Thursday, August 21, 2014

HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN by Kristen Painter

Rating: C-
Synopsis:
Augustine lives the perfect life in the Haven city of New Orleans. He rarely works a real job, spends most of his nights with a different human woman, and resides in a spectacular Garden District mansion paid for by retired movie star Olivia Goodwin, who has come to think of him as an adopted son, providing him room and board and whatever else he needs. 

But when Augustine returns home to find Olivia's been attacked by vampires, he knows his idyllic life has comes to an end. It's time for revenge—and to take up the mantle of the city's Guardian.


My thoughts on the book:
I thought this book sounded like a fun read, but unfortunately it didn't grab me as much as I'd wanted it to. I had a hard time staying focused on the plot through all of the dialogue. The world-building is done pretty well, and the settings are painted out nicely, but the characters weren't easy to relate to and fell flat for me. 

The characters of this book just weren't very likable for me. I couldn't connect to any of them to save my life, and I really just didn't like Augustine. He reminded me of one of those egotistical man-whore types, and that just repelled me right away. Harlow was just boring for me. I know she wasn't designed to be, but she just didn't stand out. I can barely even remember her name, and I just finished the book. Painter tried hard to make the secondary characters interesting, but they, too, fell flat. 

The pacing was a bit slow for me, but it wasn't horribly slow. Just slow enough that I got bored easily. If I'd been more invested in the characters, I think the book would have held my interest more. Also, this writer is a huge fan of useless dialogue. I know she's trying to show relationships instead of tell them, but actions speak louder than words. I started skipping chunks of dialogue because I was tired of reading mundane chitchat. I have no patience for that in my real life, and I certainly dont' want it in a book. One of the places Painter excelled, though, was in painting a vivid picture of New Orleans. The city was the perfect backdrop for this story, and I could picture it as if I was there. The author also did a great job of explaining the fantastical elements of the story. 

Overall, this book was okay. I didn't love it, but I also didn't hate it. If you're a fan of Kristen Painter's, then I'm sure you'll love this series. 

Buy House of the Rising Sun

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

FOREST OF WHISPERS by Jennifer Murgia

Rating: C
Release Date: 9/9/14
Synopsis:
Raised by an old fortune-teller within the dark veil of the Bavarian Black Forest, Rune has learned two valuable lessons: only take from the forest that which you can use, and never, never look anyone in the eye in the village. For something terrible happened in the forest long ago... and now, the whispers of a long-dead mother with a vengeful secret have come haunting.

Forced to flee all she has ever known, Rune soon learns of a legacy she is bound to--one that is drenched in fear, witchcraft and murder--a birthright that stretches beyond the grave to the trees where Rune is no longer safe.


My thoughts on the book:
As a person who loves historical fiction, I was really excited to get my hands on a book that was set in the 1600s in Germany. I don't know a lot of German history (other than WWI, the Holocaust, and WWII), and I wanted to see what life had been like back then. This book did not give me a good idea of that. The world-building was a bit lacking, with both the setting and the magic. The characters also didn't feel "real" to me. This was an interesting concept, but it fell flat in many areas. 

I don't feel like Murgia did a ton of research into Germany during this time period. She described the forest in exquisite detail, and I could picture it clearly. However, when it came to the architecture, her descriptions were a bit sparse. I couldn't picture the houses or castles as they were. Instead I ended up picturing Irish and British architecture because I'm more familiar with it. I did feel like I was in the past, but I just didn't get the feel of Germany in this book. Sure, Murgia threw in a few random German words, but that didn't do enough to convince me. I actually really hate when authors do that. If this takes place in Germany, I would assume that everything was "translated" for the reader, since in that time period Germans only spoke German, as far as I know; rendering the random words in German useless. All that did was pull me out of the story. Other than that, the writing itself was okay. The plot was interesting, but some things felt too convenient. The plot twist at the end made a little bit of sense, but the way Rune's mother's ghost changed was unrealistic. 

