Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publication Date: September 26, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Page Count: 304

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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


Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumn lands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There’s only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.


“Why do we desire, above all other things, that which has the greatest power to destroy us?”

 

This book is magical and makes me sigh with delight. I feel remorseful for not picking it up sooner. Treat yourself to this whimsical novel, which will captivate you until the very end.

Isobel, an artist, possesses an incredible gift: the Craft, which the fae crave. She is known for her portrait paintings. Rook, the prince of the autumn court, asks her to paint his portrait, but she makes a deadly mistake by showing sorrow in his eyes. When he discovers her error, he whisks her away so she will stand trial for her crimes. But the two must depend on each other when they’re thrust on to a dangerous path that may threaten everyone.

Enchantment of Ravens slowly sneaks up on you, teases you with fae lore, then charms you all the more. I had such a pleasure reading it, and I hope we get more from this author. I’m surprised that Margaret is a duet author. Her writing captures your attention from page one. And the way she spins a sentence will surely make you hope for more.

We’ve been seeing a lot of fae-inspired stories and series. And I love quite a few of them. Now, some will stick to old fae lore where faeries are powerful yet vulnerable. In Enchantment, they cannot create the Craft (paintings, drawings, writing, and the such), so they rely on humans. And they can’t break the Good Law, which forbids fae and humans from falling in love. These mythical creatures aren’t what we’re used to seeing. Even though they have great beauty, their true form is haunting. Margaret makes these weaknesses more believable. She weaves in folklore, then incorporates enough political aspects to her story to intrigue you.

The writing and the world building will sweep you away and allow you to see a truly unique novel. I wasn’t expecting the level of detail and complexity in this multifaceted storyline. Margaret creates a lush and tangible world that I felt I was walking alongside the characters, who take centre stage.

Isobel, the protagonist, stays true to her Craft. She provides for her family even though one slip may put her life in danger. I adored reading her character progression throughout the novel. She fears giving up her talent, even when she falls in love with Rook. What’s significant in this story is that she doesn’t see the need to change who she is. Her Craft is everything. And that subtle yet important message speaks out to me.

Rook, that little cinnamon bun of quirkiness, is darling. Although he is odd, his character makes the story sparkle. I loved his weaknesses and his inability to understand humans. The relationship they build is rather precious, and I wasn’t anticipating to admire it as much as I do.

Enchantment of Ravens is one of a few books that surprises me. I want more. I want to see how Isobel and Rook’s relationship progresses. And I just want back in to wander this magical world the author has made. So I cannot recommend it more. Pick it up.

“When the world failed me, I could always lose myself in my work.”

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Blog Tour Review and Kindle Fire Giveaway: The Vixen’s Lead by Tate James

 

The Vixen’s Lead by Tate James

Published by: KDP

Publication Date: September 19, 2017

Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Page Count:

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Xpresso Book Tours

Goodreads | Amazon CAN | Amazon US


I want vengeance so badly that I can almost taste it. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. So, I did what any privileged, adopted boarding school girl would do. I slapped on a secret identity and became an internationally renowned thief, known as The Fox. Nobody knows me. Nobody can catch me.

Or so I thought…

It turns out; I have what they want. Special abilities. And trust me, these abilities are coveted–and dangerous. Now, I don’t know who to trust or where to go. Peril lurks on every corner as I try to uncover my past and origin. Teaming up with unlikely allies may be my only chance at survival or my biggest mistake. Only time will tell.

I’m Kit Davenport and this is only the beginning.


I’ve received an eARC for an unbiased and honest review.

“Don’t move from this spot, Vixen. There are some bad sorts in this room, but you’ll be safe here.”

Listen up, paranormal romance fans. Tate James is paving her way, and you had better not miss this series because it’s the next sizzling read you’ve been waiting for.

Hellbent on revenge, Kit Davenport—known as “the Fox,” a renown thief—teams up with her closest friend and fellow foster sister, Lucy. Together, they’ve faced untold pain by the hand of an abusive foster parent. Now, Kit steals from the very men who wronged them. And she hasn’t been caught yet. Until now. When a team of men stops an attempted abduction, Kit must confront her past, trust these men, and figure out how she has developed these abilities.

