Review | Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong

Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong

Published by: PRH Canada Young Readers

Publication Date: May 22, 2018

Genre: Contemporary, Thriller

Page Count: 384

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase

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Three years ago, Skye’s brother Luka died in a mass shooting at the local high school. But there’s no sympathy for Skye and her family because Luka wasn’t a victim — he was a shooter. Now, Skye returns to the small town she had fled to start anew. But the scars of the past don’t heal easily. And there’s one person Skye dreads seeing most: Jesse Mandal. Her childhood crush and former best friend until the massacre tore them apart.

Told in alternating points of view, Skye and Jesse wade into the mystery of what took place that fateful day. But someone clearly doesn’t want Skye back in town, and when she and Jesse uncover new evidence that could clear Luka’s name, it becomes obvious that someone wants the past to stay buried.

In the aftermath of violence, someone has to pay. Blood for blood.


“There’s grief, too, but I bury that even faster. You aren’t allowed to grieve for someone like Luka. It doesn’t matter if he was an amazing brother. Luka Gilchrist was a monster. Write it on the board a hundred times and don’t ever forget it.”

I knew coming into this book that I’d more than likely be an emotional mess. And while I was, I have gained even more appreciation, admiration, and respect for Kelley, who takes on such a polarizing subject. This thriller will keep you up at night, tear you apart, and somehow make you question your thoughts on school shootings.

Aftermath is a thought-provoking, unapologetic, and in-your-face story that everyone needs to read. We as a society never look past a school shooting. We don’t forget the victims, the dead, and the survivors. But we don’t think of those families who must face the fact that their loved ones murdered other students. We shun them. We forget them. We allow our teens to bully their siblings. Yet Kelley makes you question if we should. And because of that, I will never forget this story.

Skye lives in the shadow of her brother’s heinous act, and she cannot move past her pain and her fear of what people think of her and what they want to do to her. She suffers from the past. And once she’s forced to move back to her hometown, she wants nothing more than to disappear. What she fears the most is seeing Jesse, her former best friend and childhood crush, whose brother died in the shooting. But the town hasn’t healed. And soon, she discovers some residents want her gone.

I’ve never cried harder over or sympathized with a character more than Skye. Her internal battle with herself breaks my heart. She constantly fights the thoughts of mourning over her brother and condemning him. But I utterly relate to this honest and broken character. And her scenes forced me to put down the book and breathe. But she faces more than just herself though. A town and the students of the new high school will not let her forget. And the only person she can rely on is Jesse.

Jesse Mandal struggles with seeing Skye show up. And at first, he pushes her away. But with the help of his forgiving mother, he knows she’s not the one to blame. These two evolve throughout the story. And while their past and pain shape them into who they are, Jesse and Skye refuse to allow these feelings defy them. But as he discovers evidence that may prove Luca’s innocence, their strength is put to the test. The thriller aspect of Aftermath still keeps my heart racing even as I write this review. And I am still feeling the after effects of the ending. I had some inkling that it may end the way it did. However, Kelley surprises even me.

She shines a difficult yet important light on mental illness, especially PTSD and anxiety. And she beautifully shows that there is more than one side to a shooting. This character-driven masterpiece is worth the pain and tears. And I cannot recommend this book enough. Buy it, read it, and bring the Kleenex. Trust me when I say that you’ll need it.

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Monthly Wrap-Up | May 2018

Oh, hi there.

So, did you survive May? I’m surprised I did even though I loved the month, except when I got sick. On my birthday. 😒 And of course, my bank account took a big ding. I never thought so many book releases would almost take me out. But I’m still standing. I think. What about you, dearies? Have you found some great reads?

 

Look at me tackling my TBR list, while I just add more to it. 😅 So I participated in Kathy’s Moody May challenge. Since it’s been so long from the last challenge I did, I forgot how to do this one. Even though I knew I should have read the new releases, I couldn’t resist reading the Lunar Chronicles. And yes, this is where you can totally nerd out with me. I won’t judge.

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

⭐⭐⭐¾

ACOTAR is, by far, one of my favourite series. And while I loved a good chunk of this novella, I was wanting more. What saves it though is Nesta. I adore her, and I’m eagerly awaiting to read her story and Cassian’s. I just hope my ship has not sunk. Sarah sunk the last two, and I’m still bloody LIVID.