The characters weren't extremely well-developed. Rune was really hard to relate to, and no one's actions made sense. Everyone was super secretive and almost random at times. In order to get into a story, I need to know the characters' motivations, or I just don't really care what happens to them. A lot of stuff that the characters did was just strange. I also don't feel like I got to know any of them. Even Laurentz, who was supposed to be swoon-worthy, I'm sure, wasn't memorable. 

Overall, this book was just okay. I didn't hate it. The plot was intriguing enough that I read the entire thing, but this is definitely a forgettable read. 

Pre-order Forest of Whispers

Waiting on Wednesday #43


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers.


Release Date: 11/4/14
Synopsis:
Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has.

But across Brittany, the tides of war are drawing ever nearer, with France pressuring the beleaguered duchess from all sides. Annith’s search for answers threatens to rip open an intricate web of lies and deceit that sit at the heart of the convent she serves. Yet to expose them threatens the very fabric of her existence and risks an unforeseen chance at love, one that she can no longer deny. Annith must carefully pick a path and, gods willing, effect a miracle that will see her country—and her heart—to safety.

Why I'm Waiting:
So far, I have really loved this series. LaFevers does an amazing job of painting the historical backdrop and building the assassin world. I also love that it's set in Brittany, France, because this is a place I've always been obsessed with. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ILLUSIONS OF FATE by Kiersten White

Rating: C-
Release Date: 9/9/14
Synopsis:
Dive into a world of enchantment and romance in this lush fantasy, which Stephanie Perkins, international bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss, called "an absolute delight—a magical, sparkling, dangerous world with witty repartee and a romance that will light your heart on fire." Fans of Libba Bray and Cassandra Clare will fall in love with this captivating stand-alone novel from Kiersten White, New York Timesbestselling author of the Paranormalcy trilogy.

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets the gorgeous, enigmatic Finn, who introduces her to the secret world of Albion's nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn't—power, money, status . . . and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, and the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess them. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits, can stop him.


My thoughts on the book:
This book was a bit of a disappointment. It had a lot of potential, but nothing was fully developed. The characters weren't relatable because they weren't "whole," the world-building was lacking, and the plot was also under-developed. The only thing that was complete was White's stance against colonialism, and I fully support that. This wasn't a bad book; it just wasn't terrific either. 

Jessamin was a bit of a brat. I didn't really like or dislike her. I was pretty indifferent. Finn could have been intriguing but he fell flat because he was never fully developed. Likewise, Eleanor could have been extremely entertaining, but we didn't get to know hardly anything about her. Other characters were mentioned a lot, but we never got to meet them, and then others just disappeared and we never heard from or about them again. 

My favorite part of this book was White's discussion regarding colonialism. Not enough books deal with colonialism, and the fact that this novel addresses the issues with colonialism and shows how the people in charge brainwash the public into thinking they're doing people a favor was spot on and very refreshing. The world-building was severely lacking, and I still don't fully understand shadowing or why shadows choose certain people. Also, the magic was confusing and not well thought out. The plot twist wasn't believable because it came out of nowhere. The ending also felt incomplete.

Overall, I'd say check this book out from the library before you buy it. Some people really love this book, but it just fell short for me. 

Pre-order Illusions of Fate

Monday, August 18, 2014

THE LEGACY by Necole Ryse Promo Stop!



The Legacy
Release Date: 06/17/14

Summary from Goodreads:
Nineteen-year-old Raevyn Jones has never worn a designer gown. She's never had access to unlimited champagne or chauffeured limo rides.

But when she is dropped in the midst of the Black Ivy League--against her will--she has to pretend that everything is normal, as if she belongs.

When her new friends start to question her sketchy past and her shaky legacy at Benjamin Wallace Fitzgerald University, Raevyn realizes she will have to rely on her street smarts more than ever before.

Raevyn starts to receive cryptic text messages and emails from an anonymous sender and she soon discovers that not only does someone want her to leave B.W.Fitz--someone also wants to end her life.

Add The Legacy to your TBR shelf!

