Tag «conclusion: only gets better»

Only Gets Better: This is a consistently great series, with each sequel improving upon its predecessor!

Other Conclusions:
Downhill | Missed the Mark | New Favourite | Not for Everyone | Slow Start | Staying Tuned | Time will Tell | Worth a Read

Series Review: Casey Duncan by Kelley Armstrong

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for City of the Lost (from Goodreads):

Casey Duncan is a homicide detective with a secret: when she was in college, she killed a man. She was never caught, but he was the grandson of a mobster and she knows that someday this crime will catch up to her. Casey’s best friend, Diana, is on the run from a violent, abusive ex-husband. When Diana’s husband finds her, and Casey herself is attacked shortly after, Casey knows it’s time for the two of them to disappear again.

Diana has heard of a town made for people like her, a town that takes in people on the run who want to shed their old lives. You must apply to live in Rockton and if you’re accepted, it means walking away entirely from your old life, and living off the grid in the wilds of Canada: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, no computers, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. As a murderer, Casey isn’t a good candidate, but she has something they want: She’s a homicide detective, and Rockton has just had its first real murder. She and Diana are in. However, soon after arriving, Casey realizes that the identity of a murderer isn’t the only secret Rockton is hiding—in fact, she starts to wonder if she and Diana might be in even more danger in Rockton than they were in their old lives.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Canadian Author
Series: Casey Duncan or Rockton
Author: Kelley Armstrong
# of Books: 4 (City of the Lost, Darkness Absolute, This Fallen Prey, Book 4)

City of the Lost was initially released as a serial novellas.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, This Fallen Prey will be published February 2018
Genre: Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: January 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover (City of the Lost); Publisher–ARC (Darkness Absolute)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

It’s no secret that I am a Kelley Armstrong fan. It’s not just because she is a fellow Canuck; she’s one talent writer in every genre she tries. I’ve enjoyed both her YA and Adult paranormal series over the years but I was really excited to see what she could do with a contemporary mystery/thriller.

I knew it was going to be suspenseful–full of great twists and strong characters–so I couldn’t wait to get started!

The Concept / The World:

First, I love the fact that this book is set in Canada! I don’t get to read many books set in my home country so that was a big bonus for me.

Then the idea that there is this isolated town filled with people trying to escape their previous lives? Fascinating. And the perfect place for trouble to brew! You’ve got this small town vibe where anyone can be a suspect and it’s just great to read about. I loved the setting for this series!

The Plot:

I loved, loved, loved the many layers to this series. Everything just builds from start to finish, book to book.

It’s hard to say much without giving anything away–especially for mystery novels–but I’ll just say that this book was far from predictable. There were so many great twists and the big reveals always had me going “say what!?” in surprise.

I will say, that City of the Lost did drag for me in the middle of the novel when the plot shifted more to character development than the actual mystery. Which was fine, because it really helped established the setting for the remainder of the book and the series, but it did feel slower than the first and latter half of the novel. I never had that problem with A Darkness Absolute however. It is a non-stop roller coaster ride from start to finish.

The Characters:

Like I said above, the small town vibe works extremely well for this series. The anticipation of figuring out whodunit when you’ve met everyone is just fabulous for a reader.

All the characters are just so well developed–even the side ones. I loved learning more about each person.

Casey in particular is a winner in my mind. She’s a strong heroine who definitely has her flaws. She’s complex but as the stories progress, you learn more about her and she learns more about herself. Her character development is a highlight for sure. She reminds me of a more subdued version of Lisbeth from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo–a scarred girl who learns to adapt as her world expands.

The Romance:

A very minor role here but one I really enjoyed. I don’t want to give to much away…so I’m just going to leave it at that.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really hope there are more books to this series! It’s a great world, a fantastic set of characters and the mysteries are just so good.

Series Rating: 4.5/5

City of the Lost 4/5 | A Darkness Absolute  5/5 | Book 3 ?

overall

Honestly, I don’t know why more people aren’t talking about this series! (Maybe I hang out in the wrong crowds). It delivers in every way that you want a mystery/thriller to.

Read if You Like: mysteries/thrillers, small town stories
Avoid if You: dislike mysteries
similarreads

  • Bitten by Kelley Armstrong (Women of the Underworld Series #1)
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson (Millennium Series #1)

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Series Review: The Wrath and The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Wrath and the Dawn (from Goodreads):

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: 2016 Fav
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn
Author: Renée Ahdieh
# of Books: 2 (The Wrath and the Dawn, The Rose and The Dagger)

There is also 3 novella short stories. Full Reading Order here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fairy Tale Retelling
Heat Rating: warm *more implied than anything*
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: May 2015 – April 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

It’s a bit of a weird story. I always thought that I had The Wrath and The Dawn on my TBR (ie Goodreads) because it was around quite a bit on the blogosphere when it was first released and it sounded like a story I would enjoy. When I saw it again at the bookstore, it’s cover (the one I added below) caught my attention and I thought it was a new book. But as soon as I read the synopsis, I realized that I already had marked this book as TBR. So imagine my surprise when I checked on Goodreads to see that I hadn’t even added it! I think I just added it to my library wishlist and left it at that.

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)

The revenge trope is one of my favourites; especially when there is an assassination involved. Perhaps that is a little morbid, but I find stories with that “I must kill my enemy” element are grittier and have that (obvious) element of danger to them. The stakes are higher and that makes every subsequent action even riskier and more thrilling. Forbidden love is so much sweeter when you fall for your target.

The Concept / The World:

I’ll be the first to admit, I know nothing about A Thousand and One Nights nor The Arabian Nights. I’m sure I would get more out of the retelling if I was more familiar with these works but it really isn’t necessary.

The world here is beautiful! I loved how Ahdieh was able to create this magical world that was so easy to see and emerge myself in without copious amounts of detail. The pages weren’t littered with unnecessary descriptions and so I never felt lost or bored while reading.