 

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I AM A LUNAR FAN. (*cough* fanatic *cough*) And I need help, like a peer support group or something. 😂 I completely regret not reading this series before. I’ve had so many readers and bloggers try to get me to read the Lunar Chronicles, but I had to wait until 2018.

Cinder will always be one of my favourite characters. I adore her and Kai, who is such a little cinnamon bun.

 

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

⭐⭐⭐⭐

When you combine an alpha female, a quiet and shy love interest, and thrilling action scenes, you’ve got me hooked. I loved this sequel. I was a bit scared going into it though. I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially with some negative reviews. But Marissa does not disappoint!

 

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

⭐⭐⭐½

I wanted to love it. I’ve been a huge Red Queen fan. My bestie and fellow blogger Dana @ Dana and the Books got me hooked on the series, so I was eagerly waiting for the finale, especially after that devastating epilogue in King’s Cage. But I feel a bit disappointed with this book’s ending. One character who made up for my disappointment is Evangeline. Surprised much? Yeah, me too. But I love her character development.

Review to come soon!

 

Cress by Marissa Meyer

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Oh my stars. (Oh God, I’m using the book’s language now.) I’ve been waiting to read about Thorne! That cocky ball of fluff is one book boyfriend I’ve been wanting to see. And Cress is more adorable than I thought she was. I want to wrap her in a blanket and protect from the world. This book made me cry, and I wanted to stab Levana more than I thought. But that ending though! I want to pick up Winter now.

Don’t miss my review, which will come shortly.


Do you know when you’ve pre-ordered so many books that you forgot you’ve ordered them? Well, that’s how May turned out for me. Even the delivery people commented on my packages. 😂 And I never knew I’d hit that kind of high (or low?) before. But here I am.

Yes, I splurged, but I deserved a nice birthday. My credit card would like to say otherwise.

So which books disappointed or surprised you last month? What are you looking for in June? Did you find your next book boyfriend or girlfriend? Let’s chat!

Review | To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Published by: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: March 6, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Retelling

Page Count: 342

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase

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Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?


“He belongs to the ocean. He is made from it, as much as I am.”

Alexandra Christo’s To Kill a Kingdom makes my little black heart sing. When I picked this book, I wasn’t sure I was waiting for it. And I cannot imagine my life without it. Alexandra gives you a reason to love villains.

Only a few books have achieved this feat, but To Kill a Kingdom slays every expectation. And it instantly finds its rightful place on my favourites list. This loose reimagining is wicked, brutal, and tempting. If you’re looking for villainous main characters, this book is your next read.

I bought this book a whim. It snuck into my life when I needed just a taste of badassery. And let me tell you: I love it. Alexandra captures the true essence of sirens. You don’t get the PG version we 90s kids were force fed. You see their merciless side, and you’ll be wanting more once you’re done. These sirens will watch as you drown, then tear out your heart. So do not expect any singalongs. Even when life called me back, I didn’t want to put down the book.

The characters beautifully complement the storytelling. Lira, the Prince’s Bane, is a ruthless and royal siren who will get what she wants: the heart of Prince Elian. But the Prince-turned-pirate desires nothing more than to rid his world of sirens. Yet when he finds her adrift in the ocean and doesn’t know who she is, they must work together to find a way to kill the Sea Queen. I adore hate-to-love relationships. I don’t care what anyone says. This trope has value, and it creates a dynamic story. Now, I don’t always enjoy the secondary characters. But with Elian’s crew, I can’t help but do so.

Both Elian and Lira are savage in their own way. But you see glimpses of who they truly are. I enjoyed seeing a prince who doesn’t want a crown. Instead, he craves the sea, and no matter the cost, he’ll protect it and his crew. Lira’s past will give you a better understanding as to the reason why she’s cruel. Yet even with a vicious mother, she holds onto her humanity, and Elian knows how to tease it out of her.

I don’t also buy standalone books. I enjoy visiting a series and reliving my favourite scenes. So I’m a little disappointed we don’t get a sequel. However, if you’re looking for stunning world building and stellar characters with a wicked side, look no further. But if you’ve come for the Disney version of My Little Mermaid, turn back now. The savagery is what intrigued me, but I love the masterful storytelling.

Review | Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Published by: Feiwel and Friends

Publication Date: January 3, 2012

Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Page Count: 400

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase

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Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.


