Tag «dragons»

Fresh Fridays: Cursed (The Hunter Inside #1) by Casey M Millette

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

The Hunter Inside Series

Other books planned to be in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Cursed (from Goodreads):

A war rages between kings and clans for centuries, their nations split and their kingdoms fallen. Caught in the midst of poverty and bedlam, twenty-year-old Aldor faces a choice. Should he leave home and start his life anew, or stay and protect what little he has?

Aldor has only made one friend in his life and has never seen a legendary creature before. As soon as he steps beyond his door, he finds himself an outlaw, hunted by creatures of pure fantasy.

Forced into joining a team of misfits in a race to recover a sacred, lost stone, Aldor finds unexpected friendships and adventure. But just as things start to look promising, disaster strikes, wielding the unexpected and the terrifying!

Aldor’s life will never be the same as he struggles with true feelings of fear, loss, love, and suffering for the very first time.

breakdown

Series: The Hunter Inside
Author: Casey M Millette
# of Books: 1 (Cursed, Book 2)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 2 is to be published
Genre: Young Adult / Teen, Adventure, Fantasy, Magic
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: March 2018 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eARC | Thank you Casey M Millette!

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When Casey asked me if I wanted to read her debut novel (at the age of 16–impressive!) I wanted to give it a shot. I have a hit or miss relationship with adventure stories but the premise of dragons and magic is a lure too hard to resist!

What I Liked:

–The Lord of the Rings Vibes–

I think nearly all fantasy novels get compared to LOTR–it’s the gold standard I think–but I really could see how that story influenced Casey’s work here. Cursed has it’s own unique characters and plot but it is definitely reminiscent of LOTR. While Cursed may lack the considerable depth of LOTR, has the same prototype of a group of seemingly strangers following an unlikely hero as he completes an impossible quest. And that’s a lot of fun to read about when it is all said and done.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Lack of Character Development–

I felt like the characters weren’t as developed as I would have liked so I didn’t really form any bonds with them. I think that’s a result of only getting Aldor’s POV for the longest time and getting a singular viewpoint of the events. The crew also doesn’t interact too much inside themselves so I missed that banter and tension between them. I love watching a group of people become a team and I felt that was lacking a little.

–Linear Plotline–

One of the biggest reasons I tend to not enjoy adventure novels is the delivery of the plot. I tend to get bored as the characters just mosey along to the final destination. Aldor and crew do go through a lot of interesting obstacles so I wasn’t bored in that sense. However, I did feel like there was a suspense lacking in the plot itself. I like a lot of things happening in my stories and I felt like the plot here tackled Problem A before Problem B is ever introduced so I felt like we were just going through the motions.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’d really like to see this group of people become more of a team. I love banter between teammates and that was only starting to come to the surface near the end. It would also be great to learn more about the various characters as well.

My Rating: 2.5/5

Cursed 2.5/5 | Book 2 TBP

overall

This is a classic case of a “just-not-for-me”. I think fans of fantasy adventure novels, particularly in the YA genre, will enjoy this debut.

Read if You Like: adventure stories, fantasy, LOTR
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance

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DNF Series Review: The Fallen Isles Trilogy by Jodi Meadows

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

Fallen Isles Trilogy

Other books in the series:
book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Before She Ignites (from Goodreads):

Before

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.

After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.

breakdown

Series: Fallen Isles Trilogy
Author: Jodi Meadows
# of Books: 3 (Before She Ignites, book 2, book 3)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 2, will be published in 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: September 2017 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Disclaimer: I stopped reading Before She Ignites at 58% (Start of Chapter 19). Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I adored Meadow’s Orphan Queen Duology so I’ve made an effort to read her other novels. I didn’t enjoy Newsoul Trilogy as much as I wanted to, but this one sounded promising. Dragons? Yes please!

What I Liked:

–The Premise–

I love a fantasy world that is rich in political turmoil and this one had it. There are so many secrets to uncover and that conspiracy angle really intrigued me. Especially when the plot is being told in pieces, with Mira’s POV alternating between the “before” and the “after”. I enjoyed trying to get the bigger picture of what was happening.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Blah Storyline–

Don’t go into this book thinking you are going to get an action packed novel with a girl who rides a dragon. Reread the synopsis again. This is the key statement you need to focus on in order to enjoy this novel:

Mira must learn to survive on her own

Because that’s really what this book is all about. It’s an extremely character driven story about Mira’s journey to realize that she is more than just a pretty face; that she actually has the power to do something. Which is inspiring unto itself…but not the story I wanted to read.

Or I guess I wouldn’t have minded if I felt like anything else was happening plot wise. And despite the little inklings of the larger conspiracy, I just wasn’t invested.

Will I Finish It?