Oh! Also, there is a glossary! There were a few terms that I had to Google because I couldn’t find the glossary when I first looked for one. But don’t let that scare you! It’s not like there are a ton of terms you have to learn to enjoy this.

The Plot:

What I really loved about this series is that it wasn’t unnecessarily complicated. It struck that perfect balance between world building, character development and dramatic plot.

The Wrath and The Dawn has a great suspense to it. Why is Khalid killing his wives? Will Shazi really fulfill her need for revenge? I loved watching all that unfold before me. It really hooked me into the story–in a way I hadn’t felt in a long time. I really just wanted to sit all day and read this compelling work.

The Rose and The Dagger also had a suspenseful plot but more for the political aspects–which I absolutely adored. It just had that hint of danger to it that had me glued to the pages. And the twists were fabulous!

The Characters:

I think Shazi can be a hard character to like initially. She’s hurt and jaded and she gives off this aura of selfishness that makes it hard to root for her. But she really grows throughout the series and I really appreciated that. And it wasn’t long before I was on her side, wanting her to succeed.

As for Khalid, I really liked him. As much as he is the catalyst for the story we get, the story really is about Shazi and how she deals with everything. And because of that, his development takes a bit of a backseat. But he really is a fascinating character to uncover as the series progresses. I always love a good, mysterious male counterpart.

But one of the highlights of this series is the strong secondary characters. I really fell for the rest of the cast as the story progressed.

The Romance:

This was lacking a bit for me in The Wrath and The Dawn. Despite the fact that it was easy to see why these two would fit together as a reader looking in, I just wanted their sparks elaborated on more. The romance was more implied than I would have liked; more show and tell than watching it unfold. But I still enjoyed it and liked these two together.

And I think that’s why I enjoyed The Rose and The Dagger more. Everything there was just emphasized that little bit more and the romance was definitely amplified there. Here, it was obvious why these two felt the way they did and it was a joy to watch as a reader.

The Novellas:

Well, to call The Crown & The Arrow and The Mirror & The Maze novellas is being generous. They are merely deleted chapters totalling 9 pages and are free on eBook sites. However, I do recommend reading The Crown & The Arrow before The Wrath and the Dawn for some context. Same with The Mirror & The Maze before The Rose & The Dagger. Nevertheless, you could get by without ever reading them as well.

The Moth & The Flame is an actual novella that is probably best read after The Wrath & The Dawn because it is a little spoilery about some side characters.

Series Rating: 4.5/5

The Wrath and The Dawn 4/5 | The Rose and The Dagger 5/5

overall

The entire series is crafted beautifully. From the characters to the drama to the romance; it’s everything you want in a solid YA series.

Read if You Like: retellings, forbidden love, duologies
Avoid if You: want more action, dislike more romance-based stories

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Series Review: The DIMILY Trilogy by Estelle Maskame

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

  

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Did I Mention I Love You? (from Goodreads):

Love is everything but expected.

Eden Munro came to California for a summer of sun, sand, and celebrities—what better way to forget about the drama back home? Until she meets her new family of strangers: a dad she hasn’t seen in three years, a stepmom, and three stepbrothers.

Eden gets her own room in her dad’s fancy house in Santa Monica. A room right next door to her oldest stepbrother, Tyler Bruce. Whom she cannot stand. He has angry green eyes and an ego bigger than a Beverly Hills mansion. She’s never felt such intense dislike for someone. But the two are constantly thrown together as his group of friends pulls her into their world of rule-breaking, partying, and pier-hanging.

And the more she tries to understand what makes Tyler burn hotter than the California sun, the more Eden finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn’t love…

breakdown

Series: DIMILY Trilogy or Did I Mention I Love You Trilogy
Author: Estelle Maskame
# of Books: 3 (Did I Mention I Love You?, Did I Mention I Need You?, Did I Mention I Miss You?)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: July 2015 – December 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Paperback (Sourcebooks Fire edition); Netgalley (DIMIMY)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I first saw DIMILY on Netgalley but I wasn’t able to read a copy. So I patiently waited for my library to get a copy and eventually, I was able to read it.

I really, really enjoyed Rival by Penelope Douglas a couple of years ago which also has a step-sibling relationship. I love forbidden romances so I think it’s obvious why DIMILY was on my radar. I was hoping for a more New Adult version of a YA contemporary but was willing to give this one a chance because the plot-line really intrigued me.

The Plot:

The plot in Did I Mention I Love You (DIMILY) is your typical YA story set in California: lots of underage parties with the rich, beautiful kids and their overly dramatic lives. Don’t forget the teen angst! It’s here in buckets!

DIMILY is really just Eden trying to navigate her new everyday family life by immersing herself in the Californian way of life. She has her own insecurities from the past (that slowly get revealed in time but that I felt were pretty obvious) and she harbours a lot of (understandable) resentment towards her father whom she has agreed to stay with for the summer. She does a lot of rebelling which is interesting; it just gets monotonous over time because it is always the same thing.

Honestly, there isn’t that much to the plot but there is something addicting about the story in a guilty pleasure kind of way. Mostly, I think it was the enigma that is Tyler that keep me reading because I wanted to get to the bottom of his story and could have cared less about Eden and her issues.

Did I Mention I Need You (DIMINY) is your typical bridging trilogy romance BUT, I found it much easier to read (see in the characters section below for why). Again, it had this addicting quality to it that kept me intrigued from start to finish. Eden’s character development seemed to come to light more here as well.

The Characters:

As someone who reads a lot of New Adult novels now (I rarely read a YA contemporary), the problems these characters faced seemed a little petty. So it made getting comfortable with Eden as a narrator difficult; especially because she is so angsty at the start of the series. I did, however, manage to look past her angst in order to see why she acts the way she does and it did work for the most part. Eden has a lot of self-esteem issues that come to the surface and influence her character development too. I was really hoping for a little more focus on that as the story progressed but it doesn’t really happen all that much. Regardless, she does has some depth to her.