“I’m sure I’ll feel much more grateful when I find a guy who thinks complex wiring in a girl is a turn-on.”

Cyborgs, the plague, moon people (I’m freaking out right now!), an adorable romance, and deadly politics perfectly entwine to create a memorable start to an equally unforgettable series. And I’m about to have a fangirl attack.

Give me a second to process my emotions, especially my regret for not reading this series sooner. But if I don’t let out my giddiness, I may explode. I’ve avoided science fiction series for years. Why? I had too many high expectations and didn’t want to be let down. But with this glorious book, I feel it has restored my love of science fiction. So if you have any recommendations, here is your moment to nerd out with me.

Cinder has awoken something my inner nerd has been craving lately. Yes, cheesy as it may seem, this book has. I understand I came to the fandom late, but I can’t help but become an instant fan. I don’t usually reread books, but I want to crack open that cover again. So get ready for a review with fangirling cranked to high.

Living in a new world where she has little to no rights, Cinder, a cyborg mechanic, somehow doesn’t let her miserable life prevent her from dreaming. And I respect that strength. She uses sarcasm as a way of coping with and living in this society. Not many people know that I come from poverty. So I instantly connected with her. And throughout this page-turner, I relished seeing her growth by standing up to her guardian. The budding relationship with Kai, the prince, had me turning the pages quicker than I could read it. I loved their brief interactions, and I need more in the sequels. Their banter had me snorting with laughter.

Marissa magically threads together different arcs in her story. Not every YA will perfect political intrigue. Some authors will dabble in it, but others don’t succeed. But she does. I enjoyed the politics. It is a growing threat in the background, and that effect creates suspense, which I loved. And in some way, she also merges an atmospheric future with a well-loved fairy tale. Her storytelling kept me enthralled for the entire time I read Cinder. I forget the last time I read a book in just twenty-four hours.

I feel like I missed out on waiting for the next installments. And I wish I were a part of that experience. But I don’t regret reading this beautifully crafted sci-fi. This futuristic story adds just enough sarcasm, intriguing storylines, and a new twist on retellings. So don’t be a fool like me. Read this book. Now.

Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Published by: Little, Brown Books

Publication Date: January 2, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Page Count: 370

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase

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Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.


Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear.

I don’t usually find a book that renders me useless when writing its review. But Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince does all that and more. I struggle writing it because I wonder how I can possibly match the level of creativity in this book. I certainly hope so, but let’s get one fact straight: I am an instant Holly fan. And I want to go back to Elfhame.

Political power plays, deception, and betrayal beautifully introduces you to a wicked and depraved world where deceitful acts are a way of life in Faerieland, and you must be brutal to survive this magnificent yet threatening landscape.

Holly brings you complex and multi-faceted characters who outwit their enemies and betray their family. What do you expect from the fae? In this harsh world though, humans are sometimes no better than the faeries who trap them in Faerieland.

Most of all, I hate you because I think of you. Often. It’s disgusting, and I can’t stop.

Jude—whether villain or heroine—adapts rather well even though the fae man who brought her and her sisters killed their parents in front of them. Forced to live in this surreal land, she lets her revenge guide and forge her into a warrior, and her ambition to never be weak again shapes her into a clever and devious main character. She kept me guessing her every move. And her development and scheming make this book captivating.

Cardan, the broken prince with a past to hide, surprises me. Yes, at first, I couldn’t stand how he treats Jude and her twin sister, Taryn. But this world has molded him into the wicked prince he is. But that reason is not an excuse though. And yet this character conceals more than what he shows though. I’m intrigued to see how his character development unfolds.

The family dynamic builds throughout the story. Taryn often warns Jude not to offend or to draw attention from any of the fae, especially from Cardan. The three sisters’ relationship is rather complicated, I find though. Vivienne, the oldest sister who is half-fae, infuriates me since she doesn’t shield her siblings from her world. But these siblings grow to love General Madoc, which murdered their loved ones. In the end, Jude wonders who she can trust. Will blood betray her, or will she be forced to deceive them?

Even though Holly’s writing is inspiring, it never stops you from seeing the seedy underbelly of the fae and their land. The vicious behaviour faeries show toward humans harshly contrasts against the elegance of this world. Holly reminds you that even though they are stunning, with a smile on their face, they’ll always find a way to slit your throat. This constant threat heightens the storyline. And I have to admit, that I love that.