I don’t think so. I didn’t connect with the characters, the romance wasn’t enough to keep me and the plot was lackluster to me. I’m sure bigger and better things were brewing but I just wasn’t into it.

My Rating: DNF

overall

If you like character driven stories and a slower overall plot, pick this book up. The writing is great and the diversity of the cast is definitely appealing. The promise is there, I just don’t have the patience to get invested in this series.

Read if You Like: slower stories, character driven stories
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance, want more action

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Blog Tour: Ignited (Dance of Elements #1) by A M Deese

Synopsis for Ignited (from Goodreads):

A NOBLE DAUGHTER.

A FORMER SLAVE.

SCORCHED EARTH AND DANGEROUS GAMES.

“Jura imagined it sounded like rain.”

Juggling death is nothing new for seventeen-year-old Jura, daughter of the First of the Thirteen, successive rulers of the Republic of the Sand Sea. However, when a blood chain ensnares her father, she is thrust into the seat of power and forced to rule her elders.

“To Tylak, water had never tasted sweeter.”

Jura must track down her father’s assassin and balance a country on the verge of collapse. To find the Prince of Shadows and uncover the truth, Jura puts her trust in Tylak, a former slave accused of stealing from the Everflame—a man she once condemned to death.

In a world where water is currency and enemies lurk around every corner, Jura will use her wits or risk igniting a world war.

Other books in the series:

breakdown

Series: Dance of Elements
Author: A M Deese
# of Books: 1+ (Ignited)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic
Heat Rating: warm **suggestive content**
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: March 27, 2018 — ongoing
Source & Format: YA Bound Book Tours–eARC

Add: Goodreads | Pre-Order: Radiant Crown Publishing // Google Play

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I love books with political intrigue and this one seemed like it would have that in spades. The whole idea that a young girl has to play a political game while trying to save her father’s life had me interested in seeing what would happen next.

What I Liked

–The World / Concept–

I loved the many layers to this world. First, you have the whole political system which is so cutthroat and devious that I couldn’t help but devour it. Next you have the class system that separates the peoples and creates its own conflict. Add the currency of water, throw in people with special abilities and dragons and you’ve got yourself a pretty epic world to get lost in.

–Multiple POVs–

I love books where we follow multiple leads because it provides a wider, full coverage view of the world. Having all the character POVs we do here does a great job of moving the plot forward and revealing those little tidbits that have you craving more.

–Game of Thrones Vibes–

One of my favourite things about Game of Thrones is the political intrigue. You don’t know who you can trust, there are supernatural elements at play and you never know who is going to live. There are so many players that something is always evolving and I felt like this book captured that same suspense as GOT, just in a YA kind of way.

What I Didn’t Like:

–It is a Little Overwhelming At the Start–

When it comes to the world, Everything is explained well so I was never lost in that respect. Where I did get a little lost was keeping all the things straight at the start. A lot of information is thrown at you and trying to remember everyone’s roles overwhelmed me a little. But as you get deeper into the world it gets easier to follow.

–Slower Start–

I found that this book took a while to get its footing. Part of that reason is that we switch POVs a lot in the first few chapters in order to establish all the key players and drama. It takes time to build up the various plotlines but once they get there, you really do become sucked into the story.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

While I had a pretty good idea of what was actually happening in the book, there’s a great unexpected twist that really shook things up for me. Now that the world is familiar and I know most of the key players, I’m hoping the sequel can take that great momentum and build on it.

concSLOW

My Rating: 3.5/5

Ignited 3.5/5| Book 2 TBP

overall
If you enjoy fantasies with a lot going on and lots of characters, this is a great one. The action is in the politics and suspense and not of the physical variety but it’s entertaining nonetheless.

Read if You Like: political intrigue, books with multiple POVs
Avoid if You: want more action, faster start

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A M Deesse

Alexis Marrero Deese isan avid reader of young adult and fantasy. Her favorite authors include Brandon Sanderson, Jaqueline Carey, and Orson Scott Card. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and a sun tan she misses dearly since her move to northern Georgia. She has a passion for cooking, spends entirely too much time on Pinterest, and is a self-proclaimed dog training expert to her family’s legion of dogs.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

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Series Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

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

Talon by Julie Kagawa | Talon Series

book4 book5

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Talon (from Goodreads):
Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author
Series: Talon Series
Author: Julie Kagawa
# of Books: 5 (Talon, Rogue, Solider, Legion, Inferno)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Inferno, will be published April 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Shapeshifters, Dragons, Romance, Action
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: October 2014 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

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.**

My Expectations / Why I Picked It Up:

I’m basically at that point where Julie Kagawa publishes a book, I’ll be reading it. The Iron Fey Series is one of my all time favourite series and while I didn’t love the Blood of Eden Trilogy, I didn’t dislike it enough to give up on her writing yet. Also, the fact that this series is about dragons? Um yes please!