I also struggled with Eden’s actions as a character. I was never able to get a good read on her. It wasn’t like she was saying one thing and then completely doing another, but I really don’t think she thought things through all the way in most situations. Perhaps that is the result of her being a 16 year old girl and needing to mature a bit (I had to remind myself numerous times that these characters were still in high school) or simply a result of her self-esteem issues, I’m not really sure. She also comes across as slightly selfish–but that does get better as the series progresses. Regardless, I didn’t really love Eden as a character and it made it hard to root for her at times.

Tyler on the other hand was interesting. It could be the result of him not having a POV, leaving you to only know as much about him as Eden (the narrator) does but I found his character was much more complex than Eden’s. His journey kept me interested in the story more so than Eden did and I liked watching it unfold.

The Romance:

This was a little lacklustre for me in DIMILY. Seeing as it was the main selling point for picking up the series, I really wanted to be blown away.

While Eden is (understandably) intrigued by Tyler, I really didn’t think they interacted that much or at least enough to warrant the feelings they do. Yes, she keeps digging into his life and shows that she cares–which is great and obviously something he needed–but I didn’t get the fascination on either end truthfully.

Their relationship becomes stronger as the series continues but they definitely aren’t gracing my list of favourite couples ever–even if I have come to root for them.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

DIMINY’s ending has me very curious to see what is going to happen in the finale. Hopefully we see some mature characters who have learned from their past actions and get a super romantic finale. The more I read about these characters, the more I want to see things work out for everyone involved.

updates

–December 4, 2016– Book #3: Did I Mention I Miss You? (DIMIMY)

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I had high expectations for this finale. Everything has been building for this book and I couldn’t wait to dive in!

And it was perfect! This was exactly what I wanted in this final book.

The proof of character growth that we got here was fantastic. These aren’t the same characters we had in DIMILY. They’ve grown and it’s shown here perfectly. I loved watching Eden mature into the young woman she becomes. I wasn’t a big fan of hers at the start of this series but I’ve really grown to like who she has transformed into before my eyes.

And Tyler has the same great progression as well. Perhaps even more so.

I felt every range of emotions reading this book; in a completely great way. If you had asked me when I picked up DIMILY (where I watched these immature teenagers rebel with so much angst), I would have said “no”. But it’s amazing how much I fell in love with these two and their journey the more invested I became in this series.

This book hit all the right notes and I have no doubt in my mind that fans of this series will LOVE this final novel.

I know I sure did!

Series Rating: 4/5

Did I Mention I Love You? 3/5 | Did I Mention I Need You 4/5 | Did I Mention I Miss You 5/5

overall

It you enjoy high school drama and angst, this is a great series for you! You need to be able to tolerate a lead you might not really connect with or like–but the story and relationships have this addicting quality to them that makes it entertaining to read. And the character growth from start to finish makes the journey worth it!

Read if You Like: YA contemporary, forbidden love
Avoid if You: dislike angst, teenagers pretending to be adults, cheating characters

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Series Review: Cottonbloom by Laura Trentham

Synopsis for Kiss Me That Way (from The Publisher):
A river divides Cottonbloom in two: the upscale enclave on the Mississippi side and the rundown, rough and tumble side in Louisiana. They’re worlds apart—but nothing can build a bridge like love…

Cade Fournette never had it easy Cottonbloom. He stuck around long enough to raise his orphaned siblings and then hightailed it out West—and never looked back. Even though he’s made a success of himself in Seattle, Cade never lost the toughness and the angry edge that helped him survive down South. His only weak spot: the girl he left behind…

Monroe Kirby came from the wealthy side of town, but that didn’t protect her from her mother’s drinking—or her mother’s boyfriend. It was Cade who did that, on a long-ago hot September night, before he disappeared…along with a piece of her heart. Now Monroe is a physical therapist who can fight for herself, and it’s Cade who could use some conditioning when he makes an unexpected return back home. Will he and Monroe pick up where they left off and finally explore their mutual passion—or will the scars and secrets of the past divide them once more?

Other books in the series:
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breakdown

Author: Laura Trentham
# of Books: 5 (Full reading order here)
Book Order: Connected but chronological events
Complete?: No, When the Stars Come Out, will be published January 2018
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 31, 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley–eARC  |  Thank you St. Martin’s Press!

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Blog Tour review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a strictly adult contemporary romance that wasn’t labeled as a “steamier” selection, so I was excited when the opportunity came along to read Laura Trentham’s new series, Cottonbloom Novels.

I wanted a contemporary romance that focused on the characters and their connection to each other–not simply a matter of getting each other into bed. While I normally don’t go for second chance romances, the synopsis gave me the impression that there was more at play in Kiss Me That Way and I was looking forward to finding out what it was.

The Setting:

Nothing gets you attached faster to characters than a great setting, which this series provides. Cottonbloom is such a fun, crazy little town that readers will fall in love with.

Forget the “wrong side of the tracks” motto, this is all about the “wrong side of the river”.

You essentially have a town split in two thanks to the river and that makes for some great, “forbidden” romances and connections. It makes the story a little lighter, providing an upbeat vibe to the somewhat darker stories of Cade and Monroe. Trentham does a beautiful job elaborating on this throughout the novel and you can see how the setting weaves together the next two novels in the series.

The Plot:

I loved the pace of this novel. There was great character development on all fronts–including the secondary characters, which is important for the next two novels. And when Monroe and Cade weren’t learning more about themselves or their families, their romance was so sweet to watch unfold.

But what I really loved was the overarching plotline of the festival. Like I said before, it gives the story a happier vibe without taking away from Cade and Monroe’s past. It also ramps up the anticipation for the rest of the series–which I cannot wait to see!