With court and political intrigue, a budding dark romance, and atmospheric writing, Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince reveals the dark side of Faerie. It is one of the most gratifying books I’ve read in a long time. And now I’m counting down the days until I have The Wicked King in my hands.

Review: Everless by Sara Holland

Everless by Sara Holland

Published by: HarperTeen

Publication Date: January 2, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Page Count: 368

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase

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In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.


What if the person to be feared is me?

 

Sara Holland’s debut novel will transport you to a dark and twisted world where people pay with time. This eloquent and beautiful story enchants, surprises, and shows you that Sara possesses a raw talent YA readers have been waiting for.

Jules Ember, along with her father, left her life in Sempera, a ruthless kingdom where the elites, the Gerlings, extract time from the poor so that they will prolong their own lives. As she discovers her father is dying, she decides to find her way back to this city where she was forced to leave because of a deadly secret. But as time reigns supreme, she uncovers secrets that may threaten her and the people she loves.

Sara has amazed me with her writing, storytelling, and world building. I don’t always find a YA that keeps me hooked and makes me want more once I’ve finished reading. But Everless does just that. I actually need the sequel. She hauntingly portrays how cruel this kingdom is. And the originality of her storytelling impresses me. I rarely say that about a debut author. She sets up Everless as a slow burn with hints of romance and some action injected in periodically. And I must say that Everless reminds me why I love YA.

Sara weaves together the past, present, and future into this spellbinding fantasy filled with political games and deceit. Time is currency, and you will discover that the rich always thrive, and the poor suffer. She brings a realism to her book by introducing a two-tiered society. The poor will give up their remaining years, which is extracted from their blood and turned into currency, so they can feed their families or pay the rent. What strikes me the most is how the aristocrats, who hoard these time coins or devour them to lengthen their lives, are often oblivious to the consequences of this currency. The parallels between this realm and our own society leap off the page.

This atmospheric YA also offers some treats. The mythology is the highlight of the story, as it guides the narrative along. And as the story progresses, I fell in love with these multi-dimensional characters. Poverty has shaped Jules into who she is, yet her quiet demeanor draws you in. I often find the quietest voice to be the loudest. The two Gerlings brothers, Roan and Liam, are polar opposites. I do not trust Roan though. Yet Liam, the brother Jules originally fears, is the hidden gem I surprisingly like. The relationship between Jules and Ina Gold, the Queen’s ward, is outright refreshing. They both love Roan, yet they aren’t fighting each other to win his love.

Everless unsettles yet allures you. Secrets, plot twists, deception, and hidden family history shape this debut novel into a stunning and compelling series. I cannot wait to see how Sara concludes it.

 

It’s possible to feel joy and grief at the same time. It’s possible to look forward to the horizon while mourning what you’ve lost.

Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross by Marie Lu

Published by: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Publication Date: September 12, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Page Count: 353

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase

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For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem…and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.


“Every locked door has a key. Every problem has a solution.”

Sometimes you find that one book that simply changes everything for you. It excites you, scares you, shakes you up, then surprises you. With power plays, hidden character motivations, impressive storytelling, and a stellar cast, Warcross won’t disappoint. Virtual meets reality in this lush YA sci-fi. So listen up nerds: you need to read this book.

Virtual reality has swept the world, all because of a video game called Warcross. People now live and breathe it, like Emika Chen. The odds stacked against her, she hacks into the opening games, but she accidentally glitches herself in. Instead of prosecution, she receives a job offer from the game’s creator. But being a spy may prove more dangerous than she thinks. She soon reveals a plot that may threaten every player involved, including herself.

My little inner nerd is tingling. Tingling. I haven’t been this giddy about a book in a long time, and I’m still riding the high. I didn’t know what to expect, but I wasn’t expecting this. This multidimensional storyline will hook you in the moment you start reading. I do not possess a single complaint about it. And I don’t see a flaw (do you know how rare that is for me?). Marie effortlessly guides you through the bright and rich streets of real and virtual Tokyo, dazzles you with this highly imaginative game, and makes you fall in love this futuristic world. You feel as if you’re in Warcross. You can just reach out and touch it.

Characters are the foundation of this book. I cannot help but love the diversity here. You not only get an Asian MC but also see disabled, lgbtq+, flawed, and utterly relatable characters as well. What I love the most is that the author doesn’t force the diversity. It flows naturally.

