Review | Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

Published by: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: February 27, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Page Count: 352

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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Alosa’s mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he’s under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father’s justice.

When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first…after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen.


“I may not have been born in the sea, but I was born to rule it. I am the daughter of the siren queen.”

Alosa is back, and she is ready to defend what is hers. Going into this sequel, I wasn’t sure if it could top my love of the first. Oh, how was I thoroughly mistaken. Daughter of the Siren Queen reminds me why I love sirens and pirates. Tricia captures what intrigues you in Pirate King, then cranks up the thrill factor.

One downfall of the Pirate King is that it doesn’t explore the rich world Tricia has created. And while reading it, I hoped for more world building. But do not fret. Tricia comes through and shows us a devious world ripe for the taking. She makes being bad fun. And some authors don’t always achieve that feeling. But she weaves a wicked tale that will hook you in and make you want to slit some throats. I got lost in this finale, and I want the world to know this series is worth the risk.

As Alosa recovers the final pieces of the map that will lead to the lost treasure, her father’s secret surfaces, and she and her crew must race against the pirate fleet and her father in order to claim the treasure as her own.

Tricia beautifully executes a fast-paced thrill ride that keeps you on the edge. It’s almost as if you can smell the sea breeze, hear the flap of the sails, and feel the sword in your hand. She blends together loyalty, friendship, strength, and feminism to create a truly imaginative novel. And yet she squeezes in just a bit of romance, and I’m left breathless.

Even though this sequel is plot-heavy, I feel that the characters drive the overall novel. From little Roslyn to Niridia, they are the beating heart, and I fell in love with all of them. I left a special piece of myself with the crew of the Ava-Lee. I must say, though, Alosa and Riden are what solidify Siren Queen into such an enjoyable read. Both their chemistry, banter, and growth make my heart swell with pure happiness. And the way they connect with the crew is magical. However, Alosa’s development stands out the most though. She will be one of my cherished characters.

The author introduces us to more siren mythology and Alosa’s history, which is much darker than I anticipated. But what I adore is how she doesn’t make the sirens purely bloodthirsty. They’re more regal, majestic, and otherworldly. And Alosa reflects their qualities and characteristics while she internally battles with both sides of herself. That inner turmoil speaks volumes.

Daughter of the Siren Queen is one of the most enjoyable sequels I’ve read this year. Do not take another moment debating to read this series. You need to read it. Now.

“Your enchantments last long after your song fades.”
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Review | Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

Published by: Sourcebooks Fire

Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Magic

Page Count: 352

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead.

Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.


Then a bus crash turns Lula’s world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back.


“This is a love story. At least, it was, before my sister sent me to hell.”

Magic, lost love, tragic deaths, consequences, and one spell that changes everything, Bruja Born enchants readers who weren’t entranced by Labyrinth Lost. Going into this sequel, I had no expectations, but I can’t imagine skipping it now. I cried. I laughed. And I wanted more. Please, Zoraida, never let it end.

I wanted to love Labyrinth Lost, but it never hooked me like I wanted it to. With the sequel though, I finally understand why people love her work. I’ve been counting down the days when I find a witch story I love. And when it’s here, I am screaming for the final book.

Lula Mortiz tries to heal from the traumatic events that took place in Los Lagos, the in-between dimension her sister, Alex, sent her and their entire family to. I admit that I didn’t like her in Alex’s book. However, her vulnerabilities and her pain are what draws me to her now. And I love her character development. Losing her boyfriend, Maks, overpowers her every thought and self-control though. And the consequences to bring him back are more than she can handle.

The Latina magic system has always intrigued me. And Zoraida reveals more of this intricate world, which is what I’ve been hoping to see, and she raises the stakes. I loved travelling to Los Lagos. And seeing the universe she has created pulls me deeper into this richly layered series. What makes me love this book is how the author effortlessly crafts a believable world and family structure. Even though magic is a strong theme throughout her writing, the Mortiz family is the core. And sisterhood means more than anything to the Mortiz girls.

This fast-paced sequel is what I needed to convince me to stick with Brooklyn Brujas. The mythology wraps around you and sucks you in, and the diversity just makes the story that more compelling. Characters keep the storyline flowing, and I cannot remember the last time I’ve laughed at all the one-liners in a book. The sisterly bond makes my heart swell, but the fantasy finishes off a spellbinding novel.

Bruja Born may start off with a love story, but it ends with the strength of three sisters who defy the gods themselves. If Labyrinth Lost didn’t persuade you to take a chance on Brooklyn Brujas, reconsider. I want to read it again so I can step back into this magical place.