My Thoughts on Talon (Book #1):

This series is basically the love child of the Firelight Trilogy by Sophie Jordan and the Angel Trilogy by L.A. Weatherly. Honestly, that is the best way to describe it. But if you haven’t read those two series, here’s the breakdown: take the dragons and their hierarchy from Firelight minus the unbearable heroine and add the slower pace plot-line and an assassin who questions his ability to kill his target from Angel Burn and you have this series. I like to think it is the best parts of both those series wrapped up into one.

I didn’t fall in love with Talon immediately. It starts off slow–like the first 75% of the book is just building up to the last 25% of the book. And the last 25% of the book is great–it really had me on edge and I was excited to see where it would go! But that first 75% is nothing remarkable–it’s actually almost a bit of a cliché for those who have read numerous shapeshifting Young Adult novels. I can’t help but to compare it to the Iron King where I felt like we dove head first into the action and I feel like Kagawa’s subsequent novels fail to have this faster start. Yet I still found myself drawn into the story.

I think it helps that you get multiple perspectives throughout the book. It helps you see the larger picture and keeps the slower pace moving. Another thing I liked was Ember. I was surprised that I didn’t mind her character because at first glance she is everything I dislike: an angsty, rebel teenager torn between two guys. However, she never got on my nerves. Maybe it’s because I had other POVs so I didn’t get overwhelmed by her or maybe it’s simply Kagawa creating a tolerable heroine or maybe it’s a bit of both.

When I started Talon, I thought it was going to be a trilogy (because most things are nowadays) but the fact that it is 5 books long gives me mixed feelings. For one it makes me happy as it explains why this book started off so slow–because it has to set the tone for the rest of the series. But it also makes me hesitant because I really don’t know what to expect out of the next four books and I don’t want to be stuck committed to a series that could possibly be dragged out. Regardless, at this moment I am going to have faith in Ms. Kagawa and eagerly await the next novel in this series, Rogue.

updates

–May 22, 2015– Book #2: Rogue

I was really excited to read Rogue. When I saw that my library had added it, I immediately grabbed it despite the bazillion other books I had out. I’m glad I did (though I’m going to have to wait forever for the next book!)! Rogue was more of what I thought Talon was going to be. It was faster paced and kept me on the edge of my seat. I moved through it much quicker than I expected–which was great! Rogue had a great blend of character development, plot development, action and romance.

As for the love triangle, it didn’t get on my nerves. It’s really underplayed in this novel (as in it isn’t the entire focus). While I definitely have a “team” that I am cheering for, I truly have no idea how it is going to develop. It’s just one of the many plot developments I’m looking forward to in the third book, Solider.

–September 20, 2016– Book #3: Solider

Unlike the inaugural novel, this one moved at a terrific pace. Even while the story was building to its HUGE (and I mean HUGE) climax, the action was still there pushing you forward. Meaning it didn’t feel like just a bridging novel–like most book 3s do in a 5 book series–it actually had its own plot while building the rest of the series. It did lag a bit for me near the end but it still held my attention…hard not to after that cliffhanger!

Everything had a great flow to. The romance was just right; the action was consistent; and the characters became more dimensional to me. Easily my favourite of the series so far.

–October 9, 2017– Book #4: Legion

I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed in this one. I found it to be a very slow start–more talking than action–but I had high expectations. I think if the cliffhanger had turned out a different way, I would have felt differently.

The last third of the novel really picked up and kept my full attention. I’m excited to see how this wraps up!

concSLOW

Series Rating: 4/5

Talon 3.5/5 | Rogue 4/5 | Solider 4/5 | Legion  3/5 | Inferno TBA

overall

Readings about dragons is a nice change from vampires and werewolves. While it starts slow, the series is heading into the right direction (from what I can see) and promises faster paced times ahead. A great pick for Kagawa fans or for those who enjoy shapeshifter series.

Read if You Like: stories about dragons, forbidden romance, rebellious characters
Avoid if You: don’t like slower starting series, reading mulitple POVs

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Series Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Series: Firelight Trilogy
Author: Sophie Jordan
# of Books: 3 (Firelight, Vanish, Hidden)

There is a spin-off novella that takes place after Hidden called Breathless

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Heat Rating: getting warm
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

It took me a really long time to finish the series. I actually contemplated not reading the last book (Hidden) when I had it in my hands (for the 5th time it seemed) but when I saw the size of it, I knew I could read it in 2 hours and 2 hours to finish a series I invested double the time into was “worth” it. And to an extent it was–but it is important to start this review from the start.

I started this series right when Firelight came out. This means I was still a teenager and my threshold level for idiotic heroines was a lot higher than it is now. If I were to read Firelight now, I probably would enact my 50-page rule and drop this series all because of Jacinda.