Emika, the rainbow-haired hacker, captures your attention. Her pain seeps through. She has lost her father and may lose everything else when Hideo Tanaka, creator of Warcross, offers her the position as spy. I relate to her immediately. Her determination to survive adds to the complexity of the story. And once she connects with her team, her development grows tenfold. Hideo is harder to read. He creates a universe no one has seen before, but his past haunts and controls him.

The game itself is a close second to the characters. You get a mix of an augmented reality game like Pokémon GO with a dose of the movie Gamer. Warcross demonstrates how easy our society depends on electronics and our need to stay connected to the online world. I love how Marie subtly includes that fact in her writing. The story is more believable that way. Marie also addresses the underbelly of both the real and the cyber world. This world building opens up the opportunity for readers to see the dangers the lush game has to offer. Even though Warcross is artificial, it is founded in reality. Corruption and a faulty justice system already create a seedy landscape and confirms that our society is flawed.

Warcross surpasses my expectations. It captivates gamers and nongamers alike. It shows how humanity has changed because of our obsession with the digital world. And somehow along the way, it gives you a glimpse of that humanity in a girl who has nothing to lose. I don’t just want the sequel, but I need it.

Review: The Darkest Surrender by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Surrender by Gena Showalter

Published by: Harlequin

Publication Date: September 27, 2011

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Page Count: 426

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase

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Possessed by the demon of Defeat, Strider cannot lose a challenge without suffering unimaginable pain. For him, nothing stands in the way of victory. Until Kaia, an enchanting Harpy, tempts him to the razor’s edge of surrender.

Known among her people as The Disappointment, Kaia must bring home the gold in the Harpy Games or die. Strider is a distraction she can’t afford because he has an agenda of his own-steal first prize, an ancient godly artifact, before the winner can be named. But as the competition heats up, only one prize will matter-the love neither had thought possible.


“He held fire in his arms and he desperately wanted to be burned.”

Gena takes the essence of paranormal romance and cranks it to a thousand. The Darkest Surrender will take you on a pulse-pounding ride and won’t let go!

Strider, the keeper of Defeat, wants nothing more than to not find his mate. But when Kaia Skyhawk, a harpy, tempts him more than any other woman, he knows he’s in trouble. Yet he reluctantly agrees to be her temporary consort for the Harpy Games, which he can’t lose, or he might never find the Paring Rod again.

Sarcasm, witty banter, stubbornness, and a tantalizing love story create such an entertaining novel that will surely hook any hardcore Gena fan. I read the eighth Lords book back in August, and it stuck with me ever since. Gena has a way to write tortured characters, but with Strider, she doesn’t go that route. Strider is a dangerous, deadly, and steamy Lord who will win at everything, if not, he suffers horrendous pain at the hand of his demon. He tempted fate when he thought he was falling for Haidee, Amun’s woman, but he doesn’t know what he’s walking into when Kaia chooses him as her consort.

So don’t expect the tormented storyline, because you won’t get it in this sequel. Strider has the biggest ego and isn’t afraid to flaunt it. And Kaia is his equal in every way. Their love story will give you relationship goals. Gena sometimes sways away from the original storyline of finding the artifacts that can save or kill the Lords. In this sequel though, while she now incorporates that arc and also focuses on the romance, she seamlessly combines the two.

In the Darkest Whisper, fans of the Lords of the Underworld were introduced to harpies, but they haven’t entered that world fully. So don’t worry. Gena doesn’t disappoint. I’ve been waiting to see how this world works, and let me tell you: don’t piss of a harpy, or you’re in a world of hurt. In this instalment, Kaia, nicknamed the Disappointment, must compete in the Harpy Games, where harpies battle each other to win a prize and bragging rights. This year, the Paring Rod, an artifact that rends a soul from a body, is said prize. But her past comes back to haunt her.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the banter and fighting between Strider and Kaia. They’re fire and oil, and somehow they work together perfectly. What surprises me the most is how Strider steps up and becomes the man Kaia needs. Some readers say that Kaia is the star of Strider’s book. But I disagree. Strider needs a woman who is his equal but isn’t afraid to put him in his place. He isn’t looking for redemption. Kaia transforms him into the man he should be. Their character developments make the book and set it apart from the other Lords books.

