard, and you cannot help but hear its call.

The characters drive the storyline, and I love Lada’s and Radu’s character progression. Kiersten cleverly reverses the gender roles. At first, I couldn’t stand Radu because he was often the weak child, but he transforms into a man who is tormented by his true desires and is shaped by his morals and faith. When he allows Mehmed to send him to Constantinople, my heart broke. Radu’s pain and unbreakable loyalty he possesses for Mehmed splash across each page, and this heartache is simply haunting. I wanted to shield him from this suffering because this spy game conflicts with who he is as a person. I haven’t sympathized over a character this much.

I find Lada challenging. I love her tenacity, her drive, her passion, her fire, and her strength. Yet sometimes those qualities are all you see in her. However, while the story progresses, Kiersten gives readers a glance into Lada’s vulnerabilities, which I mentioned in my review of the first book. Now they’re few and far between. And I was hoping to see more of them so that Lada can develop into a character who is more tangible. Anger will only get you so far, and unfortunately, Lada may figure out that problem sooner than she thinks.

I give credit to Kiersten for respectfully representing the Muslim faith, which just seems to be attacked by all sides lately. You see, faith plays a strong part in this series. And I thought it might turn me off, but she depicts the conflict between the Muslim and Christian faiths beautifully. She doesn’t pick a side though, and I appreciate her decision not to.

The Conquerer’s Sage keeps on surprising me. And while I showed up late to this series, I keep loving it more. It’s brutal, harsh, dangerous, and deadly, yet it shows you the human strength. I absolutely adore these books. Now I Rise rightfully deserves its spot on my favourites list!

Review: The Darkest Secret by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Secret by Gena Showalter

Published by: Harlequin

Publication Date: March 29, 2011

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Page Count: 410

Rating: 3.75/5

Source: Purchase

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Keeper of the demon of Secrets, Amun can manipulate the darkest thoughts of anyone nearby. But when the immortal warrior is chained and isolated to protect those he loves, death is his only hope of release—until he meets Haidee, a fellow prisoner whose beauty and hidden vulnerability draw him into a reckless test of his loyalty.

Haidee is a demon-assassin, raised to despise Amun’s kind. Yet how can she hate the man whose touch sets her aflame? But to save him, she must give herself body and soul…and face the wrath of a powerful adversary sworn to destroy her.


“He gave her what no one else had ever been able to give. A past to cherish. A present to enjoy. A future to anticipate.”

With a touch of redemption, hope, and forbidden passion, The Darkest Secret takes you on a fast-paced love story with just enough supernatural flare that ignites your love for paranormal romance. Don’t expect a dull moment in Gena’s world.

In this thrilling seventh instalment in the Lords of the Underworld, Amun, the keeper of Secrets, wishes for death, when hundreds of minor demons take possession of his body. His only salvation lies in Haidee, a demon-assassin determined to eliminate his kind. Passion erupts, bonds are tested, and the past is finally revealed. But their attraction may not be the only problem Amun and Haidee face.

I was a little hesitant in picking up Amun’s book because I haven’t seen much of him in previous books. But what I have seen goes from not fully understanding Amum as a character to sympathizing with him because of his struggles. I see him more as a secondary character, which I find disappointing because he has a lot of potential. He’s understanding, caring, and just damn cute at times. But in this book, I finally witness who he is as a man who constantly fights with a demon who survives off secrets. He has gained tremendous empathy from me. Gena isn’t afraid to torture her characters, especially if that act puts them on a better path.

In The Darkest Lies, Amun, Aeron (former keeper of Wrath), and William (an immortal) travel to hell so they can rescue Legion, a demon-turned-woman whose is Aeron’s adoptive daughter. Remind me to cleanse my soul before I die, because the hell Gena depicts is just down right creepy. Imagine the worst acts a person can commit, then ramp them up to a hundred.

What I like from this instalment is that Gena focuses solely on the romance between Amun and Haidee, then throws in some tension from Strider (keeper of Defeat), who thinks he is falling for her. Amun and Haidee balance each other out quite nicely. He calms her down, while she revves him up. I was hoping for more tension between them though. He’s a Lord possessed by a demon, and she’s a demon hunter, who killed his best friend Baden, a few millennia ago. However, this sequel transitions from a romance to a redemption story. Unfortunately, Gena sidetracks from the other storyline of finding Pandora’s box and locating the other warriors possessed by demons. I don’t mind that detour, but I was hoping to see some progression in this arc.

