Sunday, August 2, 2015

THE HEART OF BETRAYAL by Mary Pearson

Rating: B+
Synopsis:
Intrigue abounds in this hotly anticipated sequel to The Kiss of Deception!

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save her life, Lia's erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: there's Rafe, who lied to Lia, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be barbarians. Now that she lives amongst them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.


My thoughts on the book:
This novel was so much better than its predecessor. The pacing was still a little slower than I would have liked, but the book itself was much more intriguing. I liked the cast better this time around, and there was a lot of suspense to keep me on the edge of my seat. It took me awhile to get through this one because of how slow the pace was, but I enjoyed it all. I can't wait for the final book in this trilogy.

Lia grew so much in this book, and I really started to respect her. She definitely used her trials to make her stronger, and she was a tough yet compassionate leading lady. I loved Kaden and Rafe in this book, too. Rafe really came into his own and showed his true colors. I liked that. Kaden still had a lot of growing to do at the end of this book, but he came a long way. I was glad I didn't have to put up with Pauline much, and to be honest, I could have done without her POV. It didn't really add much to the story, and she's just obnoxious. The Komizar was an intriguing and horrific enemy. The Vendan citizens really tugged at my heart strings. 

The plot itself was tightly woven and suspenseful. There was a little romance, but not a ton. This book really played with the idea of morals/goodness vs. doing what one has to do to survive. I liked that. The pacing was slow but steady. The world building was fantastic, and I could clearly picture Venda. The writing was beautiful, and Pearson really had some lovely quotes in this installment. The ending was a cliffhanger, which I hate, but it ended in a good spot. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book and series to anyone who enjoys good fantasy novels. You won't be disappointed. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

SPIDER'S TRAP by Jennifer Estep

Rating: C-
Synopsis:
The next thrilling book in Jennifer Estep’s New York Times andUSA Today bestselling Elemental Assassin series—“an extraordinary series… One of the most intriguing heroines in the genre” (Romantic Times Book Reviews).

Keep your friends close but your enemies within stabbing distance.

One important lesson I’ve learned in the assassination business is that to be the best you have to roll with the punches. Now that I’m queen of Ashland’s underworld—by default, not by choice—a lot more punches are being thrown my way. But I suppose that’s the price of victory for taking down some of the underworld’s top dogs. Good thing I have my Ice and Stone magic to help me survive my volatile new position. Just when I think things are finally settling down, someone tries to murder me during a hush-hush underworld meeting. But the real surprise is how strangely familiar my shadowy assailant seems to be.

My job is to maintain order among killers, crooks, and thieves, and soon I’m embroiled in a bloody game where the ability to keep secrets could be the greatest superpower of all. My enemies have all sharpened their knives and laid their traps, waiting for me to fall. But this Spider weaves her own webs of death…


My thoughts on the book:
I love this series, but to be honest, all of these books are starting to run together. There's not enough character growth or change in plot to keep me interested anymore. I think it's just about time for this series to come to an end. I still enjoy Gin's snarky comments and all of the action and romance, but these novels just aren't exciting anymore. I'm not sure that I'll read the next in the series.

Gin is the same as she always is. Finn is the same as he always is. Owen is the same as he always is. You get the idea. I love these characters, but sadly, they just aren't developing anymore. I think it's time to tell them goodbye. I hate to say it, but it's true.

The plot itself is the same as always. People are trying to kill Gin. Bad guys are out to get her. Blah blah blah. The pacing and writing are good, so I was engrossed the entire time, but I knew what was going to happen because it's the same in every book. The ending left room for yet another sequel, but I kind of hope it just stops. I know it sounds like I didn't enjoy this book, but I did. I'm just tired of it being the same book with new bad guys each time.

Overall, I'd say if you love the series go ahead and read this one. It's a good read and Gin is charming as ever.

Order Spider's Trap

Saturday, July 18, 2015

THE KISS OF DECEPTION by Mary E. Pearson

Rating: C-
Synopsis:
A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.