The Characters:

While the character elements of Monroe and Cade are ones I have encountered before, I still found their characters to be unique and genuine. You can’t help but root for them to succeed in whatever they want, whether that’s love or family matters.

Before I started, I worried that Monroe might be a stubborn woman who resisted all help because she was “independent” now (if that makes sense) and I find those types hard to immediately connect with as a reader. But that honestly wasn’t the case. I really liked her from start to finish. She was strong and smart and perhaps a bit stubborn, but not to the point where it was frustrating. She also didn’t become some simpering fool the minute Cade walked into her life again–she kept true to herself and her independence and I really respected that.

The Romance:

Normally, second chance romances aren’t my thing but I truly enjoyed this one. These two had great chemistry from the get-go which made it so much fun to watch. It’s a bit of a slow burn, but I definitely enjoyed every minute watching these two come together.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

With the little tastes of everyone we got in this first book, I am dying to read the next two! Kiss Me that Way served as a great introduction into this series, and I can’t wait to see how the next two build on it!

updates

–July 10, 2016– Book #2: Then He Kissed Me


This book was everything I wanted it to be…and a little more!

I had just finished the second chapter when I realized I LOVED Nash! He was so sweet and so adorable that I immediately added him to my select list of book boyfriends. It was so refreshing to read about a hero who wasn’t totally confident in himself and I loved watching his character grow.

Tally was also fantastic. Her growth and self-discovery throughout this novel made it a treat to read.

They complimented each other so well which made the romance awesome to read. They had a great connection and palpable chemistry that I loved all their scenes together.

I enjoyed this novel from start to end and highly recommend it to contemporary romance fans!

–July 31, 2016– Book #3: Till I Kissed You

This story has been building from the very first Cottonbloom novel and building throughout. So I had high expectations going in…and every one was met!

The tension between these two was sizzling off the pages! I loved watching them reunite and battle all the obstacles in their way. It was absolutely perfect–everything fans of this series will want!

Not only was the romance really strong, but the drama plot line was also fantastic. I loved the mystery/suspense aspect to it. It kept you interested as a reader and balanced out the romance beautifully.

Overall, it was an AMAZING way to end this series! I will definitely be checking out more books by Laura Trentham in the future!

–August 3, 2017– Book #4: Leave the Night On

When I learned that there would be new books in the Cottonbloom Series, I thought it was a joke. A very cruel joke because I absolutely loved this series and it was a highlight of my 2016 summer.

I adored Leave the Night On. It has one of my all time favourite tropes, the fake relationship, and it is executed flawlessly. These two has sizzling chemistry from the start and I loved watching them fall deeper and deeper for each other. They were perfect for each other and I couldn’t help but root for them to get together.

And the plot was excellent as well. It had that perfect balance between character development and romantic development. These two had a lot of growth to do as characters and I loved that they did so not only together but independently as well. I had a very hard time putting this one down!

And of course, we got just enough of a taste of what’s to come that I cannot wait until the next Abbott brother gets his story.

Series Rating: 4.5/5

Kiss Me That Way 4/5 | Then He Kissed Me 5/5 | Till I Kissed You 5/5 | Leave the Night On 5/5

overall

This book really wasn’t what I was expecting–but in a totally good way! It wasn’t the typical second chance romance that I thought it was going to be. The slow burn romance intermingled with the character development and overall series plot made this one a blast to read! Definitely a great summer book series to get your hands on!

Read if You Like: contemporary romances, second chances
Avoid if You: want an erotica romance

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Series Review: The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

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SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite 2015, New Must Read Author, Favourite Series, Sad to See Go 2016
Series: The Winner’s Trilogy
Author: Marie Rutkoski
# of Books: 3 (The Winner’s Curse, The Winner’s Crime, The Winner’s Kiss)
Book Order: Chronological

There is a prequel novella: Bridge of Snow

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance, High Fantasy, Alternate History
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

I won’t lie: the covers are what drew me to pick up this series (it wasn’t until after I read it that this book seemed to be on a lot of blogs that I follow). Both The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime were new additions to my library’ eCatalogue and after I read the synopsis, I decided I really wanted to read these books. I honestly didn’t know what to expect plot-wise from these novels but I knew that I was expecting awesome things and I eagerly dug in.

I didn’t get right into The Winner’s Curse because I felt like it was assumed that I knew the history of the world. Not that the world is overly complicated (I got the gist of it pretty quick); I just felt like it was expected that I knew why these two cultures were clashing and why there was conflict in Kestrel’s world on a deeper level without being told why. Perhaps I just missed that one key line that explains everything earlier in the book. Regardless: the truth of the matter is that the conflicts present in this book are no different than the conflicts we see in our modern world despite its historical edge. And once I was a few chapters in, I was sold (no pun intended) on everything this book was bringing.

If you take the intelligent, strategic heroine of June from the Legend Trilogy, minus her physical ability to kick ass and add the historical vibes of For the Darkness Shows the Stars, you get The Winner’s Curse.

Which means it’s pretty awesome!

Despite my personal distaste for slower novels, I really loved The Winner’s Curse! I loved how everything built up slowly and was intricately linked together. There was a plot-line I wasn’t expecting and I thought it made the story 20x more interesting. This book was never afraid to take risks and that makes it vastly different from the other dystopian YA novels out there. (Though it isn’t really that much of a dystopian novel, rather a high fantasy with some dystopian elements present.)

It also differs from other YA with its AMAZING heroine! I adored Kestrel as a heroine. It’s been a long time since I’ve found a dystopian-esque heroine that didn’t drive me up the wall in some way or another. She was smart, always thought about her actions and was never irrational in her decisions. She’s a strategist and I find that so refreshing in a heroine. Don’t get me wrong, I love heroines who can physically kick ass but it was so AWESOME to read about a heroine who uses her intelligence to outwit her opponents instead of her fists or sword.