I’m not going to lie: I love this book, and I’m dying to get my hands on the sequels. I would have finished this in probably two days, but this cold kicked my butt. Nonetheless, I love it! And I recommend it to any PR reader who’s looking for a steamy, dangerous, and insta-lust novel.

Vixen’s Lead is my first reverse harem story. So I’m not accustomed to this type of storyline, but Tate weaves it in naturally. And it doesn’t ruin the overall story; it enhances everything. I also thought that this many characters might detract from the book. However, I fell in love with all of them. I was hoping for a bit more development, though. But the author plans on writing six books for her series, so I can’t hold that issue against her. This debut novel is more plot-driven. Tates adds in horrific backstories, hardened yet fragile (and relatable) characters, and action-packed scenes.

The relationship between Kit and Lucy will melt your heart. Tates gives you real characters who are still fighting their past and somehow working past their pain, albeit slowly. She also throws in sexy banter and steamy chemistry among Kit and these men who work for the Omega Group. I’d suggest you book some time off and prepare yourself for these delectable alpha males because there are plenty, and you don’t want to miss out on a single one.

The paranormal side works as a secondary arc in this novel. It plays a stronger role in the last half of the book and opens up new storylines for future books, so I’m not disappointed that it doesn’t take centre stage. Kit does. She is one of those female leads who will rival my own sarcasm, and I appreciate seeing that in a character like her. Her weakness will speak to many readers looking for believable characters.

I wasn’t sure if I’d like reading this story, but, as you can tell, I was wrong. And I’m glad I am. I cannot wait to read what else is in store for Kit. This suspenseful paranormal romance will make you ask for more.

Be warned that the novel involves several triggers that readers may not be comfortable reading.

 


Author’s Bio

Tate James was born and raised in the Land of the Long White Cloud (New Zealand) but now lives in Australia with her husband, baby and furbaby.
She is a lover of books, red wine, cats and coffee and is not a morning person. She is a bit too sarcastic and swears too much for polite society and definitely tells too many dirty jokes.

Website | Facebook | Instagram

 


Giveaway

I’m excited to announce the giveaway! Enter for your chance to win a Kindle Fire. This contest is open to American and Canadian readers. ENTER HERE.

 


Tour Schedule

Don’t miss out on the other reviews and posts!

December 11th
Rolling with the Moments >> Review
So Few Books >> Interview
Jenea’s Book Obsession >> Review
Meghan’s Mindless Mutterings: Reviews & Giveaways >> Review

December 12th
Rainy Days and Pajamas >> Playlist
C Exley Books >> Excerpt
Loves Great Reads >> Excerpt
Smada’s Book Smack >> Review
Novelties >> Review
Books,Dreams,Life >> Excerpt
Pervy Ladies Books >> Review

December 13th
Jazzy Book Reviews >> Excerpt
Lovely Paranormal Books >> Guest post
Chill and read >> Excerpt
Butterfly-o-Meter Books >> Guest post
Hawthorn Book Reviews >> Review

December 14th
BrizzleLass Books >> Review
Stylish Brunette >> Excerpt
Abooktropolis >> Review
Just Books >> Excerpt
The Avid Reader >> Review
JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder >> Excerpt

December 15th
Book Addict >> Review
Booked J >> Excerpt
tfaulcbookreviews >> Review
Books a Plenty Book Reviews >> Review
Reading for the Stars and Moon >> Review
Book Lovers 4Ever >> Excerpt

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Reading Wrap-Up: October 2017

 

I’ve had a long, long month. It’s been dragging on for longer than it should. Since school has basically killed my entire reading time, I could read only a few books.

How did last month work for you? What did you love reading? Let’s talk in the comments section.