What do you look for in a series that contains witches? Which ones are your favourites? Let’s chat!

Monthly Wrap-Up | June 2018

Seriously?! June is over? I cannot believe it is. I’m kind of freaking out at how fast this year is going. So I needed to take some time away from blogging. My life has been too hectic. And just for the sake of doing so, I didn’t want to publish something half ass. But you’ll be seeing me around much more though!

Let me know how your June has gone! I’d love to check up with all of you.

 

Yeah, last month, reading took a back seat. I couldn’t decide which book to read, which one to hold off on, and which one to finish. I went back and forth from one book to the next. Don’t you hate you that? I know I do. I can’t stand it when indecisiveness rules my every choice.

But with the books I did read, I enjoyed. And I was finally able to read two of my most anticipated reads of this year!

 

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

⭐⭐⭐⭐½

I need to find my fellow Dantella groupies because I need to squee about this book. Caraval is one book that snuck on me when I didn’t expect it. And I’ve been eagerly waiting to read Legendary. But like other readers, I was hesitant to read a book solely on Tella’s POV. Tella is a tricky character for me. She bothered me in Stephanie’s debut novel, but I loved her in this one. Stephanie blends magic, intrigue, and politics and creates an enchanting experience.

I cannot wait to read Finale.

 

Smoke in the Sun by Renée Ahdieh

⭐⭐⭐⭐

This book is GORGEOUS. It rivals Flame in the Mist, and I thought that book was too beautiful for words. Smoke brings on a rollercoaster of emotions for me. Going in, I knew my favourite characters, Mariko and Okami, would suffer, but I was not anticipating the need to punch a wall and scream, “don’t hurt my babies!” at 2 in the morning.

Renée beautifully crafts a historical fantasy you’ve been hoping to read. And while the book is a slow burn, it will satisfy her dedicated readers. I’m hooked.

 

Winter by Marissa Meyer

This book is BEAST. I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m enjoying it. Even though I’m late to the game, I don’t want this series to end. Finally, the entire crew joins forces to take down the evil bitch queen we call Levana (bless my swearing skills). I feel the story starts off slow and then builds off of that. I enjoy seeing how each character interacts, and I hope to finish this monster off shortly.

I cannot wait to find more sci-fi books. I don’t want to miss any great series. So shoot me some of your favourite picks! I’d love to discover more!


Give it to me to buy more books than I read for the month. Okay, I can’t put the blame on that. I had several pre-orders, so don’t judge. What am I saying?! I’m talking to fellow book nerds.

I wanted to keep my book haul short for June since I wasn’t sure if I’d read this all (I’m glad I decided ahead of time, or I’d be kicking my butt right now). But I was able to pick up books I’ve been dying to read. And hopefully, I’ll get to them soon.

Who am I kidding? I’ll just keep adding to my pile. 😂

 

So what was your most anticipated book for June? Did you get into a reading slump like me? Let me know in the comments!!

Review | Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Published by: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: May 29, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Page Count: 464

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more-and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets, including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about-maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.


“Every good story needs a villain. But the best villains are the ones you secretly like.”

Sometimes a book captivates all your senses where you taste the candy apple on your lips, hear the music trickle out from every store, and watch the stars dancing above you. So how can Legendary top my love of Caraval? I’m still trying to catch my breath from Stephanie’s debut novel, but I recapture it with this book. And I want nothing more than to crawl back into this world all over again.

With Scarlet’s story, you rediscover magic. It tastes enchanting, and it doesn’t disappoint you. With Tella’s story though, this magic morphs into a dark, bone-chilling, ancient enchantment. It scares you, but you want more. Once again, Stephanie takes you on a magical yet emotional adventure. And I honestly thought I couldn’t love the sequel as much as the first. But I do.

Legend first shows you what magic can be in a world filled with pain. Now, he gives you the thorns along with the roses. New mythological creatures, the Fates, begin to weave themselves in the beloved and sought-out Caraval. And even though you should believe everything is a game, it isn’t now. The stakes are real. Magic comes with terrifying consequences Tella isn’t sure she can pay.

I thoroughly love jumping back into this world. I love trying to find out what will happen to my two favourite sisters, who Legend might be, and how this game plays out. But did I expect to be picking up the pieces of my heart once I finished the book? No.

In Caraval, I didn’t like Tella. But she develops into a strong-willed character who I was hoping for. She discovers that her mother is alive but trapped in a set of cards, the Deck of Destiny. But along the way of trying to save her, Tella uncovers buried secrets and owes a debt to a man who may rival Legend himself. This game demands sacrifice, and she must either save her mother by destroying Caraval and giving up Legend or save the game everyone lives for. But the girl who doesn’t want love may have it completely change the course of her entire life.