Buy Links:

Character Profile: Regina
Name: Regina Larisse Fitzgerald
Legacy: Benjamin Wallace Fitzgerald University
Nickname: Reggie
Likes:
·      The Eiffel Tower
·      Hot yoga
·      French manicures with gel polish (the white chips too easy when I have regular polish)
·      Good morning text messages
·      Hot stone massages
·      Vegan brownies
·      Lemon drop martinis
Dislikes:
·      The traffic in downtown Ohio
·      When Jeffrey studies (he plays jazz music at an ungodly volume)
·      Repeating myself
·      When the Clinique counter is sold out of the Smart Custom-Repair Serum. (It’s maddening)
·      When Corrine gets excited she squeals (so annoying)
·      When people sit on my decorative bed pillows

About the Author:
Necole Ryse graduated from Towson University with Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications.
Bored with life as an adult, Necole decided to follow her dreams to write fiction and she hasn’t looked back. She joined the
Winslet Press family to release her first novel, THE LEGACY.
She enjoys chocolate covered pretzels, Criminal Minds marathons, and all things Harry Potter. 

Author Links:

GIVEAWAY:
$20 Amazon Gift Card (INT)



Blog Tour Organized by:


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #39


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by  Tynga's Reviews! This meme showcases the books received, bought, or checked out from the library over the past week. 

I didn't get any new books last week, but this week I got quite a few. I'm super excited to share these with you!

For Review:
Forest of Whispers
By: Jennifer Murgia
Release Date: 9/9/14
A big thank you to Spencer Hill Press and NetGalley!
Synopsis:
Raised by an old fortune-teller within the dark veil of the Bavarian Black Forest, Rune has learned two valuable lessons: only take from the forest that which you can use, and never, never look anyone in the eye in the village. For something terrible happened in the forest long ago... and now, the whispers of a long-dead mother with a vengeful secret have come haunting.

Forced to flee all she has ever known, Rune soon learns of a legacy she is bound to--one that is drenched in fear, witchcraft and murder--a birthright that stretches beyond the grave to the trees where Rune is no longer safe.


House of the Rising Sun
By: Kristen Painter
Release Date: 5/13/14
A big thank you to Orbit and NetGalley!
Synopsis:
Augustine lives the perfect life in the Haven city of New Orleans. He rarely works a real job, spends most of his nights with a different human woman, and resides in a spectacular Garden District mansion paid for by retired movie star Olivia Goodwin, who has come to think of him as an adopted son, providing him room and board and whatever else he needs. 

But when Augustine returns home to find Olivia's been attacked by vampires, he knows his idyllic life has comes to an end. It's time for revenge—and to take up the mantle of the city's Guardian.


The Over Sight
By: Charlie Fletcher
Release Date: 5/6/14
A big thank you to Orbit and NetGalley!
Synopsis:
"The end always happens faster than you think."

Once there were hundreds of members of the Oversight, the brave souls who guard the borders between the mundane and the magic. Now there are only five.

When a vagabond brings a screaming girl to the Oversight's London headquarters, she could answer their hopes for new recruit, or she could be the instrument of their downfall.


Memory Zero
By: Keri Arthur
Release Date: 8/26/14
A big thank you to Dell and Edelweiss! 
Synopsis:
MORTAL RECALL
 
For Sam Ryan, life began at age fourteen. She has no memory of her parents or her childhood. In a decade of service with the State Police, Sam has exhausted the resources of the force searching for clues to her identity. But all mention of her family seems to have been deliberately wiped off the record. Everything changes the night Sam’s missing partner resurfaces as a vampire . . . and forces her to kill him in self-defense. Now Sam is charged with murder. Suspended from the force, and with no one left to trust, Sam accepts some unexpected help from Gabriel Stern, a shapeshifter who conceals startling secrets.
 
While investigating the circumstances surrounding her partner’s strange behavior, Sam discovers that Garbriel’s been involved with a dangerous organization that’s planning a war on the human race. More immediate, someone is guarding the truth about Sam’s past—someone who’d rather see her dead than risk her knowing too much. To stay alive, Sam must unravel the threads of her past—and find out not only who she is but what she is.