 

 

Genesis by Collin Piprell

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Collin certainly knows how to write a great science fiction. I liked reading the first instalment, but I thoroughly enjoyed the sequel. He turns this genre upside down, then magically transforms it into something you didn’t know you’d read. I can’t wait until the third book!

Goodreads | Common Deer Press | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

 

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

I have never read such a beautiful book as this one. I cannot get over it. Leigh throws in new twists into our beloved fairytales, like Hansel and Gretel and the Nutcracker, then sprinkles in some Grishaverse into the mix. And the illustrator, Sara Kipin, just brings these beautifully told stories to life. If you’re a Grisha fan or a Six of Crows one, pick up this book. You’ll cherish it, for sure.

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

 

Haven by Mary Lindsey

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I wasn’t sure how I’d like Haven. Werewolves and witches? Same old, I guess. Wrong. Mary brings a twist to the long-drawn-out storyline, and I enjoyed every second of it. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of political play, romance, and backstory that’s in the book, but I certainly loved reading it! I’d definitely recommend the book to any reader who’s looking for something new in fantasy.

Check out my review!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play Books | Indiebound | iBooks

 

The Great and the Small by A. T. Balsara

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Killer rats, plague rats, conflicted rats, and conflicted humans. What more can you ask for? Illustrations. This book offers much more than just a story. I’m glad I signed up for this tour. And I’m also thrilled to support another Canadian author. Here’s my review.

Goodreads | Common Deer Press | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Blog Tour Review: The Great and the Small by A. T. Balsara

 

The Great and the Small by A. T. Balsara

Published by: Common Deer Press

Publication Date: October 31,2017

Genre: Young Adult

Page Count: 294

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Common Deer Press

Goodreads | Common Deer Press | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


Deep below the market, in the dark tunnels no human knows exist, a war has begun. Lead by the charismatic Beloved Chairman, a colony of rats plots to exterminate the ugly two-legs who have tortured them in labs, crushed them with boots, and looked at them with disgust for as long as anyone can remember. 

When the Chairman’s nephew is injured and a young two-leg nurses him back to health, however, doubt about the war creeps in. Now the colony is split—obey the Chairman and infect the two-legs with the ancient sickness passed down from the Old Ones, or do the unthinkable… 

Rebel. 


I’ve received an eARC for an honest and unbiased review.

 

“Over the mountains and across the sea, there came a terrible scourge…a scourge that would deal death not only to the Old Ones, but to all.”

When I first heard of this YA illustrated novel, I knew I had to sign up for the tour. And I am not disappointed with what I read. This dark, poignant, yet somehow relevant tale will keep you on the edge.

Courtsey of A. T. Balsara and Common Deer Press

Strength is tested, lines are drawn, and a war has begun. As more two-legs (humans) torture rats in labs and see them as nothing more than vermin, the Chairman, the leader of a colony of rats deep underneath the city, conspires to release the old plague that wiped out these evil beings. Their time is now. They can taste their revenge. But doubt seeps into this colony when the Chairman’s nephew, Fin, is wounded, and a two-leg decides to take him in and heal him. Now that act of kindness divides a once united colony.

Andrea, the author, weaves a richly dark tale that speaks to readers of all ages. At first, I wasn’t sure how dark this story will go, but she pushes against the boundary of writing and also incorporates real-life health scares like Ebola and, most recently, the plague. Throughout the book, she shows you the cruel side of our society, yet she then demonstrates our humanity. The contrast between the two is rather jarring but realistic though. How many times have you freaked out over seeing a wild animal, even a rat, but you’re an advocate for animal rights?

Courtesy of A. T. Balsara and Common Deer Press

The Great and the Small is a slow burn. Andrea builds up the story by adding complex layers and characters. But I don’t mind that build up though. It is a character-driven book that needs time to reveal itself to readers. What speaks out among these pages is Fin and Ananda, the teenager who saves him. I adore reading Fin’s story, especially his history, which is heartbreaking. I didn’t know if I could connect with a rat, but the way Andrea writes him just makes you fall in love with this deeply conflicted yet loyal rat. And Ananda represents the essence of real humanity. She doesn’t see a rat and cringe; she sees it as a living being that needs as much protection as anyone else. And while the scenes between these two are short, I relished them.