But what she does provide hooks me in though. I’m seven books into this series, and Gena hasn’t revealed how the Hunters, humans who pursue and kill the Lords, started. Until now. In other novels, she gives you the gist of their beginning, but she hasn’t explained it in any great detail. So I appreciate the backstory to the Hunters. And their inception maximizes the level of world building.

Gena is one author you should keep on your radar. If you’re looking for an action-packed paranormal romance that will surely keep you up at night, pick up her books. You won’t be disappointed.

The Mystery Blogger Award

Hello, my bookish dearies! I haven’t been nominated for an award in a long, long time, so I’m excited to do this post! JoBeth @ Blue Binding nominated me for this award, created by Okoto Enigma. Thank you!!! I’ve been wanting to interact with the blogging community more, and this award does just that. I hope you enjoy!

 

Award Rules

  1. Put the award logo on your blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  5. Tell your readers three things about yourself.
  6. Nominate roughly 10-20 people for this award
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blogs.
  8. Ask your nominees five questions.
  9. Share a link to your best/favorite post that you’ve written

 

Three Things About Me

  1. I used to draw. Certainly not award-winning, but I dabbled in realistic until one teacher criticized my work and just killed my passion for drawing.
  2. I hate musicals, yet some of my favourite movies are. Nightmare before Christmas is my number one movie, and I can’t get enough of it.
  3. When I was young, I wanted to build a library of thousands of books (clearly, my dream isn’t dead), because my Mom is illiterate. For years she slowly taught herself some words, and when I was older, I taught her more. Reading is a privilege that some people take for granted. And I appreciate every book she’s ever given me.

 

JoBeth’s Questions

Is there a book that you continuously recommend to people?

HA! Just one? Wintersong, An Ember in the Ashes, A Court of Mist and Fury, and Six of Crows are the ones I automatically recommend.

 

What is the number one thing that you look for in a book?

Even if the story is a retelling or is something original, I want authors to make it their own. A good example is the ACOTAR series or the Lunar Chronicle series (I regret I haven’t read it yet. Don’t kill me!).

 

What is your favorite kind of blog post to write?

Joint reviews and bookish chats.

 

If you could be any book/movie/TV show character for a day, who would you be?

Right now? Kell from A Darker Shade of Magic. No doubt. I want his coat (who bloody doesn’t?!). And I want to travel to different worlds.

 

Where was the coolest vacation that you ever went on?

My choice may seem cheesy (definitely cheesy), and it may not be the coolest, but the vacation I took with just my mom to a cottage my family rented out is my favourite. I didn’t have to wake up at an ungodly hour, make food when someone told me to, and socialize with family members. I painted, I read, I swam, and I found me.

 

I’m being too cheesy in this post. Someone help me.

 

My Best/Favourite Posts

My review of A Torch against the Night is where I found my voice. I didn’t want to sound like a book critic, just me. And finding it took a lot longer than I had anticipated.

 

My Nominations

Now on to my victims (ahem, nominations).

  1. Grace @ Grace Gets Books
  2. Flavia @ Flavia the Bibliophile
  3. Zoe @ Book Addict Rambles
  4. Maddie @ Well-Read Twenty Something
  5. Sue @ Sue’s Reading Corner
  6. Suzy @ Suzy Approved Book Reviews
  7. Shelly, Abby, Casey, and Kira @ Dust off Your MacHalo
  8. Kathy @ Books and Munches
  9. Laura @ Snazzy Books

 

My Questions

  1. Who is your guilty pleasure author/series? Do you love to hate it or hate to love it?
  2. What is the latest book you’ve read that you’ve absolutely hated/loved?
  3. What bothers you in your favourite genre (e.g., love triangles in YA)
  4. What is the most underrated book/series/author?
  5. If you could pick a book you wanted to change, which book is it, and how would you change it?

Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White

And I Darken by Kiersten White

Published by: Delacorte Press

Publication Date: June 28, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Romance

Page Count:

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.


“So the question becomes, Daughter of the Dragon, what will you sacrifice? What will you let be taken away so that you, too, can have power?”

Powerfully captivating, richly dark, emotionally disturbing, and utterly gut-wrenching, And I Darken captures readers from the opening sentence. Don’t expect this world to be kind, and certainly don’t hope for the characters to be either. This princess will not only slit your throat but also revel in doing so.