I also really liked Arin and her relationship with him. It’s slow building but has so many interesting layers to it that it was a lot of fun to read about. It reminded me a lot of June and Day’s relationship (from Legend) in the sense that they balanced each other out. They were a great pair when they were together but just as amazing when they were on their own and I loved that! Being “on their own” is an important thing to highlight because if you are expecting some grand romance–think again! I found that the romance played a very minimal part in the story as it focuses more on the politics of the countries wayyyy more than it does on the relationship between Arin and Kestrel. It is definitely there but it takes more of a backseat throughout the story.

The Winner’s Crime doesn’t slow down from where its predecessor left off; in fact, it builds on it. Though I thought it started on the slow side, it quickly amped up its pace as you read. The Winner’s Crime definitely has more political intrigue to it which I have been craving to read about for such a long time and that made me really happy. So many great twists and turns! I really didn’t know what was going to happen despite all the clues along the way–which is probably why I would say it is my favourite of the two so far (but it was a really close and hard choice to make!).

I simply cannot wait to read The Winner’s Kiss!!! I just want to see a cover or a synopsis or even a specific release date so I can satisfy some part of my excitement!

Just a quick note on the novella (well, it’s really just a very short story). It takes place when Arin was a child, therefore it is technically a prequel. However, I think you will get more out of it if you read it after The Winner’s Curse or even The Winner’s Crime. I read it after The Winner’s Crime and I feel like that was a good time to read it because I could make the connections it inspires. However, it really doesn’t contribute to the story in any way other than to provide a taste of Arin’s life before The Winner’s Curse and isn’t necessary to read if you can’t find it (or don’t want to pay the $1 to read 20 pages).

updates

–May 23, 2016– Book #3: The Winner’s Kiss


I admit, I was worried this book wouldn’t live up to the personal hype I’ve built up in my mind over the last year waiting its arrival.

But damn, this book was finale perfection!

It had everything I wanted: politics, action, romantic tension and great twists. I was absorbed from start to finish, hanging on every word. Even though I’m sad this series is over, I couldn’t have asked for a better finale!

Series Rating: 5/5

The Winner’s Curse 5/5 | The Winner’s Crime 5/5 | The Winner’s Kiss 5/5

overall

One of my favourite YA reads this year and a new favourite series for me! Loved every minute of these books! (I may even break my buying physical books pact to own these novels!) If you want to read a dystopian-esque novel with a FANTASTICALLY intelligent heroine, her complimentary male counterpart and lots of political intrigue–this is the read for you!

Read if You Like: intelligent heroines, politics, high fantasy
Avoid if You: want more romance, want more detailed world-building

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Synopsis for The Winner’s Curse (from Goodreads):
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

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Series Review: Waterfire Saga by Jennifer Donnelly

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

book3 book4

breakdown

Series: Waterfire Saga
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
# of Books: 4 (Deep Blue, Rogue Wave, Dark Tide, Sea Spell)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mythological, Adventure
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates:
Source: Public Library–Hardcover & eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked It Up/My Expectations:

Jennifer Donnelly is one of those critically acclaimed authors that I haven’t read too many books by. I only read her standalone, Revolution, which was fantastic, but since reading that years ago, I haven’t read anything else by her. I randomly stumbled upon this series, and when I read the synopsis I wanted to read it. It seems to me mermaids are a new trend in YA fiction but I’ve only read a few books about them so I was willing to give this series a shot.

But the biggest reason I wanted to read this was this line in the synopsis “Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas” — to me that means girl power. For once the heroine isn’t relying on a man or just herself but a group of other girls to accomplish something. Sure, most paranormal novels have the BFF female sidekick but there is something about having a whole troop of girls working together that is refreshing to me.

The World:

Deep Blue is a bit of a subdued novel and part of that reason, I think, is that it is building up the world. When I started reading Deep Blue, I easily got sucked into the world. I love how Donnelly changed common, everyday idioms and modified them for a “water world”–it really added to the world that she was building.

The world itself is pretty straightforward but I found the various Latin names/terms were hard to keep track of. I found out when I had 50 pages left in the book that there is a glossary with people and terms at the back of the book so that helped keep everything fresh when I was reading. When an author adds a glossary, you can tell that they have really thought everything out for their story and Donnelly is no exception because the world of Deep Blue features a rich history for these characters and their kingdoms.

The Plot:

Which is why I say the plot was subdued in Deep Blue: because it consisted of smaller dramatic moments and not the epic events I expected. I thought finding the other heroines would have been a major affair, taking up most of the book but it isn’t. This book is more about setting everything up for the sequel novels, allowing the reader to get their bearings with respect to what is actually going on in the grand scheme of things.

And that sets the scene beautifully for Rogue Wave to sweep every expectation away. While Rogue Wave keeps with this smaller plot event scale, it throws in massive twists that I never saw coming. I also think it helps that we have more than Serafina’s POV to read. Serafina is an alright heroine, and her character growth is great, but she follows your typical “thrust into greatness” heroine role so it isn’t anything new. She never annoyed me but she definitely isn’t my favourite of the heroines we get in this series. She really has grown on me though after two books.

These books kinda took all my expectations and whirled them all around so that I didn’t know where this series was going. It doesn’t seem to follow any basic series formula (like you know how trilogies all build up but the second book is almost always a sleeper) and I find that refreshingly exciting.

The Romance:

One thing that really surprised me about this series is the lack of romance. As a romance fan by trade, it’s weird for me to not read about a romance but I think it goes back to what I said earlier about “girl power” and watching 6 heroines do a quest on their own. Still, I expected a dash of romance here and there but that really didn’t happen—though there is one dash for sure. In the end, its A-OK but just be warned that it isn’t very strong or a major plot point in this series.

updates

–September 28, 2016– Book #3: Dark Tide

This was EXACTLY what I wanted this 3rd book to be!