I was surprised by the level of world building Andrea mixes into her story. She creates such an imaginative and lively underground for her rats. The politics will keep you guessing as well. This world is built on a two-tiered class, which, regardless of what the politicians say, sets each rat apart and divides them. The Chairman, Fin’s uncle, is a cunning, ruthless, yet charismatic antagonist. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the author drew inspiration from dictators we’ve grown to hate. What I love is the anticipation in the book. This atmospheric tone in Great and the Small builds suspense throughout each chapter. And I had to question each character’s decision and action.

Courtesy of A. T. Balsara and Common Deer Press

Typically, you don’t see a lot of illustrations in YA novels. But these drawings bring out the story and enrich it. I enjoyed seeing them. And you don’t usually find a YA with an animal as the main character. However, more authors are testing the limits of genres and book categories. They’re not always limiting their readership based on just an age range. And I appreciate that both the author and the publisher have done just so.

This illustrated novel holds a strong meaning behind it. Sometimes the unlikeliest stories will teach you something or give you perspective on another that you weren’t sure you’d ever find. And The Great and the Small is that book.

 

 

 

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: Haven by Mary Lindsey

 

Haven by Mary Lindsey

Published by: Entangled Publishing

Publication Date: November 7, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Page Count: 400

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Rockstar Book Tours

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play Books | Indiebound | iBooks


“We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere, He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.


I’ve received an eARC for an honest review. It doesn’t affect my rating.

 

“I believe we all hide a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

Are you looking for a dark, twisted, and sizzling new YA fantasy? Haven‘s your book. With betrayals, forbidden love, power plays, and family secrets, it will surely keep you up at night as it did with me.

Rain Ryland, a misunderstood teen who can’t get a break in life, becomes an orphan when he loses his mother, who dies unexpectedly. He thinks he has an opportunity for a new start when he finds out he has an aunt, who lives in New Wurzburg, where he meets Friederike “Freddie” Burkhart, who warns him to stay away from her. Unfortunately, this new opportunity comes with a price, but he’s determined to save Freddie, find her father’s killer, and fight for someone who’s worth dying for.

I have to admit. I get an insta-love vibe off of this book, but, don’t let that fool you. Mary plays on that rather well. Haven reminds me of a shape-shaping version of Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. And I love how she doesn’t go with the female POV. It’s strictly Rain’s perspective throughout the entire book. I don’t see that often, so I enjoyed the change. Haven has a few rough edges, like Rain describing Freddie as perfect, but it kept me wanting more, kept me reading long into the night. It’s a refreshing story for anyone who’s looking for a quick read.

What surprises me the most is the backstory of the book. Mary wonderfully creates an intricate world with unique characters and intriguing history. Rain has stumbled upon a town where Weavers (witches) rule, and Watchers (shape-shifters/werewolves) obey. These characters originated from Germany and immigrated to the States when the German witch trials occured. Each character adds to the mystery of the town, which shapes into a character itself.

My favourites, obviously, are Rain and Freddie. Their chemistry is hot and intense and will keep you turning the page. Freddie, the only-female Alpha, refuses to back down, will protect her family and pact, and never runs away from a fight. I love her strong-willed attitude and her vulnerability because of her father’s murder. I’m a sucker for a tortured character, and Rain matches that through and through.

The world building is superb. Mary puts in a new twist in the overused werewolf and witch story. The politics in the world adds layers to this story and creates more mystery and suspense. I wasn’t expecting this kind of political play, but Mary pulls it off nicely. Haven is a fast-paced, intense, and dark adventure any fantasy lover will love to jump into.

 

“It’s said that on a full moon, that power of the earth reaches for the heavens at that one spot, infusing the surrounding area with magic strong enough to change man to beast.”