If you’re looking for steamy love scenes, banter that will make you laugh throughout the night, bigger egos, and a sizzling romance, don’t miss this book. I cannot get enough of this book, and I highly recommend it to any paranormal romance readers. Lords of the Underworld is getting better and better.

Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

27840861.jpegCrooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Published by: Henry Holt

Publication Date: September 27, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Mystery, Crime

Extent: 546 pages

Rating: 5/5


When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.


“When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.”

I finished this book back in December. But writing this review took even longer. I adore this series and absolutely fell in love with both books. But the both of them stuck with me long after I finished. Not many books have that effect on me.

Instead of revelling in the spoils from the greatest heist ever pulled off, this badass, chaotic gang Katterdam dredges up from the ruthless Barrel looks for retribution. Double-crossed, Kaz and his group race against impossible odds to save one of their own, pull off another job, and prevent jurda parem, a highly addictive drug that changes Grisha powers, from slipping into the wrong hands.

The stakes touch on insanity. Leigh blends together power plays, masterful arcs, heartbreaking pasts, and unattainable love in this ingenious sequel. I don’t know how I can possibly express how much respect I have for her. I’m still picking up the fragments of my shattered little organ I once called a heart.

Leigh masterminds a well-thought-out story that kept me thinking and picking over every little detail, and yet she fools me every bloody time. Crooked Kingdom is one of my favourite reads in the last few years. She combines an intricate storyline, engaging characters and antagonists, and arcs I hadn’t seen coming. The character development just completes the book and series. These characters bring more vibrancy to this world. You don’t fall in love with the world; you fall for them, who keep calling you back.

 

“I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

The diverse team currently deals with the aftermath of its heist gone wrong. In Six of Crows, Jan Van Eck tricked Kaz, the cleverest mastermind in Katterdam. And I think you all know what happens when people cross the Bastard of the Barrel. Scheming face? Scheming face. He matures into the most cunning and well-written character out of the gang (out of any series really), yet I didn’t see enough of him. However, the moments Leigh offers you make up for his absence. I haven’t wanted a character to succeed, break the bonds that bind him, and win than I have with Kaz. You can’t imagine how happy I was when witnessing his growth. Kaz’ disability, psychical and mental, isn’t his shield. It grows into his strength.

That girl Inej has more balls than, I dare say, Kaz does. She kills it in this book. Leigh reveals her weaknesses and her insecurities, then somehow gives her a life she isn’t hoping for but keeps fighting to get. Kaz and Inej’s relationship slowly unveils. The littlest actions show how much he loves her. They’re a smouldering chaos that would bring Katterdam to its knees.

Jesper is one cocky bastard, I’ll tell you that. His past, his powers, and his growth just add to the book. I wanted to smack him in the last one, but now, I’ve fallen in love with getting to know him more. And Wylan, that little devil, may just break every heart imaginable. He somehow brings semblance to these delinquents.

Nina and Matthias grow into the brightest flame of the book. I consumed every passage, conversation, and slightest touch between the two. He transforms into the character I wanted him to be. And bless Nina, this woman owns my heart.

My love for these crazy characters has transitioned into the fanatical zone I’ve never thought I’d cross.

Crooked Kingdom lives up to the claims. It’ll make you cry, rage, scream, cheer, and otherwise obsess over Leigh’s beautifully crafted world. Each characters’ personal battles will break your heart but keep demanding more from you. I want back in to Katterdam. I want to know how Kaz will fleece another pigeon, and I just want to live in this pandemonium.

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

17927395A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Published by: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: May 3, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Retelling

Page Count: 626 pages

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase


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

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


“I was not a pet, not a doll, not an animal. I was a survivor, and I was strong. I would not be weak, or helpless again. I would not, could not be broken. Tamed.”

Do you know when a book sneaks up on you and sparks your every emotion, then buries itself deep in your conscious, where you can’t stop thinking about it? Well, A Court of Mist and Fury is that book. This poignant yet alluring and seductive sequel has hollowed me out, and I’m stuck with the worst reading slump imaginable. Betrayals, political plays, captivating arcs, and stunning plot twists set ACOMAF apart from other books.

After surviving Amarantha, who enslaved the High Lords of Prythian, Feyre tries to move past her guilt of what she’d done Under the Mountain. She survived the trials that broke Tamlin’s curse. But this mortal-turned-High Fae discovers that more than just her body was broken. Tamlin changes. And she must fulfill her pact with Rhysand, the Night Court’s High Lord. But her world shifts, and she must now live with the aftermath. But once she heals her mortal heart and discovers who she is, a new threat from Hybern’s King may just take it all away.