It keeps the momentum of Rogue Wave going, creating a faster paced sequel with lots and lots of plot development. And even though it is definitely a bridging novel in terms of the plot, I never got bored with what was happening.

Everything is amplified just that little bit. The focus shifts further from Sera and shines on the other girls, developing their characters a little more which I greatly appreciated. We also get a touch more romance which is always a bonus–but I like that it never takes away from the focus of the story which is restoring the kingdoms.

All the foundations for a kick-ass finale are there and I can’t wait to read it!

–December 8, 2016– Book #4: Sea Spell

While this novel started a bit on the slower side (more talking than doing), it was still the perfect conclusion for this series!

Once you get reacquainted with the world, there are twists aplenty! This story is always moving and building, keeping your attention the entire time. I just loved how everything came together.

And girl power! We don’t get enough of that in the YA genre if you ask me!

In short: while the cover might be subpar compared to the rest of the series, this novel isn’t! A perfect way to end a fantastic series!

Series Rating: 4/5

Deep Blue 4/5 | Rogue Wave 4/5 | Dark Tide 4/5 | Sea Spell 4/5

overall

Deep Blue is a slow but necessary book as everything really picks up in Rogue Wave; that’s because everything was set up beautifully in Deep Blue. So don’t be discouraged when you aren’t immediately sucked into this series. If you like adventure stories rich with mythology/ancient history featuring an all-girl cast this is a great series for you to pick up.

Read if You Like: girl power, world-building, mermaids
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance

similarreads

  • The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Córdova (The Vicious Deep Trilogy #1)
  • The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (The Goddess Test Trilogy #1)

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Deep Blue (from Goodreads):
The first in a series of four epic tales set in the depths of the ocean, where six mermaids seek to protect and save their hidden world.

Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe.

When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin’s arrow poisons Sera’s mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin’s master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world’s very existence.

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Series Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

The Young Elites by Marie Lu | The Young Elites Series

 

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Young Elites (from Goodreads):
I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Must Read Author
Series: The Young Elites Trilogy
Author: Marie Lu
# of Books: 3 (The Young Elites, The Rose Society, The Midnight Star)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Antihero, Alternate History, Dystopian, Dark Fantasy
Heat Rating: cool (sexual references are made though)
Point of View: First Person (Single) + Third Person (Multiple)

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

As soon as I finished the Legend Trilogy my first thought was: what else has this author published? I loved the Legend Trilogy, more specifically I loved the strong, independent and willing to fight characters that Lu created and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on any other story she had written.

I always feel bad when I start a new series by a previously read author because their new series inevitably gets compared to the previous series even if they are two completely different stories. This story is completely different than the Legend Series in terms of plotline but Lu still manages to deliver a solid story with her writing.

I haven’t read many anti-hero stories besides Shakespeare and the Blood of Eden Series, though I watch Scandal, House of Cards and How to Get Away with Murder which counts to some degree 😛 So I really enjoyed reading about an anti-hero. Adelina was interesting to read about and she kept my attention throughout the novel. When I first read the synopsis, I assumed that we would be getting 3 POV characters that would alternate but that isn’t the case. Instead, we get Adelina narrating in the first person and a few other characters who have short third person POV chapters here and there. Having these little side chapters helped get a fuller picture of what was going on and I think in the end it was a wise decision to use that approach.

The plot starts off slow but I enjoyed learning more about the world and understanding Adelina. I was expecting a little more though to be honest but I felt like it built up nice enough. The last quarter of the book was non-stop fast-paced with some great twists so I loved that. I’m excited to see where this series is going to go and can’t wait to get my hands on book 2!

updates

–November 10, 2015– Book 2: The Rose Society

This book was getting rave reviews and I totally understand why. This book just flowed in a fantastic way from start to finish. It kept building up to the climax and I really enjoyed that. We get some fresh characters, some more plot to play with and as always, some great twists that keep the momentum going.

However, I wasn’t WOW’d with this book, hence the 4/5 and not a 5/5. It’s a solid book and absolutely very well done (probably my favourite of the two so far) but it just didn’t have that last shock factor to leave me breathless. And that isn’t to say that I don’t want the 3rd book in my hands ASAP–because I do!–I just wasn’t left absolutely blown away by it all even though I enjoyed it immensely!

–February 22, 2017– Book 3: The Midnight Star

I was super excited to read this book! The cover taunted me every time I went to the library!

This was a bit of a slow start for me. Perhaps it just took me a while to get reacquainted with a world I haven’t seen in a year. But it didn’t take long to get back into the groove of things.

This story is solid. It’s never rushed and there is plenty of action. It also has strong character moments. Adelina especially; it was great to learn more about in the third and finale book. She’s had such great development from the start of the series and I think it shows to Lu’s strength that her characters still can grow in the last novel.

Again, this book didn’t blow me away though. I just couldn’t give it a 5/5. I’m not sure if it’s the whole anti-hero thing or if I just constantly compare this to the Legend Trilogy (one of my all time favourite series). But it’s still a solid book and I think it is slightly stronger than The Rose Society.

Series Rating: 4/5

The Young Elites 4/5 | The Rose Society 4/5 | The Midnight Star 4/5

overall

Don’t read this expecting a carbon copy of the Legend Trilogy. You can expect the basic foundations like plot twists, a larger overarching plot line and strong characters; but the feeling of this series is completely different. If you want to read about a true anti-hero, this is a great series for you to pick up!

Read if You Like: villains as protagonists, dark YA
Avoid if You: dislike dark stories, characters with powers

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Series Review: On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

book book book6

Series: On Dublin Street
Author: Samantha Young
# of Books: 6 (On Dublin Street, Down London Road, Before Jamaica Lane, Fall From India Place, Echoes of Scotland Street, TBA)

There are novellas: #1.5 Until Fountain Bridge and #2.5 Castle Hill

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, book 6 will be published Summer 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Drama, Family, Tragedy, Abuse
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

This series has been on my to-read list for a really long time so I pounced when they were available at my library. After a blah start with Samantha Young’s Into the Deep series, I was really excited to see where these books would go because I have heard very good things.