Lada Dragwlya, the princess of Wallachia, thrives in brutality. She lives in a world where women do not rule and are the possession of men. When her father uses her and her young brother, Radu, as political pawns and sends them to their enemy, the Ottomans, she must play a deadly game in order to survive. When they meet Mehmed, the son of the sultan, their lives change. While they band together, their troubled and poisonous relationship may test even the strongest bond.

Historical fiction is somewhat difficult to work with since the author must not only make it believable and factual but also make it entertaining. Kiersten takes this part of history and claims it as her. Yes, she does stay true to important events, but she brings a new twist to this written past. And I Darken is dark, rich, engrossing, and richly detailed. It compels you to turn the page.

While I found this world Kiersten builds sinister and haunting, I wanted to find out how these characters survive in such a brutal world. I enjoy reading twisted stories, but sometimes I needed some time to process what just occurred and separate myself from the book.

And I Darken may be the difficult yet rewarding book I’ve read this year. It is a story about survival. Sometimes, people simply survive or die, and in this world, the odds are stacked against everyone, especially women. Kiersten explores the way life existed back in the 15th century. What she achieves is a beautifully written and plot-driven story. I haven’t read any of her previous work, but her attention to detail and richly layered and complex character arcs set the bar for other historical fiction novels.

 

“Her spine was steel. Her heart was armor. Her eyes were fire.”

The characters are at the centre of this piece, and Lada, Radu, and Mehmed captivate me beyond what I thought they would. Lada, my spirit animal and queen, will burn this world down and walk through its ashes. Her cruelty hides her weaknesses and her love she holds for Radu and Mehmed. Sometimes I thought that she was too vicious, but look at who she is. She’s the female Vlad the Impaler. The scenes where she shows her vulnerabilities overshadow her savagery. I love her progression throughout the story. And her scorn for the treatment of women enrichens the story.

Radu, my little cinnamon bun, breaks my heart. He faces constant beatings and torture at the hand of his brother and other children. But he transforms into a complex character. I welcome more gay characters, and Kiersten elegantly handles his secret part of his life, and I have to thank her for doing so. Mehmed, the sultan’s son, is iffy for me. The relationship among the three are more complicated than the synopsis portrays. Half the time I wanted to throttle him, and the next I sympathized with him.

If you’re looking for a YA story that breaks the mould and strikes its own path, pick up And I Darken. But understand that this book demands more than just your attention. Take a chance on it. This well-woven novel surprises even me. And I cannot wait how Lada, Radu, and Mehmed survive the next journey.

 

“Fire burned in her heart, and her wounded soul spread out, casting a shadow like wings across her country.”

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Published by: Tor Books

Publication Date: February 24, 2015

Genre: Science Fiction, Adult, Fantasy

Page Count: 400

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.


“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

You know, not often do I find a book that reminds me why I love reading. And now I’m in this dilemma where I have no clue how I’ll get back to normal life. A Darker Shade of Magic is a rare treat for readers who hope to go back to their roots and find a book that truly surprises them.

Kell is a dying breed of Antari, a magician who travels through parallel Londons. He’s currently a messenger for Red London, one of four Londons, and a smuggler. Smuggling is forbidden though. Now it may come back to haunt him. When a deal goes amiss, he flees to Grey London where he meets Delilah Bard, a cross-dressing, aspiring pirate, and inadvertently sets off a deadly ripple effect that that may just threaten not only their lives but all the worlds.

I let a glorious book just sit on my TBR and not read it until the series ends. Why? I don’t know. Maybe life got in the way, and I underestimated my growing list. I regret not reading this book until now. I just want to pass this book onto the next reader and say, “Stop what you’re doing and read it. Now.”

I’ve only read Victoria’s Monsters of Verity series but have heard a lot of this one. And it is unlike any other book I’ve read. There were times where I had to convince myself not to burst out laughing, only to fail and scare my cat. I’m a full-fledged fan of her work now. ADSOM is a beautifully executed story that shows another side to magic.

 

“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”

I cannot gush more about these characters. Kell is stubbornly loyal and protective to the end. That boy with those powers has a story to tell. He’s squeezed his way into my favourites list. The one character who sticks out is Delilah, or Lila. The quirky, clever, and dangerous pirate will capture anyone’s heart, then break it within a second. Her backstory intrigues me the most, and I was rooting for her from the start. I adore her. Both Kell and Lila blend seamlessly together, and I love how their chemistry carries the story. And finally an author writes a bisexual character who is realistic. I love Rhy, the devious prince from Red London and brother to Kell. You sense how much he cherishes Kell.