Dante is one character who I didn’t think would play a larger role in the sequel. However, even though I despised him in Caraval, I love him now. His complexity and depth are what make him one of my favourite characters.

The writing and storytelling hook onto your every whim and dream. You want to be a part of Caraval as much as the characters. And the suspense to reach the end is nerve-wracking. I adore how Stephanie crafts a single sentence that will break your heart but make you believe in this world. Love, sacrifice, betrayal, political intrigue, and ancient forces create an enthralling performance. I cannot wait to find the next ticket to Caraval.

Review | Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Published by: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: April 24, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Historical

Page Count: 352

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield-her brother, fighting with the enemy-the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.


“Ǫnd eldr. Breathe fire.”

Not many books put me in a slump. But after reading this book, I cannot stop thinking about it. Brutal yet beautiful, Sky in the Deep is rich and vivid. This character-driven novel will stay with me long after I slide it back on my shelf.

Adrienne blends together hatred and forbidden love, loyalty and forgiveness, and betrayal and acceptance. I’ve fallen in love with her storytelling. Even though I’d rather stay away from standalone stories, her debut novel makes me forget that fact. This coming-of-age storyline whisks you away to a lush landscape and unforgettable characters. And I wish I could travel back there more than one time.

Eelyn, a fearless Aska warrior, knows only survival, war, pain, and loss. She’s a relatable character who is fiercely loyal to her family and clan. She discovers her brother, who she thought has died, is alive. And the revelation that he would rather stay with the Riki, the rival clan, than find his way back to her just rocks her even more. This betrayal makes her vulnerable, and I wasn’t expecting this kind of character arc in a Vikings-inspired story. But that’s why it makes the story captivating. And I enjoyed it all the more though.

Don’t be fooled by this author. She effortlessly takes world building up another notch. Aska and Riki have long since battled each other. The clanspeople prepare for their day on the battlefield of Aurvanger. But they find a common ground when their people are threatened by the Herja.

The characters in this novel are what makes it stellar. They are more than just multi-dimensional. They feel tangible. Fiske, Eelyn’s love interest, will grow on you. At first, I wasn’t sure if I should trust him as a character, but this love-to-hate relationship is just what I needed. He challenges and forces her to see who he is and what her brother has become. The secondary characters are exceptional, which I don’t usually find in a historical novel.

Sky in the Deep mends the heart as fast as it can break it. It is one of the rare debut stories that will make you fear the battlefield but also give a reason to want to be on it. Filled with adrenaline and fast-paced scenes, this book is one of my favourite reads of 2018.

Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Published by: Imprint

Publication Date: September 26, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairytales, Retellings

Page Count: 288

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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Enter the Grishaverse…

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, the tales in The Language of Thorns will transport you to lands both familiar and strange-to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, each of them lavishly illustrated and culminating in stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.


“Dark things have a way of slipping in through narrow spaces.”

Over the last few years, I’ve been looking for more retellings, fairytales, and folklore. I can’t stop myself by gravitating toward them. What is there to complain about? Readers enjoy to jump back into a familiar story, feel at home, and just live in these stories. In Language of Thorns, Leigh whisks me away, and I love her writing, storytelling, and captivating characters. The more she writes the more I want. She has evolved into a multi-faceted and talented author who I can’t help but adore.

These stories don’t match her other ones. The tone and writing are completely separate but are a part of her Grishaverse. Is that a problem? No. I actually appreciate the separation.

I must also mention the artistry in and outside of this book. Sara Kipin, the illustrator, beautifully brings Leigh’s words to life. Each page reveals a new illustration in the book until the final one that gives you the end result. The book is worth the money, and, from time to time, I still keep catching myself flipping through the book. The Language of Thorns is a beautiful, haunting, lyrical, and dark collection of cleverly written tales. These stories aren’t you traditional folktale. She will take a traditional fairytale and turn it into a whimsically dark story of her own.

 

Ayama and the Thorn Wood

Ahh, I loved reading this story. Leigh weaves in bargains with betrayals, sacrifices, and power of an unremarkable girl, Ayama, who defies the odds of standing up against a beastly prince. Leigh incorporates many issues girls face in these kinds of stories: they can’t be the hero and must be pretty for them to have a good life. Ayama may be unattractive, but that fact doesn’t devalue her worth, and this story shows that sometimes the pretty girls don’t always get the happy ending.