First up is On Dublin Street. I didn’t know what to expect with this book but I was hoping for a cute read with a dash of excitement and sexual tension. Unfortunately I feel like this book didn’t live up to my expectations. I enjoyed reading it but I just didn’t LOVE it.

I’m not sure where things went wrong because I did enjoy the first few chapters. The initial chemistry between Braden and Jocelyn was great but I found it wasn’t enough to carry the book for me. Part of the reason is their character personalities. I had a hard time liking Jocelyn despite her having characteristics I usually love in a heroine like wit and independence. I think she was just too extreme in her independence and that drove me a little nuts. Also, given her past her outlook on life is a little bleak and seeing as that the POV given is only hers, it makes it a sad place to be. As for Braden, I did like him but he was just on that cusp of being too alpha male for my personal tastes. (Read my full review of the novel here)

The plot was also a little lackluster in my opinion. It didn’t really get exciting until the last 50 or so pages. It just seemed to go through the motions and even the little petty drama things weren’t that exciting. It also didn’t help that I liked the relationship between Ellie and Adam a lot more than these two (which is thankfully the focus of the novella Until Fountain Bridge). (Bit of a side note: I have to hand it to Samantha Young for leaving the little tidbits about the next couple in each of the books. It always makes me super eager to get my hands on the next book.)

But I decided not to give up on the series because I really wanted to read Until Fountain Bridge and Down London Road because I liked those characters from On Dublin Street a lot more than I liked Jocelyn. And in the end I’m really glad I stuck with the series.

Until Fountain Bridge is listed as a novella and it’s about half the page length as On Dublin Street. Before reading it I was upset that Ellie and Adam’s story wasn’t going to be longer but once I read it, I realized it was the perfect length. I really liked its delivery which is a series of flashbacks as Ellie reads her diary–you basically get all the great romantic highlights but without all the angsty whining about the partner. It was super cute and super quick so I really liked that.

Down London Road started slow like On Dublin Street. But unlike its predecessor, I felt like the plot got a lot more exciting a lot quicker and didn’t really stop. It was a good blend of romance, drama and we get just enough of a taste of the next two leads that I was really excited to read the next two books. I also liked the tension between the two leads a lot more as well and loved their interaction and connection to each other. Overall, I enjoyed it a lot more though I wish the first 100 pages or so were cut down to make things move a little faster.

Before Jamaica Lane was the perfect length and had a great execution. It wasn’t as “dark” (and by dark I mean depressing) as the previous two novels. It definitely had a serious side to it but I found it a lot more fun to read. I LOVED the male lead in this one and it was everything I expected it to be and a little bit more. I devoured it and it only made me more excited to read Fall from India Place and Echoes of Scotland Street.

In fact, I was so excited to read Fall from India Place that I immediately read it after Before Jamaica Lane despite having other books to read. It was sweet and not what I was totally expecting but I enjoyed reading it. I didn’t love it as much as I wanted or hoped but, I would take it over On Dublin Street any day.

I’m super excited for what I think is the last book the series. This one has been building since Down London Road and I can’t wait to see what is in store!

UPDATED (Nov 9/14): I was super excited to read Echoes of Scotland Street. I think I’ve been anticipating this book since On Dublin Street, even more so since Before Jamaica Lane since we first met Cole. It was great! The story was interesting, the leads were great and it was the perfect length. Those who have been waiting for this book won’t be disappointed. 

Turns out, it isn’t the last in the series! I’m actually really excited that we will be getting at least one more book in this series. Although the next lead is someone we were just introduced to in Echoes of Scotland, I’m intrigued to read about his story and will be looking forward to its release this coming summer.

Conclusion:

These books definitely got better as the series progressed. It feels more like an older New Adult series that borders the line to Adult Contemporary. If you don’t like On Dublin Street, I encourage you not to give up on the series until you read another novel in the series. They get shorter but also better because you get more involved in all the characters lives. Each character is different and I find all their respective stories are different as well. A great contemporary romance series that I finally understand what all the fuss is about.

Rating: 4/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Yes, though I would give a warning about On Dublin Street being a bit dry.

Similar Reads: Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard Series #1); Choosing You by Allie Everhart (Jade Series #1) and Someone to Love by Addison Moore (Someone to Love Series #1)

Synopsis for On Dublin Stree (from Goodreads):
Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare…

Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well—until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.

Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.

But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her… down to the very soul.

Series Review: Age of Legends by Kelley Armstrong

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Age of Legends Series

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Canadian Author, Sad to See Go 2016
Series: Age of Legends Trilogy
Author: Kelley Armstrong
# of Books: 3 (Sea of Shadows, Empire of Night, Forests of Ruin)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Suspense, Romance, Magic
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

If you ever read the biography bit on Kelley Armstrong, you will see that she “lives in rural Ontario”. I am from that same part of Ontario (just a town over) so I always make an effort to read her works. I’ve loved her other two teen series, The Darkest Powers and the Darkness Rising, so I  was excited to see where this series was going to go–and where it does is nowhere near her previous works.

When I was reading Sea of Shadows I kept thinking about the Red Riding Hood (2011) movie with Amanda Seyfried. The world that the book is set in reminded me so much about that world in the movie: a dark, fantasy-creature-driven place. It really has no other connections to the movie in anyway except maybe the really good twist at the end.

I haven’t read anything like Sea of Shadows in a really long time (maybe ever). Perhaps it’s because I read a lot of dystopian and New Adult reads and not a lot of high fantasy novels; but I really enjoy fantasy novels and I think this book helped me remember that.