The four Londons take a life of their own. Victoria makes them into characters in their own right. Grey London possesses no magic. Red London strikes the right balance of it. White London is overrun with it. And Black London no longer exists because of it. She take world building to a new extreme, and I appreciate that she took the time to develop them. Don’t expect this book to be fast paced. It’s a slow burn, which she excels well in. I want the story to open up in an organic way, not rushed.

Don’t do yourself a disservice. Read this book, then proceed with the sequels. I know I will. I want to travel back to the Londons and see what these worlds have to offer.

Review: The Darkest Lie by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Lie by Gena Showalter

Published by: Harlequin

Publication Date: June, 29, 2010

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Page Count:

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


Forced to his knees in agony whenever he speaks the truth, Gideon can recognize any lie—until he captures Scarlet, a demon-possessed immortal who claims to be his long-lost wife. He doesn’t remember the beautiful female, much less wedding—or bedding—her. But he wants to…almost as much as he wants her.

But Scarlet is keeper of Nightmares, too dangerous to roam free. A future with her might mean ultimate ruin. Especially as Gideon’s enemies draw closer—and the truth threatens to destroy all he’s come to love.


“The simple fact was, he loved her. Loved her with every breath in his body, every cell in his blood, every bone and organ he possessed. He loved her to the depths of his very soul. Had only taken five minutes after she’d walked away to realize it.”

This dangerously addicting page-turner will surely keep you asking for more. The Darkest Lie, the sixth instalment in the Lords of the Underworld, takes paranormal romance to a new level. Gena is a master at her craft, and her followers expect nothing less.

Gideon, the keeper of Lies, cannot utter the truth, or he’ll suffer greatly. So when the keeper of Nightmares, Scarlet, insists they’re married, and he cannot tell if she’s lying or not, he knows he’s found trouble. While he searches for truth and tries not to fall in bed with Scarlet, their past may lead them down a dark road that may spell disaster for them all.

The Darkest Lie is a deliciously complicated character-driven gem that will hook you from page one. I’ve been curious about Gideon’s story since whatever he says turns into a lie. Gena throws you some glimpses of his character in the fifth book, when the Lords capture Scarlet. She doesn’t go the traditional route of a Lord finding a woman, they fall in love and in bed, then boom, they’re mated. They know each other, but Gideon infuriatingly cannot remember Scarlet, who uses his dilemma to her full advantage. He has to work back, discover who she is to him, and win her over, even though she’s hell bent on not falling for him again.

In Gideon speak, I thoroughly despised this next chapter. I couldn’t stomach the characters. In normal tongue, I bloody loved it. And I adore the characters. See what I mean? Scarlet transforms from a fiesty, unpredictable immortal warrior who wants to haunt people’s dreams to a broken, shattered, and utterly lonely woman with a past that damn near broke my heart. I thought that Gena can easily write ominous character arcs, but I’m impressed with how she wrote Scarlet’s.

What I love the most about this story is how Gena infuses the past with the present, how she makes her characters work for their happy ending even though it may kill them, and how she’s now introducing more Greek characters into the mix. I’ve been dying to see how Cronus, the king of the Titans, interacts with others, especially his estranged wife, Rhea. But what surprises me the most is the plot twist. Gideon suspects that an immortal may have altered or erased his memories of Scarlet. But what he and Scarlet don’t realize may just break them apart.

What stands out from this story is Gideon and Scarlet’s relationship. It’s emotionally charged. The intensity of it is what makes the story. Both are ridiculously stubborn. Scarlet is hesitant to let him in, with good reason. But he’s determined to win her over. Following their development is what cements The Darkest Lie as my top three books in the series.

Gena spins a complicated web filled with secrets, lies, heartache, and love. Each new edition to the Lords of the Underworld builds off from the last and keeps fans coming back for more.

 

What’s your favourite paranormal romance author or series? What do you like about them? What do you hate? Let’s talk.

Review: Missing by Kelley Armstrong

25487124Missing by Kelley Armstrong

Published by: Doubleday Canada

Publication Date: April 18, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Crime

Page Count: 384

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase


The only thing Winter Crane likes about Reeve’s End is that soon she’ll leave it. Like her best friend did. Like her sister did. Like most of the teens born in town have done. There’s nothing for them there but abandoned mines and empty futures. They’re better off taking a chance elsewhere.

The only thing Winter will miss is the woods. Her only refuge. At least it was. Until the day she found Lennon left for dead, bleeding in a tree.