 


About Mary

Mary Lindsey is a multi award-winning, RITA® nominated author of romance for adults and teens. She lives on an island in the middle of a river. Seriously, she does. When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, two Cairn Terriers, and one husband.

Inexplicably, her favorite animal is the giant anteater and at one point, she had over 200 “pet” Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. The roaches are a long story involving three science-crazed kids and a soft spot for rescue animals. The good news is, the “pet” roaches found a home… somewhere else.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

 


Giveaway

Does Haven sound like your next YA fantasy read? Here’s your chance to win a free copy of it. One winner will receive a finished copy of Haven. Giveaway is for US residents only. ENTER HERE.

 


Tour Schedule

Week One
10/23/2017- Twinning for Books — Review
10/23/2017- Flyleaf Chronicles — Review

10/24/2017- Blushing Bibliophile — Review
10/24/2017- Ex Libris — Review

10/25/2017- Omg Books and More Books — Review
10/25/2017- Novelties — Review

10/26/2017- Deep Dark Feminist Reviews — Review
10/26/2017- Mama Reads Blog — Review

10/27/2017- Kendra Loves Books — Review
10/27/2017- Why I Read — Review

 

Week Two
10/30/2017- Bibliobakes — Review
10/30/2017- Betwixt the Pages — Review

10/31/2017- For the Lover of Books — Review
10/31/2017- Kati’s Bookaholic Rambling Reviews — Review

11/1/2017- Adventures Thru Wonderland — Review
11/1/2017- Tea With Mermaids — Review

11/2/2017- Hauntedbybooks13 — Review
11/2/2017- The Best Books Ever — Review

11/3/2017- Portrait of a Book — Review
11/3/2017- Nerdophiles — Review

Blog Tour Review: Genesis 2.0 by Collin Piprell

 

Genesis 2.0 by Collin Piprell

Published by: Common Deer Press

Publication Date: October 5, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Page Count: 660

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Common Deer Press

Goodreads | Common Deer Press | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


A nanobot superorganism lays waste to the Earth. Is this the apocalypse? Or does the world’s end harbor new beginnings? Life will always find a way. Though some ways are better than others.

Evolution on steroids and crack cocaine–the most significant development since inanimate matter first gave rise to life. You can’t predict novel evolutionary developments, you recognize them only after they emerge.

Then you have to deal with them.


“Immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be”

Stop, take a step back, and marvel at this creation. I want to pick apart Collin’s mind because his writing is beyond what I imagined. Collin takes science fiction and flips it upside down. So get ready, world. Here comes Genesis 2.0.

The last survivors of the human race have been lied to. Now their lives have changed, and they must learn to live in a world they don’t understand. Problem is that Brian, the original human malls operational manager (MOM) and general badass who wreaked havoc in the first instalment, is on the warpath with the self-aware artificial intelligence, Sky, who’s in bit of a hurry to reboot herself, and now the heroes may run out of time to save themselves and their loved ones.

I usually write my reviews within the first day or two after reading, but when I finished this book, I had to adjust my thinking, digest what I’ve read, and somehow wrap my head around this impossibly creative world building. Collin adds layer upon layer, and each one is unbelievably complex in its own right. He doesn’t just stick with one arc, whether story or character. He throws in multiple storylines, and somehow, they combine together to make a captivating science fiction story. He makes me want to read that genre.

At first, Collins throws you in a new environment with new characters. Son and his family live in mondoland, the real world outside of the generated realities and the former malls. He, one of the few people to be born after a virus that made everyone sterile, eventually meets up with our favourite characters Cisco and Dee Zu, two tests pilots. And that is where everything goes to hell.

Mondoland, the remnants of our old world, isn’t what MOM, or Sky, made it out to be. No superorganisms are out to kill the rest of the human race. And now since the malls, where the last survivors of humanity lived, are non-operational, and the main characters’ world is completely turned upside down, they must survive in a landscape they’ve never lived in.