 

“When you spend so long trapped in darkness, you find that the darkness begins to stare back.”

ACOMAF breaks the mould for sequels. It is light and dark, hate and love, and pain and happiness all rolled up in a beautifully executed book. I haven’t devoured a book with this intensity than I have with ACOMAF and haven’t been this impressed with one in a long time. I don’t want this series to end, because I feel I haven’t experienced and lived in it long enough.

 

“He locked you up because he knew—the bastard knew what a treasure you are. That you are worth more than land or gold or jewels. He knew, and wanted to keep you all to himself.”

Feyre‘s development is emotionally charged. It makes for a beautiful yet difficult arc to read. I can’t remember how many times I wanted Feyre to find a way to heal herself from the past that haunts her. Her choices Under the Mountain wrap a hold of her and refuse to disappear. She cannot shake them, she cannot move past them, and they won’t let her see past her pain. Feyre fought for Tamlin’s love in ACOTAR. But in this story, she lays bare her broken soul, walks through the darkness, and rises to claim her hard-fought and life-changing love.

 

“He thinks he’ll be remembered as the villain in the story. But I forgot to tell him that the villain is usually the person who locks up the maiden and throws away the key. He was the one who let me out.”

Tamlin may be the light, but Rhysand shines in the dark. He is, by far, my favourite character. If Feyre deserves solace, he deserves life. Even thinking of his growth makes me weepy. His selfless acts save his people. Darkness lives within him, yet he’s gentle, caring, utterly damaged, but determined to save her. When he does so, Feyre also saves him. I don’t want to list how many chapters Rhys broke my heart. I’ll need thick paper, many pens, and a stockpile of Kleenex. How can I not love this High Fae? I think I squeed for a solid minute when I found out he has bat wings.

 

“But then she snapped your neck.”
Tears rolled down his face.
“And I felt you die,” he whispered.
Tears were sliding down my own cheeks.

Cauldron, boil me, because the romance in this book nearly kills me. It turns into a slow burn that’s tangible and adored. And the banter! I love their banter. The ships must be protected at all costs. Please. PLEASE. If I become a blubbering mess when I read A Court of Wings and Ruin, I may just swear off books for several weeks (trust me, this declaration is unheard of).

 

“He did—does love me, Rhysand.”

“The issue isn’t whether he loved you, it’s how much. Too much. Love can be a poison.”

Oh Tamlin, I was rooting for him. We all were. He had her right in front of him, but he gave up on her and let Amarantha win. Tamlin––the fandom affectionately calls “Tamlin the Tool,” and I have to agree––reverses into a controlling and scared High Lord. His progression may not look abusive, but remember that any control is. I understand why he turns into this man, how he changes so rapidly, and some readers, even to this day, hate how Sarah has made him into this beast. But a character does devolve this way. A traumatic event will break anyone, and it broke both Feyre and Tamlin.

 

Sarah opens up the Prythian world tenfold. She lets you travel from the Spring, to the Night, and to the Summer Court. She also include Rhys’ Inner Circle: Morrigan, cousin and third-in-command; Cassian, childhood friend, general commander, and one of the most powerful Illryian warrior; Amren, second-in-command who is shrouded in mystery; and Azriel, spy, childhood friend, and Shadowsinger. Sarah weaves their history into the story so effortlessly. I LOVE THEM ALL.

I’ve only wanted to reread a handful of books after I finished them. And I cannot stop myself from glossing over passages in ACOMAF. I want to jump back into Sarah’s world, dance down the streets of Velaris, and fly over the Sidra River. The Court of Dreams, a sub-court of the Night Court, becomes a character in itself. Rhys and the High Lords who preceded him protect the court. The sacrifice Rhys has taken on to ensure the safety of his people pierces your heart. You don’t get the true understanding of his pain until you read ACOMAF. And he is one character I fiercely want to shield from this cruel world.

I cannot recommend the book enough. Read it because, while readers may have objected to some issues in the first book, ACOMAF will destroy any expectations you have. I still cannot get it out of my head. This character-driven treasure will forever stay on my favourite’s list and hold a little piece of my heart.

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