But now Lennon is gone too. And he has Winter questioning what she once thought was true. What if nobody left at all? What if they’re all missing?


“It’s okay to feel for a creature in pain. And it’s okay to recognize that sometimes we can’t afford to feel, that it’ll hurt too much. You need to protect yourself and you need to let people in. It’s a matter of finding the right balance.”

I’ve been itching to find a new thriller. Kelley offers up a new, creepy, atmospheric thriller that keeps you guessing. Hidden family secrets, dark pasts, and missing teenagers make for a gripping story. So if you’re looking for your next summer read, pick up Missing.

Winter Crane hopes to follow every teenagers’ dream to leave Reeve’s End, a dying and isolated Kentucky town hell bent on chasing the youth away. But when Lennon, a boy she finds beaten up and left for dead in the forest, disappears, and his brother, Jude, shows up demanding answers, Winter may have stumbled upon a secret best left hidden.

With enough twists and thrills, Missing will keep you up at night. It wouldn’t let me go, and for three nights straight, I couldn’t put the book down. While Kelley finesses her thriller narrative, I can’t help but get immersed. She just captures your imagine and effortless flows from one arc to another. Missing has been sitting on my shelf for almost two months, and I regret not picking it up sooner.

Missing in not an easy story for readers who have faced physical abuse. It’s dark, utterly realistic, and creepy. Kelley builds off this ominous atmosphere that lends well to this lower-class environment. The social class brings a new element to this town, and you get a feel of the life for people defined by their area code rather than their worth.

This standalone YA forces you to examine every character. While it’s more plot driven, I feel as if it is a character study, and you ultimately question each one. What I love the most from this story is the characters. Kelley well defines each one, and you want to get to know them. Winter, who hopes to become a doctor, holds many secrets, and you’ll have to wait to see why her sister left. While going solo, she grows into her own. Her tenacity, survival instincts, and strength draw me in. Yet she still shows her weaknesses, which I appreciate in this genre. Her life, once her family moved to Reeve’s End, has only gotten worse. Facing physical abuse from her father only spurs her need to leave. I connected with this character instantly.

Lennon, a rich boy looking for Winter’s friend, sets off this thriller when Winter finds him left in the forest she loves. Her discovery and his eventual disappearance spark more intrigue once the story progresses. I’ll always be a sucker for the tall, dark, and broody. So while I liked Lennon and Winter’s pairing, his brother, Jude (Beatles anyone?), incorporates more mystery into this story. The banter between Winter and Jude cracked up and made me want to read the next chapter.

With a dark, twisted, and eerie storyline, Missing is sure to captivate mystery readers alike and bring back Kelley’s dedicated following. Don’t miss out on her latest book.

 

What do you look for in a thriller? What’s your next summer thriller? Let me know in the comments!

Review: Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

Published by: Greenwillow Books

Publication Date: June, 13, 2014

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Page Count: 528

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human, no matter how much he once yearned for it. He’s a monster with a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows—one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own.


“It wasn’t easy. The world was complicated. Life was hard. And so often, living hurt.

So make it worth the pain.”

Sometimes, you find a series that simply speaks to you. Sometimes it throttles you, demands your time, and throws you away once it’s done. And Monsters of Verity is naturally the latter. So don’t expect yourself to walk away clean from Victoria’s latest series. And don’t hope for a happy ending. Our Dark Duet is, by far, the darkest sequel I’ve read.

Six months have passed since August and Kate parted. And Verity hasn’t gotten any better with its monster problem. August now leads a team of his own, hunts monsters, saves the North refugees, and tries to protect what is left of his city. In Prosperity, Kate tracks down and kills monsters. But when she discovers a new beasty, she finds her way home, but it’s not the way she left it.

I don’t know what I am supposed to do with myself after I’ve finished this series. I don’t. I’ll move on to the next the book, obviously. But I feel hollow, empty, and slightly broken. Our Dark Duet is one of my most anticipated books of 2017. And I feel as if I walked straight into Verity and haven’t left since.

 

“There were two kinds of monsters, the kind that hunted the streets and the kind that lived in your head. She could fight the first, but the second was more dangerous. It was always, always, always a step ahead.”

I easily fall into this dark and vicious world. So believe me when I say that Victoria’s writing traps you from the beginning. Victoria doesn’t use action-packed scenes to move along the story. Instead she focuses on her characters, who are utterly flawed yet human. And I stress the last point. Kate finally shows her humanity. Her vulnerability grabs a hold of you and makes you see what being human truly means. I loved reading about her time in Prosperity. It gives me a better perspective on this complicated character who wants nothing more than to be a monster. But she’s more than her desires though.