Beyond the world building, Collin excels at writing a deeply flawed yet compelling character. Even Sky, the AI, shows her humanity, yet you want to die as much as Brian. But what stands out the most is Cisco and Dee Zu. They lose everything, they realize their lives were built on a lie, and yet they create an incredible bond. I enjoyed reading their scenes, even though they were short. And I’m dying to see how their future plays out in the third novel, which, if you haven’t figured out, I want right now.

I don’t always read science fiction, but I think Collin has convinced me to jump into that world. So here it goes.

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

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


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: 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

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


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.

Review: The Darkest Passion by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Passion by Gena Showalter

Published by: Harlequin

Publication Date: June 1, 2010

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy

Page Count:

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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


For weeks, the immortal warrior Aeron has sensed an invisible female presence. An angel-demon-assassin has been sent to kill him. Or has she? Olivia claims she fell from the heavens, giving up immortality because she couldn’t bear to harm him. But trusting – and falling for – Olivia will endanger them all. So how has this mortal with the huge blue eyes already unleashed Aeron’s darkest passion?

With an enemy hot on his trail and his faithful demon companion determined to remove Olivia from his life, Aeron is trapped between duty and consuming desire. Worse still, a new executioner has been sent to do the job Olivia wouldn’t.


“Because you aren’t who you think you are. You aren’t what everyone else believes. You might have delivered countless deaths but you love more fiercely than anyone I’ve ever known.”

Do you know how long I’ve been waiting for Aeron to redeem himself?! Okay, clearly not as long as other diehard Gena fans who have been with her from the beginning, but bloody long enough. He has been through enough, dammit. He deserves his happiness. And obviously, Gena blesses this glorious man with just that. About time!

Weeks have passed since Aeron, keeper of Wrath, has finally gained some semblance of control over his demon, after Cronus revoked the order to kill Danika and her family. Tormented, guilt-ridden, and angry, he senses another presence though. Olivia, a fallen angel sent to assassinate him, willingly offers her immortality to be with him. Duty or love may win out, but their union may be disastrous for all involved.

Gena skillfully weaves together betrayal, redemption, temptation, and sacrifice into her fifth instalment. This sequel is heartbreaking as it is sensual. Since the first book, I’ve been wondering how Gena will play out this storyline. Aeron battles with his demon, who demands he punishes any mortal or immortal who has done harm. Sometimes he doesn’t win. And with failure, he adds another tattoo to remind himself of his defeat. Until now, I haven’t liked this character as much as I have the other ones.

Gena now incorporates Christian mythology into her series. At first, I wasn’t sure if the blend between Christian and Greek lore might work, but surprisingly, they mesh together seamlessly. With the change in lore, Aeron questions mortality. He simply doesn’t understand how people face death yet still want to live. He also buries himself in his guilt. He feels the need to protect Paris, who gave up his chance to get Sienna back so Aeron could gain control over his demon.

What balances out this angst and guilt is forbidden allure between Olivia and Aeron. He fights her advances. And he refuses to touch her because he doesn’t deem himself worthy. I’m all for a demon falling for an angel. But you can’t have a Lords of the Underworld novel without the ultimate conflict that divides the main characters. Since Olivia failed to kill him because of his connection with Legion, Lysander, angel and mentor to Olivia, demands Olivia to choose: stay with Aeron and become mortal, kill him and become an angel once again, or watch another assassin kill him. What is a woman to choose? Clearly the Lord covered with tattoos.

In this book, Aeron finally grows as a character. I haven’t seen a lot of his normal side nor seen who he is as a Lord. And I enjoyed how he fends off Olivia. She gives off a timid confidence that draws you in. Since Reyes’ book, Legion, a green-scaled demon from hell, has stayed by Aeron’s side. Aeron sees her as a daughter. This demon wants nothing more than to boink this Lord. The little hellion with her affinity for tiaras almost claims my heart, until she messes up. I know why she makes this bargain, but understanding her reasons behind it doesn’t diminish my need to punt her across the room.

With the war between the Hunters and the Lords intensifying, I’m eagerly waiting to see what’s next. Gena’s writing demands your time and your attention. So be ready to stay up all night!