Jacinda is a very hard character to like. She’s vain, selfish, hypocritical and simply annoying. Perhaps the most redeeming quality to her is that she cares for her family–occasionally. I just did not like her and that really throws me off a series–especially when it’s that character telling the story from a first person POV so you have to spend time in their head.

But because I was younger when I read Firelight, I actually didn’t mind it. Part of the reason is the overall concept of the book. If you ignore the love-struck whinny heroine, the premise of the book is really neat. It isn’t everyday that a novel targeted for girls features dragons and as much as I dislike Jacinda, I liked that she was the paranormal creature for once and not her love interest. I don’t particularly like werewolf books so it was a nice change to read about dragons–and Ms. Jordan does this part of the book very well. So while the plot is nothing overtly original, when you strip it down to the basic premise the world it takes place in was interesting for me and that is what held my attention.

Just a note on Ms. Jordan’s writing: when you read her young adult novels it’s obvious that she writes adult romance novels. Her style reminds me a lot of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s (who also writes YA and adult romance novels) in that the romance details are a little more “spicy” than the typical YA novel. This doesn’t mean there are extensive love scenes but there is a lot more talk of sex and more heated kissing descriptions than the average YA novel.

Book 2, Vanish, is where I really started to dislike this series. I honestly couldn’t tell you what happened in this book–it came back to me a bit when I read the description of Hidden and a little more as I was reading Hidden (Jordan does a good job of refreshing details in the sequels). But I spent the vast majority of the book being mad at Jacinda because, low and behold, we get the another Book 2 Curse: the love triangle “climax” plot. UGH. And this love triangle is just as bad as Twilight‘s. Jacinda also suffers from Bella-Swan-I-can’t-live-without-him syndrome with both boys and to be honest I’m not sure why. Her “interaction” with Will in the first book isn’t enough to fall in love with him (in my opinion) and I’m not sure why she likes him (or him her) to be honest. I think it has something to do with biology (if you do read these books, you can probably see what I am talking about) and nothing else. They have nothing in common and because of that I just didn’t see the connection. So, I think it is obvious that I am team Cassian and I’ve been team Cassian since the get-go. I see them together more so than her and Will for a few reasons but I think it simply comes down to the fact that they are better suited for each other. The love triangle in this series is the prime example of why I can’t stand them in novels and it’s right beside Twilight for worst love triangle ever…but I digress.

I know you are probably thinking: this book probably has a lot of action considering Jacinda is a dragon and Will’s family hunts them. Well, that is a wrong assumption though I totally had the same thought. While there is some exciting “events” this isn’t an action series by any means. There is a lot more action in Hidden than the other 2 novels–which made it more enjoyable to read–but don’t think there are going to be some epic battles. The action is quite tame and isn’t a huge part of the plot lines.

warning

As I said, Hidden was a lot faster paced (might have been because I was skimming it as well…) but I still found it frustrating to read because Jacinda was in full hypocrite, I-love-him-but-I-love-him-too mode. I have to write about a spoiler here because it’s bursting to come out of me: ( you can’t feel guilty about nearly killing a man who was about to kill you and then feel no guilt–and SAY SO–when a guy who tormented you dies by the hand of someone else because he was attacking that someone. WTF!? Do you hear yourself when you think these ridiculous thoughts in your head! ) There was one really good twist near the end that I didn’t see coming but it’s not enough for me to sing this series’ praises anytime soon. Also, I just need to say this: it was weird reading about Jacinda making out with boys in her dragon form. I’m assuming the picture I have of dragons in my head does NOT match what they look like in the books (or I just missed a descriptive line about what form she was in) but it just gave me the creeps…bleh!

When I was reading reviews of Vanish in an attempt of trying to remember what happened in it, I read a review where the reader suggested that the story should have been told by Tamara because she was a lot more interesting. Listening to Tamara complain in Firelight would have frustrated me to no end; but I really did enjoy her character more in Vanish and Hidden than I did Jacinda’s. So I would have liked more from her and I actually was hoping Breathless, the novella that takes place after Hidden would be about her but it isn’t. It’s actually about Az, Jacinda’s friend who I couldn’t care less for. I’ll read it if we get it at the library but I’m not going to go out of my way.

Conclusion:

I think if I was 16 again, I would enjoy this series. That isn’t to knock or insult 16 year olds everywhere–it’s just that my reading tastes have changed immensely in the years since. I don’t care for love triangles; I can’t stand whinny teenage heroines and I like my novels to have a lot more substantial drama and action. Older YA fans probably won’t enjoy this series as much but if you want to read a mild, quick trilogy series that is also written well than it might be worth a shot.

Rating: 3/5

Similar Reads: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (Nightshade Series #1)

Synopsis for Firelight (from Goodreads):
A hidden truth.
Mortal enemies.
Doomed love.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki, a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will’s dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away;if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She’ll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.