My thoughts on the book:
This novel had a lot of potential, and I really enjoyed the last 30% or so. The rest of the book was really slow-moving, and to be honest, this book could have been about 200+ pages shorter. The world building was thorough, that's for sure, and I felt like I got to know the characters pretty well. The pacing was just off, though. I guess I'll continue the series, but I may check out the sequel from the library before buying it. I feel like I wasted weeks of my life forcing myself through all of the sludge just to get to the cliffhanger at the end. Not the best way to earn readers, in my opinion.

The characters were interesting enough, and Lia was okay. She was a bit whiney to start with, but she got a decent personality as things carried on. She also became stronger as the story progressed (at a snail's pace), which I appreciated. I really liked that we didn't know who the assassin and prince were (which was which) until later in the book, and Pearson did a great job of giving her characters different voices, which is super important when the book is being told from multiple perspectives. I didn't really care much for Pauline, and I didn't really care at all about that chapter from her POV. Rafe was interesting, and so was Kaden. I can't wait to get to know both of them better. I think I like Rafe the best, though.

The pacing was so slow that it took me forever to read this book. It did not need to be 512 pages. It could have been 250 pages and the story would have been the same. The author really dragged things out with the multiple POVs, and she spent tons of time on everyday occurrences that really didn't need to be detailed, in my opinion. I made myself finish the novel, though, and I'm glad I did. The ending was good, even though it was a cliffhanger. Also, this book could have been 300-400 pages and encompassed part of the sequel and cut out a lot of the crap in the beginning and middle and not ended on a cliffhanger. I get really irritated when I read a slow-as-molasses book, just to have it get interesting at the end. Anyway, at least that part was intriguing.

If I were you, I'd check this one out from the library instead of buying. It may bore you enough and then anger you enough that you don't want to continue the series. I'm still on the fence as to whether I care what happens next or not.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J. Maas

Rating: A
Synopsis:
A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.


Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

My thoughts on the book:
As a huge fan of the Throne of Glass series, I was super excited to get my hands on A Court of Thorns and Roses. The synopsis makes this book sound like another tale of a leading lady having Stockholm Syndrome, but this book is nothing like that. I got the last copy at my local B&N, and I'm so glad that I did. Maas weaves a beautiful and terrifying world in this novel. Her new cast of characters is unique, and Feyre's story is very different from Celaena's. The romance is sweet and a bit steamy, and the writing is lovely. I absolutely adored this book and can't wait for the next installment.

19 year old Feyre is a strong, yet vulnerable character. She loves fiercely, and while she has a few emo moments, they're understandable. Feyre has had a tough life, but she somehow manages to hold onto her heart. She is compassionate and fierce. I really enjoyed reading from her perspective. I really liked Tamlin, too, and he's a great love interest. He's not nearly as awful as the synopsis makes him sound. I also really enjoyed Lucien and Rhysand. I am looking forward to learning more about Rhys, especially.

The plot is fairly fast-paced, and it kept me on the edge of my seat. Poor Feyre just doesn't get a break. The faery world is really creepy and beautiful, and Maas does a terrific job of world-building. I felt like I fully understood the rules of the world, and the author paints some wonderful pictures of the contrasting landscapes. I hope we get to see some of the other courts in the next installment, though. The ending ties things up nicely, but leaves room for a sequel.

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves high fantasy. I can promise you that you'll love Maas' new and unique addition to this genre.

Order A Court of Thorns and Roses today

Saturday, July 4, 2015

DAMAGE DONE by Amanda Panitch

Rating: A-
Release Date: 7/21/15
Synopsis:
22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.

Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.

After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.

Now that she’s Lucy Black, she's able to begin again. She's even getting used to the empty bedroom where her brother should be. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy's forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.

One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning. . . 


My thoughts on the book:
I read this entire novel in 4 hours. I could not put it down. That alone shows that Panitch is a brilliant YA author. This book shook me to my core. It messed with my head and freaked me out. It broke my heart and made me mad. Needless to say, I doubt I'll read another book this year that impacts me in such a way. However, novels like this also exhaust me, and I can't read them often. I haven't read a book that messed with me to this extent in over 10 years. This is a must read for anyone who loves psychological thrillers.