 

The Too-Clever Fox

The anti-hero Koja the fox has never had a good start in life, so in order for him to survive, he outsmarts everyone in the forest. But this clever fox might be outwitted by a trickster he never sees coming. Smarts aren’t always a good thing.

 

The Witch of Duva

And here’s your twist on Hansel and Gretel and the evil stepmother. But that wicked old witch and mommy dearest aren’t the beasties you should fear. Leigh puts in the typical stereotypes in lore and then throws in a twist or two. I love this story.

 

Little Knife

Finally! Thank you, Leigh, for letting the girl not choose the man. Bow down to the queen. Give her that crown and throne. This tale is of a father who seeks the right, if I mean the most richest, suitor for his beautiful daughter and proposes a competition for all the men who want her. Whoever wins will get the hand of this fair maiden, but here’s a catch: she has other plans in mind.

 

The Soldier Prince

Leigh breaths in new life into this tale of the Nutcracker. He’s always there to serve, protect, and fight. But what if he wants something more in life. What if he wants something for himself. He finally wakes up. This story may keep you up at night.

 

When Water Sang Fire

I’ve found this story hard to read. The ending tore at me, made me want to hit something, yet showed me so much more. And that reaction is what I look for in a good story. Leigh throws in a new twist for this Little Mermaid retelling. What are you willing to give up so your people will accept you? What will you do to be who you want to be? Well, she sprinkles in some treachery and betrayal, and you have a poignant yet powerful tale.

And I finally meet a certain someone who goes by the name of Darkling. Bring on the swoon.

 

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

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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

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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: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

23299512This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Published by: Greenwillow Books

Publication Date: July 5, 2016

Genre: Yound Adult, Fantasy, Crime

Page Count: 427

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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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.”

From the moment I heard of This Savage Song, I’ve been hooked. For years, I’ve been hoping to find a refreshing take on a monster story. You and I have seen everything. But Victoria brings a new twist to fantasy and takes her spin to another level.

Kate Harker wants nothing more than to be a monster so she will gain her father’s respect and earn her rightful place by his side. August Flynn wishes to be a human, yet he’s a Sunai, who harvests souls through songs. Both live in a divided city, where violent crime breeds monsters. An opportunity arises that allows August to turn spy by watching over Kate. But when she discovers his true identity, both are thrown together and must escape after a botched assassination attempt.

Victoria’s eloquent prose captures you immediately. Victoria masterly layers in cleverly written twists into her coming-of-age story. Just to take it up a notch, she then injects music, which adds more to this complex book. But deadly political trickery plays a pivotal role. And yet you want to turn the next page and see what happens to these two teenagers.

Their lives cannot be more juxtaposed. Kate, while finally arriving in V-City, lives in grandeur and paid-for protection in the North, while her father, Callum, controls his monsters. August lives in the South side of the Seam, where he constantly hears screams and gunshots, and his father, Henry, and his men risk their lives to protect humans. I love the contrast Victoria slides in between these two characters. She reverses the gender roles in her new series. Kate, the daughter of a crime boss, prefers not to be human. She’s rather turn into a monster, like her father. And Victoria surprises me when she makes August, the son of a man who tries to keep his city together, more human than people. These sixteen-year-olds have grown up to be anything but teenagers. They have seen horrendous acts, and they’ve also committed some themselves.

I was hesitant to read a YA novel set in a school atmosphere. I prefer a YA novel that has no connection to one. However, Victoria plays with that setting in a unique way. Set in a future dystopian backdrop of the former United States, the first instalment in the Monsters of Verity series takes place more than a decade after the Phenomenon, which cleaved a city in two. Victoria opens up a corrupted and violent world, and through her captivating writing, she lets you witness the atrocities that walk the streets of V-City.  

Both Kate and August stand out against this evil. These main characters connect. And why shouldn’t they since they’ve been sheltered by their parents and must live up to the expectations placed on their shoulders. Their connection is what attracts me to this story. Kate sees August as a monster, yet she also sees herself in him. They’re polar opposites, yet they experience the same struggles. Both their character developments shape this book into a fantastic YA novel. You may expect some romance in this urban fantasy, and I feel there is some inklings of it, yet Victoria doesn’t bring it to the forefront of the story.

Victoria’s reimagining of monsters also draws you in. Each monster possesses a certain power: the Sunai steal souls by drawing out a tainted soul and is the rarest out of the three, Corsai feed on flesh and bone but cannot be out in light, and Malchai are undead creatures that feed on blood. Where have these beasties been all my life?! You gain my respect when you create new creatures that keep me on my toes.