However, I didn’t love the book; and I would say that until the last 5 chapters or so I was going to give this book a flat 3. The book kind of goes through high and low points. Some parts where really interesting, but then things would get a little slow. Part of the reason was that the POV would switch to the other sister right when something exciting was happening and wouldn’t go back until 3-5 chapters later. And when you did finally get back there, the scene you expect to unfold is neatly summarized into two sentences (very disappointing). The other problem is what the reader expects to read about after they have read the synopsis for the book. The girls spend more time in the village than they do on the journey to find each other. So if you are expecting a mostly adventure novel in that sense you will be disappointed.

You will also be disappointed if you are expecting a great love story. Romance is really not the focus of this book at all. Instead the focus is on the girls becoming confident in their own individual abilities and trying to figure out what the hell happened to their village. I personally didn’t have a problem with the leads as they are what I expected when I read that there were two twin girls (one is super confident, the other is not, etc). But, I do think some people might find them a tad dull in that respect (though I have to say they really grow throughout the novel as characters).

The way it ends has really captured my attention and I’m looking forward to what is in-store next for the twins.

updates

–July 4, 2015– Book 2: Empire of Night

WOW! This book was amazing! Even if I wasn’t in a reading slump, I would have been addicted to this story! And unlike when I read the first novel, I’ve been devouring high fantasy novels so this one had some stiff standards to uphold. Everything is turned up in this sequel: the romance, the action, the politics, the suspense. Even the writing sequence improved. Every time you get a cliffhanger when the POV changes, it picks up right back where you left it–and thank goodness for that! This book truly blew me away and is exactly what I expect in a Kelley Armstrong novel!

I simply cannot wait to see what happens in the grand finale because it is going to be epic!

–June 17, 2016– Book 3: Forest of Ruin

This finale was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016 and it did NOT disappoint!

I was hooked from the start right through to the end. Everything that had been amped up from the previous novel kept pace and continued to blow me away. From the lore to the politics to the action to the romance–it’s all on point here and fans of the series will love this grande finale. It was a wild ride thanks to all the plot developments and their awesome twists. I loved the unpredictability this novel had and it made it that much more enjoyable to me.

It was just a fantastic way to end this series and made me SO GLAD that I didn’t drop it after the slower start that was Sea of Shadows 🙂

 

My Rating: 5/5

Sea of Shadows 4/5 | Empire of Night 5/5 | Forest of Ruin 5/5

overall

If you want a high fantasy novel that focuses more on the supernatural/paranormal aspects of fantasy, this is a great series! For fans of Armstrong’s other works (Adult or Young Adult) this is completely different though it definite has all the same writing touches you expect. But don’t let the slower pace of the first novel deter you from picking up the sequel: because the follow-up truly takes things to the next level!

Read if You Like: world-building, supernatural/paranormal fantasy
Avoid if You: dislike slower starts, want more romance

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Synopsis for Sea of Shadows (from Goodreads):
In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

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Series Review: The Lovegrove Legacy by Alyxandra Harvey

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

 

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Canadian Author
Series: The Lovegrove Legacy Trilogy
Author: Alyxandra Harvey
# of Books: 3 (A Breath of Frost, Whisper the Dead, In a House Made of Bone and Teeth)

In a House… is a novella to wrap up the series after it was dropped by its publisher.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Witches, Magic, Historical, Romance, Mystery
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Once I started the Drake Chronicle Series by Alyxandra Harvey, she quickly became one of my favourite authors. I just loved her writing style, her fun characters and the cute romances. Though I didn’t completely love the last few books in the Drake Chronicles, I still like reading her works so I was excited to read another series by her.

I’m not the biggest witch fan–I tend to not enjoy the books featuring witches but I changed my mind for two reasons: 1) I’ve really enjoyed Claudia Gray’s new Spellcaster series which is about witches and 2) I love historical young adult reads. So I decided to give it a shot.

Overall, I really enjoyed A Breath of Frost. It was fun and had a lot going on so I never found it dull plot wise. I found though that there was too much detail or it would drag in descriptions so my mind would wander and I would miss important plot changes, causing me to have to flip back and reread a few bits to get a handle on what is happening. But once I did, I figured out what was happening.

I really liked all the characters. The cousins are a lot of fun to read about have each have unique personalities that makes reading about them enjoyable. A Breath of Frost mostly focuses on Emma though but there are bits and pieces of the other characters. I see that the rest of the trilogy will focus on a different cousin but still have the other two cousins present as was the set up in this book.

updates

–October 29, 2014– Book #2: Whisper the Dead

I loved reading Whisper the Dead. It was so much fun to read because Gretchen is the best. She is everything you expected in a witch who rejects polite society so I enjoyed her character immensely. But even if Gretchen isn’t your cup of tea Emma and Penelope make numerous appearances throughout. I found this book never slumped; the plot was always moving in some direction. I found the details didn’t bog me down so much this time so I really liked that. I think fans of the first novel will enjoy this one just as much, if not more 🙂

Book 3? It hasn’t been picked up by the publisher but lets hope one day we get to see this series wrap up!

Series Rating: 4/5

A Breath of Frost 4/5 | Whisper the Dead 4/5 | In a House Made of Bones and Teeth N/A

overall

I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series. It was a lot of fun to read and is a refreshing plotline for the young adult genre. Fans of witches and historical fiction will love the blending of the two in this series!

Read if You Like: witches, magic, girl power
Avoid if You: dislike historical fiction

similarreads

booksynopsis

Synopsis for A Breath of Frost (from Goodreads):
In 1814, three cousins—Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope—discover their family lineage of witchcraft when a binding spell is broken, allowing their individual magical powers to manifest. Now, beyond the manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, an alluring underworld available only to those with power is revealed to the cousins. By claiming their power, the three cousins have accidentally opened the gates to the underworld.

Now ghouls, hellhounds—and most terrifying of all, the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters—are hunting and killing young debutante witches for their powers. And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders…because she keeps finding the bodies.

Can the cousins seal the gates before another witch is killed…or even worse, before their new gifts are stripped away?

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