Even though Our Dark Duet is a slow burn, it radiates existentialism. It demands you to figure out who you are, what you’re worth, what you soul means to you, and what you’re willing to do to preserve your humanity. I wasn’t expecting this effect from a YA fantasy. Sure, some fantasies will make you debate the difficult questions, but this one forces you to put down the book and think. Maybe that’s just my interpretation though. Victoria forces August down this road. He’s not the same Sunai who wishes to be human and who clings onto his hope for humanity. He fighting a battle on the streets and in his head. And with Sloan at the helm in North City, August may have to throw away his wish to be human so he will become the Sunai he is. Both Kate’s and August’s progression tug at my heart.

This dark and gritty world freaks me out, but I love reading every second of it. Victoria brings a new spin to monsters, which are the after effects of vicious crimes. Unfortunately, Our Dark Duet is the finale in this series. And I wish I could get more from it. The ending is killing me. I want to hold on more, but I have to let go.

At the heart of Our Dark Duet are two deeply flawed characters who live in a city dripping in crime, hatred, anger, and pain. What makes this sequel stand out are Kate and August and their journey through a dangerous landscape that may scare even the hardest people. Victoria’s work has something to say, so listen up. You may learn something from a monster who wants to be human and a human who hopes to be a monster.

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney

 

Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney

Published by: Clean Reads Publishing

Publication Date: February 14, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Page Count: 180 pages

Rating: 3/5

Source: eARC from Xpresso Book Tours

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The end of an Empire, The rise of a Queen

Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life. That is until two mysterious, and handsome soldiers show up at her apartment, and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster come from the magical and war ridden world of Kiero, and upon Emory’s arrival she will discover she is the long lost heir to the Royal Line and is thrown into the Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.

With both men being darkly woven in her past Emory uncovers hidden secrets, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.

Some things are better left in the shadows.


Receiving an eARC from Xpresso Book Tours does not affect my opinion of this book.

“We have all sacrificed something, even you. To have lost everything but have hope to rebuild the future is the strongest weapon in the world.”

I’ve been wanting to find new authors and series, so when I read some reviews of this book, I was interested to sign up for a tour. Black Dawn is Mallory’s debut novel. And even though it has a few rough edges, Mallory introduces you to an intriguing world brimming with magic and tainted by betrayal.

Emory Fae believes she’s your typical young woman. Nothing exciting happens in her life, until two men show up at her apartment and tell her she’s the lost heir of a war-torn world filled with magic. These men, Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster, hope she will be the flame for the Black Dawn rebellion, eventually lead them to peace, and reclaim her throne. However, Emory discovers her past holds more secrets than she can imagine. And she may not want to uncover them.

Mallory doesn’t give you a dull moment. From the first chapter, she jams in non-stop, high-paced action. One of my concerns of the book is that it can be fleshed out more much than just 180 pages. I felt that some scenes were too fast, and the first half of the book seemed too rushed. But don’t let my issue persuade you not to pick up the book though. The book improves in later chapters. And I was eager to see what happens with Emory.

The author also offers you a taste of this series. And, hopefully, with more sequels to come, you’ll get to see what happens to these characters. Emory, whose parents started the Academy for children who possess magical abilities and were killed by one of their pupils, now called the Mad King, discovers she too also has powers of her own. Being thrown into a new environment, and a new world, will test anyone’s psyche. But she finds out that she made the decision to have her mind wiped and to be sent to Earth. Well, I’m not surprised she has a hard time adjusting to the news.

I had a hard time warming up to Memphis, and I’m not the only one to feel the same. His treatment of his girlfriend, Nyx, throws me off. And I feel that he manipulates everyone around him, especially Emory, who he’s loved since they were children. Now Brokk I can get behind. His character arc takes a drastic change than what I imagined it might take. So I’m curious to see what Mallory will do with him.

With political plays, betrayals, and unanticipated plot twists, Black Dawn is a solid start to a new fantasy series.

 


About the Author

Mallory McCartney currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and their two dachshunds Link and Lola. Black Dawn is her debut novel, the first in a series. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found dog grooming, book shopping and hiking. Other favourite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.

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Giveaway

Here’s your chance to win a free signed copy of Black Dawn! The contest is international and ends June 22. ENTER HERE.

 

 

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