She also builds a world where violence is paramount and prevalent. Violence takes centre stage. This theme may not sit well with readers, but I think she wants it to scream at people. You cannot say our society has improved over the last few decades. The way she addresses this problem impresses me, and I hope she continues with this theme in This Dark Duet.

I couldn’t put this book down. This Savage Song is the first book of Victoria’s I’ve read, but I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel and wanting to buy the rest of her series. Call me an instant fan.

What did you think of This Savage Song? Are you a fan of Victoria’s work? Let me know in the comments!

Review: The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter

2498983The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter

Published by: Harelquin

Publication Date: June 1, 2008

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy

Page Count: 368

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Gift from Friend

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


She has tempted many men…but never found her equal. Until now.


Though she has lived for centuries, Anya, goddess of Anarchy, has never known pleasure. Until Lucien, the incarnation of death–a warrior eternally doomed to take souls to the hereafter. He draws her like no other. And Anya will risk anything to have him.


But when the merciless Lord of the Underworld is ordered by the gods to claim Anya herself, their uncontrollable attraction becomes an anguished pursuit. Now they must defeat the unconquerable forces that control them, before their thirst for one another demands a sacrifice of love beyond imagining.


He was known as the Dark One. Malach ha-Maet. Yama. Azreal. Shadow Walker. Mairya. King of the Dead. He was all of those things and more, for he was a Lord of the Underworld.

Gena, yet again, delivers a heart-pounding and fast-paced story and immerses you in a deeply rich world that you don’t want to leave.

Weeks have passed, and new overlords lay claim to the Lords of the Underworld. Cronus has imprisoned the Greeks, who ruled over and cursed the Lords of the Underworld. Now he looks to test the warriors again by ordering Lucien, Keeper of Death, to kill Anya, the Goddess of Anarchy. But how can the leader of the Budapest faction kill her when he cannot fathom murdering the woman who is determined to win him and may just break this sombre warrior?

Gena amplifies the plot development tenfold while connecting it with this seductive storyline. The Lords continue to look for the DimOuniak (Pandora’s box), which the Hunters are hellbent to find and destroy. And to do so, they, with the help of Anya, travel to Rome to undercover the Temple of the Unspoken Ones, which holds ancient artifacts that will lead them to the box. While some readers may say, “Here we go again with another love story,” Gena isn’t afraid to add new layers to this series. The plot itself kept me hooked, and I couldn’t put the book down.

Call me addicted. I cannot get enough of these characters. And I thoroughly blame my friend for this problem. But I love her for buying this book, the third, and the forth, so we’re good. I  enjoyed reading The Darkest Night. But I admit this sequel outshines it, and I feel that Lucien cements himself as one of my favourite characters in the series. Since the first book, he has captured my attention. Come on, he’s Keeper of Death. The morbid nerd in me perked up when I heard of this tortured warrior. He once loved a mortal woman, and when her life cruelly ended, he scarred himself so he would no longer attract another. How tortured can a man be?

 

“Apparently, dancing for him and throwing herself at him weren’t enough. Apparently, she had to nearly commit murder to arouse him enough to attack her.”

Once again, Anya, daughter of Dysnomia and Tartarus, weaves her way into the Lord’s lives. You first see her at the end of The Darkest Night, where she offers Ashlyn a deal to break Maddox’s death curse. She exudes confidence, beauty, and sly intelligence, yet she creates a facade to hide who she is and what her past holds. I thought she’d bother me, since she can be somewhat ditsy, yet I love how she balances out ever-calm Lucien. Her backstory struck me much harder than I thought it would. And I can’t help but laugh at her determination to attract him. If this woman wants something, she gets it. And she’ll call him out on everything he does and says.

The sexual tension in Darkest Kiss may kill not only the readers but also Lucien and Anya. Gena has a knack for effortlessly incorporating that into her work. And the banter between them kept me laughing. He purposely avoids her since he doesn’t see why he should fall for any woman who will eventually die and how she can find him attractive, but Anya sees past his scars. Their arguing plays heavily into the plot. Nothing says love like killing and maiming. Lucien either must kill her or take the All Key, a key that allows her to escape any prison and an item Cronus dreams of owning. Cronus, the King of the Titans, plays a secondary character throughout the story and adds more to this mythology-rich plot. And I wonder how he’ll play a stronger role in the future sequels.

So take some advice from this PNR newbie and pick up this series. You may get obsessed as much I have gotten.

 

What is your favourite paranormal romance series? Let’s talk in the comments.