Lucy/Julia is an extremely interesting narrator. From the start, you want to trust her and sympathize with her, but you can't decide whether or not that's in your best interest. This kind of unease continues throughout the novel and really carries the story. The secondary characters are equally compelling and complete contrasts to Lucy/Julia. Michael really broke my heart. The MIA parents are a nice touch to illustrate how many kids go astray and stay that way due to lack of parental involvement, and I feel like the villain's need for approval stems from that. This book really brings to light a lot of problems facing our society.

The plot itself is intricately woven and captivating. It will suck you in whether you want it to or not. Panitch's ability to randomly drop clues is astounding, and I spent most of the book hoping I was wrong. The clues she drops are not complete giveaways, either, and they will confuse you and make you think that everything you knew up until that point is wrong. The romance is kind of lacking, but in books like this, I think it should be. That's not the focus. The ending is both satisfying and dissatisfying. It's satisfying in the fact that it tells you what happens to everyone, but it's dissatisfying because you feel like it's not fair. 

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers. If you're not one who likes to have your head messed with, then I'd say steer clear of this one. It will stick with you for a long time, and it will burrow in your mind and make you think about a lot of things you may or may not want to think about. I absolutely commend Panitch for this novel and for pointing out some of the many flaws in our society and showing how society and parents can fail children and/or make problems worse. She also raises an important question that isn't at all answered in her novel: is there a cure for sociopathy?

Pre-order Damage Done

Friday, July 3, 2015

VAMPIRES OF MANHATTAN by Melissa de la Cruz

Rating: D
Release Date: 7/7/14 
Synopsis:
The Vampires of Manhattan is "hipster horror"--the memorable characters from her Blue Bloods series are older and cooler than before, trying to build "Millennial" lives in the bustle of Manhattan while battling forces of evil and, of course, each other.

Hero of this sexy, paranormal action tale is Oliver Hazard-Perry, former human conduit, and Manhattan's only human-turned-vampire, now the head of the Blue Bloods Coven. When his all-too-human lover is found murdered on the eve of the coven's annual Four Hundred Ball--a celebration meant to usher in a new era in vampire society, and to mark the re-unification of the Coven after decades of unrest and decay--Oliver is devastated.

Now, not only is he trying to create a new world order for the immortal elite, he's the prime suspect and is stalked by the newly installed head of the vampire secret police. Because according to the new rules, vampires who take human life can now be executed. Burned.

How can an immortal sentenced to die fight back? He has to find the killer--and the answers lie deep in vampire lore.


My thoughts on the book:
I was pretty excited for this new series, even though I'm not a huge fan of Oliver's. I really enjoyed most of the Blue Bloods books, though, and I was looking forward to returning to that world. I didn't really like the Hellhounds' books, but I was really hoping that de la Cruz wouldn't let me down again. Unfortunately, she did let me down. I had to force myself to finish this novel. It seemed to drag on forever.

In the Blue Bloods series, I always thought Oliver was whiny and needy. Well that hasn't really changed in this series. Only now, he's whiny, needy, and conceited. He's just annoying, and I couldn't make myself root for him. Finn also sucks and she is very weak and 2 dimensional. I really couldn't stand her. Ara is just gross. I didn't like her, either. She is also obnoxious and just boring. She likes to think she is kick-ass, but she's not. 

The plot isn't really that intriguing. It's the same plot as a billion other books have. People get killed. Lead characters must find villain before the world as we know it ends. I think I would have been more concerned if I had actually liked some of the inhabitants of said world. As it stood, I just didn't really care what happened. The romance is lukewarm to cold, and a bit of a snoozefest. The ending is whatever. I really didn't care by that point, so it didn't stand out to me.

Overall, I'd say skip this book unless you are completely obsessed with Oliver and the Blue Bloods series. He isn't quite the same character as he was in the first series, but if you love him, then you should like this series okay. 


Saturday, June 6, 2015

LIFE UPDATE: In the middle of moving

Hey guys, my life has been in complete upheaval for the past couple of weeks. My job moved office locations, and I recently moved into a new place. I'm still trying to find stuff, so as soon as I get my books and Kindle unpacked, I'll be back to reading and reviewing. I miss it and hope to be back within the next week. I hope you're all doing well!