Sacrifice
By: Brigid Kemmerer
Release Date: 9/30/14
A big thank you to Kensington/K-Teen and NetGalley! 
Synopsis:
One misstep and they lose it all. For the last time.

Michael Merrick is used to pressure. 

He’s the only parent his three brothers have had for years. His power to control Earth could kill someone if he miscalculates. Now an Elemental Guide has it out for his family, and he’s all that stands in the way. 

His girlfriend, Hannah, gets that. She’s got a kid of her own, and a job as a firefighter that could end her life without a moment’s notice. 

But there are people who have had enough of Michael’s defiance, his family’s “bad luck.” Before he knows it, Michael’s enemies have turned into the Merricks’ enemies, and they’re armed for war. 

They’re not interested in surrender. But Michael isn’t the white flag type anyway. There will be blood on the ground tonight…


Made for You
By: Melissa Marr
Release Date: 9/16/14
A big thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss!
Synopsis:
Bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely books Melissa Marr’s first contemporary YA novel is a twisted southern gothic tale of obsession, romance, and murder. A killer is obsessed with Eva Tilling. Can she stop him, or will he claim her?

When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.

For the first time, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr has applied her extraordinary talent to contemporary realism. Chilling twists, unrequited obsession, and high-stakes romance drive this Gothic, racy thriller—a story of small-town oppression and salvation. Melissa’s fans, and every YA reader, will find its wild ride enthralling.


Friday, August 15, 2014

HEIR OF FIRE by Sarah J. Maas

Rating: B+
Release Date: 9/2/14
Synopsis:
Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy. 

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?


My thoughts on the book:
The Throne of Glass series is one of my absolute favorites, but this book didn't appeal to me as much as the first two did. That doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy it, because I did. It just wasn't as enthralling as the first two installments. The world-building is still top notch, and Celaena's character growth is amazing, but the pacing is a bit off. This book will be well-received by fans of the series, and it sets up the next part book nicely. It does end in a cliffhanger, which I hate, and I'm dying to know what happens next. 

Celaena has always been one of my absolute favorite female characters because she's so strong. In this novel, she shows a bit of vulnerability, but she still manages to regain her strength and come out of a horrible situation as a better person. Her grieving was a bit repetitive at times, but for the most part it wasn't over dramatized. I was impressed by the person she became by the end of the book, and I can't wait to see what she does next. Dorian got on my nerves quite a bit for a good portion of this novel, but toward the end, I really grew to respect him. Chaol also came across and weak and annoying until the very end. Some of the new characters blew my mind because they were so amazing. I adored Rowan. He's such a bad ass with a heart of gold. I'm totally shipping him and Celaena, even though Maas seems to be trying to keep them as just friends. I would love to see a main character move on to someone new instead of returning to an old flame, for a change. That'd be nice. Aedion is also a fantastic addition to the series, and I hope we get to learn more about him in the next installment. Sorscha is horrible and weak, in my opinion. I really didn't like her at all. 

Heir of Fire is split into two parts, and while the first part is important to the second part, it just dragged for me. The second half of the book is much more interesting, and I flew through it. This book has a very different feel than the first two, and it is more of an emotional journey for Celaena than her just running around being a bad ass. I really liked how she had to deal with her emotions for once instead of burying them. The alternating points of view worked for me, except for Manon. Her perspective came across as "simple," for lack of a better term. She just didn't seem very smart to me, and her thoughts were very basic. I know she's an evil character and I'm not supposed to like her, but along with disliking her, she bored me to tears. However, I did like glimpsing into Rowan's head a couple of times and seeing what was going on in Rifthold while Celaena was in Wendlyn. The ending is a cliffhanger, and it's one of the worst ones I've ever read. You can't just stop a book there, Ms. Maas! I have to know what happens next!

Overall, I enjoyed this book and am not so patiently awaiting the next installment. Fans of fantasy and people who like tough heroines and intriguing characters will adore this series. People who already love the Throne of Glass books will not be disappointed by this novel. 

Pre-order Heir of Fire!